Garbage Disposal Repair: Everything You Need to Know

Is your garbage disposal not working? Did you know there is a circuit breaker on your disposal? AHS has more tips on how to repair your garbage disposal.

Garbage disposal repair

You count on it for worry-free waste disposal, but what happens when your garbage disposal breaks down? We’re here to share some of our best practices for smart garbage disposal care and maintenance.

How to Properly Use Your Garbage Disposal

First of all, while it may not seem too picky, your garbage disposal is made for biodegradable food only. Remember - when using your disposal, run water the entire time and for at least 20 seconds after you turn it off. Feed food slowly into the disposal and avoid dumping large amounts in at one time. Also, be sure to read the manual carefully and avoid things that are known to cause problems. If you find yourself with a clog, know that unclogging your garbage disposal doesn't have to be draining

How to Quickly Clean your Garbage Disposal

Having a wretched odor emanating from your sink is a surefire tip-off that your disposal is in dire need of a good cleaning. Don’t worry – there are plenty of thrifty ways you can resolve this issue. No need for special cleaners or chemicals, you can eliminate this problem with a variety of items you have laying around the house:  

  • Ice
  • Ice and rock salt
  • Baking soda and vinegar
  • Citrus
  • Borax
  • Hot water and dish soap
  • Dish soap and baking soda
  • Boiling water

Know When It’s Repair Time

You gave it your best shot. You tried a variety of troubleshooting tips and still, the issue persists. Here are some telltale signs that it’s time to replace your garbage disposal:

  • It clogs frequently even though you are taking good care of it
  • You have to press the reset button a lot
  • You can’t get rid of odors
  • The blades have become dull
  • You have a leak that can’t be easily fixed

Before We Begin

Before diving under your sink, take a moment to assess your level of comfort with D.I.Y. projects. When most of the quick fixes listed below are fairly hassle-free, you should always know your limits when dealing with maintenance issues. If at any time you feel like you might be getting in over your head, we recommend stopping work and contacting a licensed professional.

How to Reset Your Disposal

Did you know there is a circuit breaker on your disposal? Check out this video for a brief, step-by-step guide on where to find it and how to reset it.

How to Unclog Your Disposal

Do you hear your disposal motor running but the blades aren’t turning? You’re probably facing a clog. This short video will have you knocking out this issue like a pro.

What to Not Put in Your Disposal

You would be surprised what people throw in their disposals. This quick video shares several smart tips for what you should and should not put into your disposal.


Here are a few more additional Dos and Don’ts:


Do keep your garbage disposal clean.

Do run it regularly to prevent rust and corrosion.

Do grind only biodegradable food with cold water.

Do cut large items into smaller pieces.

Do feed the disposal small bits at a time instead of trying to shove a large amount in at once.

Do let the water continue to run for at least 20 seconds after the disposal's work is finished, flushing out any remaining particles. 


Don’t put anything in the garbage disposal that is not biodegradable food.

Don’t grind glass, plastic, metal, paper, bones, cigarette butts or anything combustible.

Don’t pour grease, oil or fat into your garbage disposal or drain.

Don’t use hot water when grinding food waste.

Don’t grind extremely fibrous material like corn husks, celery stalks, onion skins and artichokes whose fibers can tangle and jam the motor.

Don’t turn off the motor or water until grinding is complete.

Don’t put expandable foods such as pasta and rice into your garbage disposal.

Don’t use harsh chemicals like bleach or drain cleaners.

Garbage Disposal Maintenance

We have a few more best practices for keeping things running smoothly in the future. First of would be considering home garbage disposal warranty coverage from American Home Shield®.  AHS has a network of more than 15,000 experienced and licensed professionals who can help diagnose and repair your covered items.

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AHS assumes no responsibility, and specifically disclaims all liability, for your use of any and all information contained herein.

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New Jersey Residents: The product being offered is a service contract and is separate and distinct from any product or service warranty which may be provided by the home builder or manufacturer.