Kitchen Sink Garbage Disposal Repair

Man repairing a garbage disposal
  • 1-2 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-50
What You'll Need
Disposal Allen key
What You'll Need
Disposal Allen key

Like so many appliances, your kitchen sink garbage disposal could stop working due to a number of different problems. The good news is that, in many instances, you can repair the unit yourself. It doesn’t require much skill and you won’t need many tools in order to fix your sink disposal.

Step 1 - No Noise

If the kitchen sink garbage disposal simply won’t turn on, start by checking the basics. Is the unit plugged in? The plug might have worked loose over time. If it’s firmly in place, look at the circuit breaker to see if it’s blown. If it has, reset and try the disposal again.

Step 2 - Flywheel Stuck

person repairing a garbage disposal

If your kitchen sink garbage disposal makes a noise but won’t turn, the most likely cause of the problem is the flywheel is stuck. Unplug the unit and take the disposal Allen wrench that came with the unit. You should be able to find a hole in the center of the underside of the disposal unit. Insert the wrench in this and turn clockwise. At first, the wrench will turn slowly but will quicken as the wheels become unstuck. Plug the disposal back in and try running it again. You might need to repeat the procedure a couple of times in order for it to work fully.

Alternatively, with the unit unplugged, you can push a broom handle down through the sink to free the flywheel. When you’ve done this, plug the unit back in and press the reset button on the underside of the unit. Run some water from the faucet into the kitchen sink garbage disposal unit and start it to see if the problem has been rectified.

Step 3 - Leaks

Your kitchen sink garbage disposal can leak from several places. The most common area is the sink flange. If this is the case, use a wrench to tighten the mounting bolts.Where the leak is at the dishwasher connection, tighten the hose clamp. If your garbage disposal is new, check you knocked out the small plate where the hose meets the disposal.

The leak can also occur at the drainpipe. To eliminate this, use an adjustable wrench to tighten the nut holding the pipe onto the disposal.

Step 4 - Slow Draining

garbage disposal

If your kitchen sink garbage disposal is slow to drain, the chances are the problem isn’t in the unit itself but in the actual drainpipe. In order to fix this problem, you’ll need to remove the pipe at the bend and clear it.

Empty the cabinet under the kitchen sink and place a bucket under the pipe. Loosen the nut holding the pipe to the disposal, then loosen the nut at the other side of the “U.” Work the pipe loose over the bucket. Water and debris will fall into the bucket. Clean out the pipe and then reattach. Run the garbage disposal again to check the drainage speed.

Step 5 - Odor

You can eliminate odor in your kitchen sink garbage disposal by mixing together:

½ cup vinegar

2 handfuls of baking soda

Let it sit inside the disposal without the motor running until it stops foaming before rinsing down with cold water.