Tips to Keep your Garbage Disposal Running Smoothly

Our garbage disposal is likely the hardest working appliance in the house. We can't live without them and yet they are largely ignored. If your garbage disposal is fighting back and no longer living up to expectations, it's likely time for some TLC.

If your garbage disposal is not performing well, it is because of one or more reasons. Your garbage disposal may be clogged. It may be leaking, or it may be jammed. All three will prevent your garbage disposal from doing its dirty job well.


If your garbage disposal is clogged, it's likely because either you have been putting the wrong things down it, or you haven't been using your disposal in the right manner. Though garbage disposals can certainly take a beating, we take for granted that we can put anything down them, and it will just disappear. Here is a list of food items that should never be put into a garbage disposal.

  • Potato peels
  • Corn husks
  • Coffee grounds
  • Banana peels
  • Egg shells

Prevention is key. These items will eventually form a thin film on the disposal pipe that can build and ultimately narrow the passageway, creating the perfect environment for a clog. If you do get a clog, first cut power to the disposal. Using a flashlight, identify where the clog is. Often, clogs can be found in the trap. If the clog is close enough to the surface, a broom handle may dislodge it. If it is a clog that has built up over time, it has likely gotten there because of misuse of your disposal. Always run the disposal with an adequate flow of water. This will prevent the kind of buildup in the pipes that cause clogs. After removing a clog, consider using a disposal cleaner on the unit. Several types can be found at your local hardware store.

Jammed grinding plate

If the plate that grinds food becomes jammed, an allen wrench can be inserted into the opening at the bottom of the disposal to manually turn the plate, and clear the obstruction. If there is no opening at the bottom of the disposal, try a wooden broom handle in the top to turn the plate. A jammed plate can overheat the motor. For this reason, do not run your disposal with the intention of unjamming the plate. You could try the reset button on the bottom of the unit. If it still doesn't run, check the fuses or breakers of the home. Perhaps the switch has failed, and it's an electrical problem.


If the leak is located at the top of the unit, it's more than likely caused by the mounting gasket. A replacement part can be easily installed. However, if the leak is coming from the housing, the entire disposal may need to be replaced. If your garbage disposal is leaking following installation, it probably has something to do with a loose joint. Inspect all joint to ensure they are sealed properly.

A clogged garbage disposal or one that is jammed or leaking is no good to anyone. Letting it sit in disrepair is not an option. Create a checklist, identify the problem, pinpoint the best solution and get to work. Remember, there is no shame in calling in the professionals, contact us today!