How to Fix Your Garbage Disposal

A garbage disposal is a built-in-sink kitchen appliance that’s quite handy in the kitchen, but only if you use it correctly. Too many homeowners use their disposals like an additional kitchen trash can instead of a for food waste.

Garbage disposals are not made to handle trash, which is why many stop working unexpectedly. They haven’t been used the right way.

In this post, we offer tips for DIY garbage disposal repair and also give you a better idea of what should and shouldn’t go in the garbage disposal.

The Dos and Don’ts of Using a Garbage Disposal

When your garbage disposal doesn’t work, it’s a huge inconvenience. The good new is that most of these problems are completely avoidable. All you need to do is handle your disposal with care, and it should work like it’s intended for many years. To get many years of uninterrupted use, follow these tips.

  • Only put biodegradable food items
  • Cut-up pieces of larger food items
  • Run cold water to rinse everything down
  • Use dish soap to clean the disposal
  • Put lemon, lime, or orange peels in the disposal to keep it smelling fresh


Do not put the following in the disposal:

  • Glass, metal, plastic, or paper products
  • Cigarette butts
  • Anything combustible
  • Large animal bones
  • Coffee grounds
  • Large amounts of fat, oil, or grease
  • Fibrous food items
  • Fish skins and eggshells
  • Potato peels
  • Expandable foods such as rice and pasta
  • Harsh drain cleaners and chemicals


Steps for Fixing the Garbage Disposal

If you have a jammed disposal or one that won’t turn on, do the following:

  • First, try hitting the reset button. This button can be found on the bottom of the disposal and is red or black.
  • When resetting doesn’t work, the next step is checking to see if the circuit tripped or if a fuse is blown. If the circuit tripped, turn it back on and try the disposal again.
  • For jams, turn off power to the unit. Then, using a broom handle or a wooden spoon, try to clear the jam in the chamber. Never use your fingers to clear a jam. Even with the power off you could accidentally cut yourself on the sharp blades.
  • When there is standing water in the sink on the disposal side and the disposal won’t turn on, try plunging the sink using a sink plunger.

Finally, when all else fails, call us for help. At Norwalk Easy Plumbing Service, we aim to make your life easier. Fixing kitchen plumbing problems like jammed disposals is something we do all day, every day. Call us when you need us and let us take care of annoying plumbing problems fast!

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