How to Fix a Stuck Garbage Disposal: A Step-by-Step Guide

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When your garbage disposal gets stuck, it can be a frustrating and inconvenient problem to deal with. However, with the right knowledge and a little effort, you can easily fix a stuck garbage disposal yourself. In this guide, we will walk you through the steps to get your disposal up and running again. So, if you’re tired of hearing that annoying humming sound or your sink is backing up, let’s dive in and learn how to fix a stuck garbage disposal.

Understanding a Stuck Garbage Disposal

Before we jump into the solution, it’s important to understand what happens when a garbage disposal gets stuck. A stuck garbage disposal can occur due to various reasons, such as jammed blades or clogs within the disposal unit. Identifying the cause is crucial in effectively fixing the problem.

Safety Precautions Before Fixing

Safety should always be a top priority when dealing with any electrical appliance. Before attempting to fix a stuck garbage disposal, make sure to take the following precautions:

  • Disconnect the power: Ensure that the power supply to the disposal is completely turned off to avoid any accidental injuries.
  • Use protective gloves: It’s important to protect your hands from potential sharp objects or debris inside the disposal unit.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Fix a Stuck Garbage Disposal

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s walk through the step-by-step process of fixing a stuck garbage disposal.

1. Troubleshooting

The first step is to troubleshoot the disposal to identify any underlying issues. Start by:

  • Checking the power supply: Ensure that the disposal is receiving power and that no circuit breakers have tripped.
  • Resetting the disposal: Locate the reset button on the bottom of the unit and press it to reset the disposal.
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2. Manual Operation

If troubleshooting doesn’t resolve the issue, you can manually rotate the disposal to free up any jammed components. Follow these steps:

  • Locate the hexagonal opening on the bottom of the disposal unit.
  • Insert an Allen wrench or a broom handle into the opening and rotate it back and forth to loosen any stuck blades or objects.

3. Removing Jammed Objects

Sometimes, foreign objects can cause a garbage disposal to get stuck. Here’s how to remove them:

  • Turn off the power supply to the disposal.
  • Use tongs or pliers to carefully extract any visible objects causing the jam.
  • Once the obstruction is removed, turn the power back on and test the disposal.

4. Clearing Clogs

Clogs can also contribute to a stuck garbage disposal. Follow these steps to clear them:

  • Turn off the power supply to the disposal.
  • Insert a plunger into the sink drain and create a tight seal.
  • Push and pull the plunger vigorously to dislodge the clog.
  • Alternatively, you can try pouring a mixture of baking soda, vinegar, and hot water down the drain to dissolve the clog.

5. Resetting and Testing

After completing the necessary steps to fix the stuck garbage disposal, it’s time to reset and test its functionality:

  • Locate the reset button on the bottom of the disposal and press it.
  • Turn the power supply back on and run water into the disposal.
  • Switch the disposal on to check if it’s functioning properly.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Here are some frequently asked questions about fixing a stuck garbage disposal:

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Q1: Can I use my hands to remove jammed objects from the disposal?

It is not recommended to use your hands directly to remove objects from a stuck garbage disposal. Always use tongs or pliers to avoid any potential injuries.

Q2: What should I do if the disposal still doesn’t work after following the steps?

If the disposal remains stuck or doesn’t function after attempting the steps mentioned, it may be necessary to seek professional help from a plumber or appliance repair technician.

Q3: Can I use chemical drain cleaners to clear clogs in the disposal?

Chemical drain cleaners may cause damage to the disposal unit and are not recommended. Stick to natural methods like baking soda and vinegar or use a plunger to clear clogs.


A stuck garbage disposal doesn’t have to be a major headache. By following the step-by-step guide outlined above, you can fix a stuck disposal and get your kitchen back to its normal functioning. Remember to always prioritize safety and follow the necessary precautions when dealing with electrical appliances. With a little patience and effort, you’ll have your garbage disposal running smoothly again in no time. So, put these tips into action and bid farewell to that stubborn stuck garbage disposal!

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