How Do I Fix a Stuck Garbage Disposal?

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  • Written By: T. L. Childree
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 04 November 2019
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Fixing a stuck garbage disposal usually requires the removal of a foreign object lodged in the grinding blades. First, make certain that a slight humming noise is heard when attempting to operate the device. Next, turn off the power supply and gain access to the bottom of the unit through a cabinet door. You will need an appropriate sized hex wrench to turn the stuck garbage disposal back and forth until the foreign object becomes dislodged. Use a pair of long-nosed pliers to remove the object from the sink opening of the disposal and restore power to the unit.

Garbage disposals usually become stuck when a foreign object such as an eating utensil or a large bone becomes lodged in the grinding blades. The fist step in fixing a stuck garbage disposal is to make certain that the device is indeed operating. This can be determined by turning the unit on and listening for a humming noise. If this noise is heard, a foreign object is probably caught in the blades and will need to be removed.


It is very important to disconnect the power supply before attempting to fix a stuck garbage disposal. The device may be plugged into an electrical outlet underneath the sink or connected at the main circuit breaker panel. Determine the location of the power supply and disconnect the disposal before proceeding. After disconnecting the power supply, you will need to gain access to the bottom of the disposal through a cabinet door. A mirror and flashlight may be needed to see the components located at bottom of the disposal.

Remove any items stored under the cabinet to allow maneuvering room during this procedure. A hex head nut is positioned in the bottom center of the disposal and can be turned with an appropriate sized wrench. Use the wrench to slowly move the grinding blades back and forth until the foreign object becomes dislodged. This procedure may require several attempts before the blades are sufficiently loosened. Once the blades move slightly in each direction, the trapped object can be safely removed.

The foreign object must be taken out at the sink opening of the disposal. You should use a pair of long-nosed pliers for this step to avoid injury. A flashlight may be needed to see into the sink opening. Locate the object and remove it with the pliers. Reconnect the power supply and push the reset button located near the hex nut. Run water in the sink and turn on the disposal to clear any small pieces of debris.


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