How can I troubleshoot an issue with my garbage disposal?

Tips if you're having problems with your garbage disposal unit.

How to unjam your garbage disposal unit:

  1. Make sure the disposal switch is in the “OFF” position and the unit is unplugged (under the sink)
  2. Use an Allen wrench on the hexagonal bolt on the bottom of the unit to manually turn the disposal.
  3. Once unjammed, use pliers or similar tool to remove any object causing the issue. Remove the wrench and plug the unit back in.
  4. Gently press the red button to reset the unit.
  5. Turn on a stream of cold water and turn the switch on the disposal to the “on” position.

Items to avoid putting into disposal:

  • Fibrous, starchy or hard leftovers, especially bones
  • Coffee grounds
  • Egg shells
  • Grease, oil, fat or greasy foods
  • Bleach or commercial drain cleaners
  • Your fingers

Best practices:

  • Always use with cool (not hot) running water and allow water to run for 20–30 seconds after turning off disposal to clear all waste
  • Slowly feed small bits of food into the disposal; avoid large amounts all at once
  • Keep the disposal running for a few seconds after you hear the food being ground up to ensure it clears
  • Run disposal every few days even if you don’t have food to grind to keep blades from rusting and ensure food particles are washed out
  • Clean and freshen with warm (not hot) water and cut up lemons