Common Garbage Disposal Problems—and What to Do about Them

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When your garbage disposal breaks down, it can get downright ugly in the kitchen. You won’t be able to dispose of food waste down the drain. And that’s coupled with foul smells emitting from the garbage disposal. Yuck!

So, what causes these workhorses in the kitchen to stop functioning, and more importantly, how can you prevent common garbage disposal problems from happening in the first place?


Garbage disposals grind up hundreds of pounds of food waste yearly. When these usually long-lasting, reliable devices have limited to no grinding power with an associated humming noise, it probably means a jammed disposal. Often, liquids will back up into the sink or drain slowly. The most common culprits are non-grindable materials, like fats and oils, bones, fruit pits, and stringy vegetables.


Garbage disposals can leak for many reasons. Damaged seals, faulty connections with the drainpipe or dishwasher, a worn-out gasket, O-ring, or flange. Disposals can leak from the top, bottom, or sides into the dishwasher or plumbing system.

Won’t Turn On

You flip the switch to turn on your garbage disposal and nothing happens. A few issues can cause a “dead” disposal. The electrical switch to the disposal may be broken. A plug in the disposal may be loose or the reset button on bottom of the disposal may have popped out.


Are you noticing food waste and water backing up into the sink? Dull blades or a clogged pipe may be causing the backup issues.


If your garbage disposal is making loud sounds, such as a grinding metal noise or a high-pitched whirling noise, it may be caused by a few issues. A part of the garbage disposal may have broken off, lugs may have become loose, or some foreign object is stuck in the blades.

Four Tips to Keep Your Garbage Disposal Running Smoothly

  • Flush out the disposal with hot water on a regular basis.
  • Don’t dump excessive quantities of food waste into the garbage disposal at one time.
  • Avoid dumping potato peels, fats, oils, grease, and bones down the disposal.
  • Drop eggshells, ice cubes, or citrus peels down the disposal weekly to remove smells and keep disposal blades sharp.

Cool Blew’s professional plumbers will quickly inspect your broken garbage disposal. They’ll repair it if possible or provide a quote for a replacement unit in your sink and expertly install it. Call our experts at 623-872-2900 today to schedule your plumbing appointment.