How to Troubleshoot a Garbage Disposal That Will Not Grind Food

We have all come to rely on various gadgets to do things for us. One of the most common household appliances that handles dirty jobs for us is the garbage disposal, and when something is wrong with it you're whole routine can be affected. Garbage disposals that get backed up can cause your sink to overflow, and they also cause flooding in the dishwasher and clogged pipes. If your disposal suddenly stops grinding, be prepared to tackle the problem fast so you can avoid any unpleasant plumbing problems.

Broken garbage disposals can cause problems with your sink's ability to drain
  1. Turn off the power for your kitchen at the fuse box. If you don't know which fuse it is, just shut off the main breaker for the house.

  2. Make a thorough check with the flashlight of the inside of the disposal. If there are any solid objects stuck inside, like silverware or food, they may be preventing the blades from turning. Also, use the flashlight to inspect the disposal blades and make sure they aren't damaged, corroded, or missing.

  3. Reach underneath the disposal unit. There should be a "reset" button; press it. If the button isn't on the bottom of the unit, feel around the sides for it. Turn the power back on and test the disposal.

  4. Replace the garbage disposal with a new one. Trying to fix dull, broken, or missing blades isn't practical, and it may even cost you more than just buying another disposal.


  • Never reach into the garbage disposal with your hands unless the power has been shut off.