How to Fix a Jammed Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals are simple machines--basically a motor and a flywheel with impeller arms that spin and shred whatever they touch.  Sometimes, though, the machine can jam on a bottle top or other debris, or trip a circuit breaker when it's overloaded. If that happens, you just need to take a quick step or two to repair it. 

Things You Will Need

  • Long-nose Pliers
  • Short Broomstick
  • 1/4-inch (6-mm) Allen (hex) Wrench


  • Never use a chemical drain cleaner to try to clear debris from the garbage disposal. The caustic chemicals can damage gaskets and other parts.
  • To avoid jams, keep the opening to your disposal covered with a rubber strainer when not in use.

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