Keeping Your Garbage Disposal Running Smoothly: Common Issues and Maintenance Tips

Garbage disposals are appliances that help to get rid of food waste in an efficient and eco-friendly way. However, like any other household appliance, they can experience problems that make them inoperable. In this blog post, we will look at some of the most common issues that can cause a garbage disposal to malfunction, as well as some helpful tips to keep your disposal in good working order.

Common Problems with Garbage Disposals

  1. Disposal Will Not Turn On:

One of the most common problems that can occur with a garbage disposal is that it will not turn on when you flip the switch. If you do not hear the motor buzzing, it means there is an electrical issue preventing the device from generating current. In this case, you may need to check the electrical connections or circuit breaker.

  1. Disposal Hums but Does Not Grind:

Another issue that can occur is when the garbage disposal hums, but it does not grind. This usually indicates that the inner flywheel is stuck, which can be caused by food or a foreign object getting lodged between the impellers and the shredder ring. If left unchecked, this problem can cause the circuit breaker to trip or the reset button to pop, potentially leading to motor burnout.

  1. Disposal Is Leaking:

Garbage disposals can also experience leaks, which can occur in several places, including the line that runs from the dishwasher to the disposal, the sink flange where the disposal connects to the sink's base, and the hose that discharges garbage from the disposal into the drainage system. These leaks can cause water to pour under the unit or fill the sink, leading to potential water damage.

  1. Disposal Drains Slowly:

Finally, garbage disposals can sometimes drain slowly, which is usually caused by an obstruction in the drain pipe. To prevent this issue, avoid grinding potato peels, eggshells, or coffee grounds, as these can create starchy paste and small granular waste particles that can clog your drain.

Helpful Tips for Garbage Disposal Maintenance

To prevent these common issues and keep your garbage disposal in good working order, it is important to follow some simple maintenance tips:

  1. Regularly Grind Ice Cubes and Lemon Peel:

Grinding ice cubes and lemon peel is a great way to keep your garbage disposal clean and maintained. The ice cubes help to sharpen the blades, while the lemon peel helps to freshen the unit and remove any odors.

  1. Use Baking Soda and Vinegar to Prevent Odors:

Another way to keep your garbage disposal fresh and clean is to combine a few handfuls of baking soda with a half cup of vinegar and fill the disposal with the mixture. Let it sit for a few minutes before running cold water and turning on the disposal.

  1. Avoid Certain Foods:

As mentioned earlier, it is important to avoid grinding certain foods, such as potato peels, eggshells, and coffee grounds, as these can cause clogs and slow drainage.

  1. Do Not Reach Inside the Garbage Disposal:

Finally, it is essential to take safety precautions when using a garbage disposal. Never stick your hand or fingers inside the unit, even if you believe the circuit has been turned off or the disposal has been unplugged. Also, avoid using chemical drain cleaners, as they can harm the garbage disposal and nullify the manufacturer's warranty.


Garbage disposals are a convenient and eco-friendly way to get rid of food waste, but they can experience problems that make them inoperable. If you notice any unusual plumbing activity or believe it's time to replace or repair your garbage disposal, it's essential to work with skilled and professional plumbers to ensure exceptional quality, safe and controlled services, and unbeatable

Related Posts
  • Why You Should Get a Plumbing Inspection Before You Buy a Home Read More
  • Common plumbing issues: Please don’t ‘google it’, call a professional. Read More
  • Plumbing Priorities Before You Leave for Vacation: A Helpful Guide to Avoiding Disaster Read More