How to Fix a Jammed Garbage Disposal

How to Fix Jammed Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals are one of the easiest ways to dispose of food scraps and keep your kitchen odor-free. But, when it gets stuck, it can feel like you’re the one in a jam. Fortunately, you can fix your jammed garbage disposal in three easy steps.

How to Fix a Jammed Garbage Disposal in 3 Steps


Solutions for a jammed garbage disposal can range from a quick reset to manually dislodging the blockage. While resolving your jam, you may require the following tools:

  • Allen wrench
  • Flashlight
  • Pliers or tongs
  • Garbage disposal wrench


Follow this step-by-step guide to fix your jammed garbage disposal.

Step 1. Unplug the disposal

Running cold water can sometimes dislodge whatever is jamming your disposal, but if your garbage disposal is still stuck, the first thing to do is to reset the unit.

Start by unplugging the disposal and then look for the red reset button or thermal overload button on the bottom of the unit. If it’s sticking out, push it back in, and see if that fixes the problem. If your jam persists, wait 10-15 minutes to see If the button pops out again. If that’s the case, your disposal may be overheating and needs time to cool down.

Plug the unit back in and test it by turning on the water and running your disposal.

Step 2. Rotate the blades

If resetting your unit doesn’t resolve the problem, use an Allen wrench to rotate the blades of your garbage disposal. There should be a hole underneath your disposal that will fit your garbage disposal’s Allen wrench. The hole is hexagonal-shaped and located in the center of the unit.

Crank the wrench counterclockwise as far as you can. Then, turn it clockwise until it doesn’t go any further. Continue these actions until you can rotate your Allen wrench in a complete circle. You may need to apply some force while doing this step.

Once you’ve completed the circle, remove your wrench, plug back in the unit, and test its performance.

Step 3. Manually remove the blockage

If your garbage disposal remains stuck, you may have to remove the blockage yourself manually. Turn off the electrical supply to the room, including the disposal, using your home’s electric panel.

Using a flashlight, see if you can find the obstruction. Then, using pliers or tongs—to keep your hands safe—remove the blockage from the blades of your disposal. If you’re unable to remove the obstruction using pliers or tongs, you may need to use a garbage disposal wrench. This wrench is specially designed like a claw to make it easier to rotate the blades of the garbage disposal. Use the two prongs at the end to spin the blades counterclockwise and clockwise until they can rotate freely.

Plug your unit back in and test that your garbage disposal is working properly.

Is Your Garbage Disposal Still Stuck?

If your garbage disposal still doesn’t work or continuously needs to be reset, there may be a greater issue. At Climate Design, we offer quality plumbing services, including garbage disposal repair and replacement to the Clearwater area and beyond. Contact us today to learn how we can help or schedule an appointment online.

Call (888) 572-7245 to Schedule Your Appointment