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Garbage Disposal Won’t Turn On? Here Are 6 Solutions to Fix It

Ever had the frustrating experience of a garbage disposal that simply won’t turn on? As one of the most dependable appliances in our homes, dealing with a non-working disposal can be daunting.

This blog post will guide you through 6 practical solutions to get your machine up and running again. Ready for some hands-on problem solving? Let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways

  • Six solutions to fix a garbage disposal that won’t turn on:
  • Check the power source and reset button.
  • Clear blockages in the drainpipe.
  • Ensure secure connections.
  • Consider seeking professional help if necessary.
  • Safety recommendations when dealing with a garbage disposal:
  • Turn off the power before working on it.
  • Never put your hands inside, use tools instead.
  • Wear protective gloves and eyewear.
  • Keep children away from the area.
  • Maintenance tips to prevent garbage disposal issues:
  • Run cold water before and after using it.
  • Avoid putting fibrous or starchy foods down.
  • Keep large bones and hard objects out of it.

Possible Causes of a Non-Working Garbage Disposal

Power source issues, outlet problems, resetting and cleaning, drainpipe blockage, loose connections, and the need for professional assistance—these are common factors that can contribute to a non-working garbage disposal.

Power source issues

Power can create issues in your garbage disposal. If the unit does not start, it might be unplugged. Be sure to check that the cord is in the outlet well. The problem could also lie with a tripped circuit breaker.

You’ll need to find your home’s power box and make sure all switches are set right for this one. Sometimes, wrong wiring during setup causes problems too. Make sure you did everything per the user guide when you installed it.

Lastly, try using a lamp or radio to see if there’s any current coming from the plug point where the system is connected.

Outlet problems

If your garbage disposal won’t turn on, one possible cause could be outlet problems. Make sure that the disposal is plugged into a working electrical outlet or check if it’s hardwired to your home’s power supply.

You can test the outlet by plugging in another device like a lamp or radio to see if it works. If the outlet isn’t providing power, try resetting the circuit breaker or replacing any blown fuses.

Additionally, some garbage disposals have a built-in night light feature that might interfere with normal operation, so make sure it’s turned off if you have one installed.

Resetting and cleaning

To fix a garbage disposal that won’t turn on, try these solutions:

  1. Check the power source and make sure it’s working.
  2. Press the reset button on the garbage disposal unit.
  3. Clean the disposal by removing any debris or objects stuck inside.
  4. Use a flashlight to check for any clogs or blockages in the drainpipe.
  5. Tighten any loose connections between the garbage disposal and the sink.
  6. If none of these solutions work, consider seeking professional help.

Drainpipe blockage

One possible cause of a non-working garbage disposal is a drainpipe blockage. When the drainpipe becomes clogged with food residue or debris, it can prevent the disposal from functioning properly.

To fix this issue, you can try clearing the blockage yourself. Start by turning off the power to the disposal and using a plunger or plumber’s snake to remove any obstructions in the pipe.

Once clear, turn the power back on and test if the disposal is working again. If not, it may be necessary to seek professional assistance to resolve the problem efficiently and safely.

Loose connections

If your garbage disposal won’t turn on, one possible cause could be loose connections. The article advises checking the power source and making sure all connections are secure. A loose connection can disrupt the electrical flow to the disposal, causing it not to work.

By ensuring that all wires and cords are properly connected, you may be able to fix the problem without needing professional assistance.

Professional assistance

If none of the solutions mentioned earlier work, it may be time to seek professional assistance. Sometimes, there can be underlying issues with the garbage disposal that require specialized knowledge and tools to fix.

A professional plumber or appliance repair technician can diagnose the problem accurately and provide the necessary repairs.

Professional help is especially recommended if you are not comfortable working with electrical connections or if you suspect there may be a more significant issue causing the non-functioning garbage disposal.

They have experience dealing with these appliances and can ensure that all safety protocols are followed during repairs.

Solutions to Fix a Non-Working Garbage Disposal

To fix a non-working garbage disposal, start by checking the power source and reset button. Clear any blockages in the drainpipe and ensure all connections are secure. If necessary, consider seeking professional help.

Check power source and reset button

If your garbage disposal won’t turn on, here are some things you can do to fix it:

  • Make sure the power source is working properly.
  • Check if the reset button on the disposal has been tripped.
  • Verify that there is power going to the disposal by testing the outlet.

Clear blockages in the drainpipe

To fix a non-working garbage disposal, it’s important to check for any blockages in the drainpipe. Here are some steps you can take to clear the blockages:

  1. Turn off the garbage disposal and unplug it from the power source.
  2. Place a bucket or bowl under the sink to catch any water that may come out during the process.
  3. Use a flashlight to inspect the drainpipe for any visible debris. such as food scraps or grease buildup.
  4. If you can see any blockages, use tongs or pliers to carefully remove them from the pipe.
  5. To dislodge stubborn blockages, you can try using a plunger specifically designed for sinks or a plumbing snake.
  6. Run hot water down the drain to help flush out any remaining debris.
  • Troubleshooting
  • Sink drain
  • Appliance
  • Leaks
  • Circuit
  • Reset

Ensure secure connections

To fix a non-working garbage disposal, it’s important to ensure that all connections are secure. Here are some steps to follow:

  • Check the power cord connection and make sure it is plugged in properly.
  • If your garbage disposal is hardwired, inspect the electrical connections to ensure they are secure and not loose.
  • Look for any signs of damage or frayed wires in the connection.
  • Tighten any loose screws or bolts that hold the disposal unit in place.
  • Use a screwdriver or pliers if needed to securely fasten the connections.

Consider professional help if necessary

If you’ve tried all the solutions mentioned above and your garbage disposal still won’t turn on, it might be time to consider getting professional help. Sometimes, the problem can be more complex or require specialized knowledge and tools to fix.

Hiring a professional can ensure that the issue is diagnosed correctly and resolved safely without causing any further damage. It’s always better to seek expert assistance rather than attempting risky repairs yourself.

Safety Recommendations When Dealing with a Garbage Disposal

When dealing with a garbage disposal, it’s important to prioritize safety. Here are some recommendations to keep in mind:.

1. Turn off the power: Before doing any work on the garbage disposal, make sure to turn off the power source. This can be done by unplugging it or switching off the circuit breaker that supplies electricity to the disposal.

2. Avoid inserting your hands: Never put your hands inside the garbage disposal unit, even when it’s turned off. Use tongs or pliers instead if you need to remove any objects stuck in there.

3. Protect yourself: Wear protective gloves and eyewear when working with a garbage disposal to prevent any injuries from sharp blades or debris.

4. Keep children away: It’s crucial to keep children away from the area where you’re working on a garbage disposal as they may unknowingly touch dangerous components or cause accidents.

5. Be cautious about chemicals: Avoid using harsh chemicals like drain cleaners in your garbage disposal as they can damage the unit and pose risks if splashed onto your skin or eyes.

By following these safety recommendations, you can reduce the risk of accidents and ensure a safe experience when dealing with a non-working garbage disposal.

Maintenance Tips to Prevent Garbage Disposal Issues

To prevent issues with your garbage disposal, follow these maintenance tips:

  1. Run cold water before and after using the disposal to flush away debris.
  2. Avoid putting fibrous or starchy foods like celery, potato peels, or pasta down the disposal.
  3. Keep large bones and hard objects out of the disposal to prevent damage.
  4. Cut larger food items into smaller pieces before putting them in the disposal.
  5. Regularly clean your garbage disposal by grinding ice cubes and citrus peels to remove buildup.


In conclusion, if your garbage disposal won’t turn on, there are six solutions you can try to fix it. Check the power source and reset button, clear any blockages in the drainpipe, ensure secure connections, and consider seeking professional help if needed.

By following these steps, you can get your garbage disposal up and running again in no time. Happy fixing!


1. What are the usual causes when a garbage disposal won’t turn on?

The garbage disposal might not turn on due to electrical issues like a blown circuit or being unplugged. Other reasons could be a jammed garbage disposal, motor burned out, or broken parts.

2. My kitchen sink drain is blocked and my garbage disposal just hums but doesn’t work, what should I do?

A humming sound can mean there’s resistance because of a jam inside your garbage disposal. It’s best to remove any blockage in your kitchen sink drain and try to fix the jam in your machine.

3. How do I know if my motor burnt out?

If you checked every other possible cause like finding no jams or leakages but still find resistance in turning it on; then your motor might have burned out causing the broken status of your garbage disposal.

4. Can electrical issues result in leaking from my garbage disposal?

Electrical glitches typically don’t induce leakage but they often lead to other malfunctions such as humming noises and lack of operation which may indirectly affect its sealing leading it to leak eventually.

5.What DIY solutions exist for me if ever faced with these problems at home?

Understanding why thermal fuse trips and how circuit breakers work helps handling relevant situations better plus knowing some hands-on challenges like clearing obstructions from drains using simple tools or resetting hair dryer-like motors contributes vastly towards effective home repairs & overall kitchen maintenance.

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