How to Repair a Garbage Disposal

A garbage disposal, also known as a food waste disposer, is a small appliance frequently found in many kitchens. It is really handy to have one for all of the food waste that a household can create. “Like with any appliance, a garbage disposal is susceptible to a variety of different problems over its’ lifespan,” says Don Straley, owner of appliance repair in Richmond.

Below we have created a list of some of the most common problems that can occur and tips on troubleshooting these problems. These are the type of problems that many people can complete themselves in less than an hour Parts can be ordered from Repair Clinic. Though many of the problems can be handled easily by the owner, there are going to be problems that will require the attention of a professional.


Having problems with a garbage disposal? Read our troubleshooting tips below or call one the recommend appliance repair services below:


There are a few things to check before you go looking at the disposal. You can try to hit the reset button and then trying to turn the appliance on. You will also want to check to make sure that it is plugged in and that the circuit breaker is in the “on” position. If all of these things seem to be where they should be and the reset button doesn’t work, this problem is probably being caused by the start/stop switch. You can easily buy this part and replace it.


Rotting food emits a horrible odor that is very noticeable. When your garbage disposal has a foul odor coming from it, it going to be due to rotting food that is stuck in the appliance. In order to deal with this, cut off all the power going to the appliance by unplugging it. Then clean off the motor and blades so the food can be flushed out. If this doesn’t work, you are going to need to replace the splash guards and stopper.


There are a few things that can cause this to happen. Loud noises can happen if there is a buildup of food (or anything else for that matter) inside the disposal, something lodged in it that shouldn’t be there, or loose and/or dull blades. If it is found that the source of the noises is from loose blades, the unit can be removed from under the sink so that the blades can be tightened. If you come to find that the blades are dull, it is probably time to get a new one.


If food and other debris builds up in the garbage disposal, it can cause the motor to work harder than it is built to, and thus it will overheat. This overheating causes the burning smell and it commonly comes from the motor itself or the motor capacitor. To deal with this problem, you will need to cut the power off and clean out and food and other debris that has built up inside. Then you will need to flush the garbage disposal with water. If this doesn’t solve the problem, a professional technician is going to have to come in to fully replace your garbage disposal.


A garbage disposal needs to have tight-fitting seals in the sink drain so that water doesn’t leak or drip from the appliance. If leaks and drips start to happen, you will need to remove the unit in order to replace the seals and gaskets. These are easily purchased and replaced without the help of a professional.

Although this can be a simple small appliance to fix on your own, don’t feel bad if you don’t feel comfortable doing it on your own. Only do what you feel that you are able to do, otherwise, call in an experienced professional to get your garbage disposal up and running again. Here are some appliance repair companies we recommend:

McLaughlin’s Appliance Sales & Service
Scarborough, ME
(207) 761-4468

Rapid Richmond Appliance Repair
Richmond, VA

Accurate Gilbert Appliance Repair
Gilbert, AZ

Waukegan Appliance Repair
Waukegan, IL

Rodgers Appliance Service
Bismarck, ND