How to Reset Your Garbage Disposal

Your garbage disposal is a tough appliance. But if you put the wrong thing down the drain it’ll jam. Avoid the obvious–no solids, silverware, eggshells–and it’ll run smoothly. If your disposal only hums and doesn’t seem to grind and drain food then chances are you’ve merely jammed it. Eventually, your drain will clog and lead to even greater expense and inconvenience.

Here are simple instructions for freeing and resetting your disposal.


  • Keep it clean. You may want to use a little dish soap and let it run for a bit with the water running after doing dishes.

  • Use it regularly. You’ll prevent rust and corrosion and prevent stuff from accumulating and stopping the blades.

  • Grind citrus peels. Orange and lemon peels will freshen the drain smell.

  • Cut items down to size. Smaller pieces grind easier. Take your time putting the pieces in the drain.


  • Never put your hand in your disposal!

  • No glass, plastic, metal, or paper.

  • Avoid combustibles.

  • Don’t put grease, oil, or fat in the drain. Your disposal won’t grind them and you’ll clog your drain.

  • Fibrous foods like corn husks, celery stalks, onion skins, and artichokes will jam the disposal and clog the drain.

  • Don’t turn off the disposal or water until the grinding is finished. Let the water run about 15 seconds after you’ve turned off the disposal to allow the drains to flush.

  • No harsh chemicals like bleach or drain cleaner. They can damage your drains and pipes.
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