How To Fix Garbage Disposal Jam (3 Potent Ways)

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Garbage disposal is a very essential device that every home should have. The convenience they offer should be enjoyed by everyone.

This is why when they malfunction, all hands must be on deck to get them working perfectly again. Talking about malfunctioning, a garbage disposal jam is one common issue the majority of users face.

Do you want to learn how to fix garbage disposal jam? This article will teach you a quick and easy fix for common garbage disposal issues like a jam, helping you save some bucks that could have been splurged on frequent plumbing services.

Let’s get started!

How To Fix Garbage Disposal Jam

We promised you a quick and easy do-it-yourself fix and that is just what we will serve you.

Find them below!

See Also: KitchenAid Garbage Disposal Not Working

Option 1: Reset The Device

When you experience a jam in your device, the first thing to do as you attempt to work on it is to switch it off. This is both a safety measure and a step in getting it fixed.

Being under the sink with the device turned on can be very dangerous as there is a high possibility of finding water.

The next step would be to press the reset button. This button which is usually red can be found right at the bottom of the device.

In most cases, it would be sticking out and pressing the reset button resolves the jam issues at once, but there are some exceptions and of course, other tips to deal with those instances too.

What Does It Mean When The Reset Button Sticks Out?

The reset button which is usually colored red sticks out as a signal to you that your device is overheating.

As is the usual practice with overheating, you have to turn off the device for some time to enable it to cool down. 

Afterward, press the button right into place.

Check after a few minutes to be sure it is still in place. If it isn’t, press it back into its unit once more. If the button keeps sticking out, then you might probably need a different tactic.

Quick Tip: If your reset button isn’t sticking out or, is damaged in any way, you can still get the job done by using your hand to turn the grinders. Manually keeping the grinders in motion will help clear up the jam. 

Please keep the device switched off as you do so.

  • Run Water In The Sink: Cold water is preferable for this step. Run it down the drain through the disposal for about 3 – 4 minutes. The reason for doing this is for the water to help clear out the jam.
  • Plug Back The Device: The next step is to test the device to see if the jam is still there. If the reset buttons still aren’t sticking out, see if you can hear the sound of the motor at least. We know the device itself isn’t damaged and the problem is limited to the jam alone if the motor makes that humming sound.

If it doesn’t, then you just might need a replacement.

Option 2: Manual Rotation Of The Disposal Blades

Try this out if resetting the device fails to work but, before we begin, unplug the device from the socket once more.

To rotate the disposal blades, we will recommend you use the hexagonal wrench that came along with the device disposal unit.

This wrench is to be placed in the matching hexagonal hole that can be found under the disposal.

  • Turn The Disposal Motor Shaft: With the wrench placed in the hole, turn the wrench back and forth till you can break through by rotating it.
  • Run Water In The Sink: Run cold water in the sink for a few seconds to clear the path.

Option 3: Manual Removal Of Blockages

Switch off the electrical supply in the room

The general electrical supply can be located in a fuse box in the room most likely found in the basement. Switch it off as soon as you see it.

  • Scan Through The Sink Drain For Blockages: With a flashlight, you can look through the sink drain, check out the disposal blades and look for what the obstruction is. 
  • Take Out Blockages With Pliers: With kitchen tongs or pliers stuck through the sink into the disposal unit, you can try to remove any obstructions you see. For safety reasons, avoid using your hands.
  • Spin The Blades With a Garbage Disposal Wrench: Spinning should go anti-clockwise continuously till it feels loose.
  • Switch The Disposal Back On: Just before you switch the garbage disposal back on, make sure that the wrench is removed. Carry out a test run to be sure the jam is gone. If it isn’t, you may have to replace the motor.

What Causes A Garbage Disposal Jam?

There is a long list of things that can cause a garbage jam. Top on the list is when a lot of garbage is trashed at the same time.

When too much food is disposed of in quick succession, the device is most likely going to jam.

Even with mechanical disposal, built to safely dispose of more food, stuffing it with a lot too quickly would cause a jam problem. 

The key is to dispose of the food as slowly as possible, not stuffing a lot in quick succession.

Another instance is when seeds or materials that are hard, get stuck in between the flywheel and the housing.

One material likely to cause a garbage disposal jam is:


This should not even have anything to do with the garbage disposal device, but surprisingly, we see it getting tossed down all too often.

What happens when they get tossed down? They get stuck and lodged in a comfortable spot.

The result?

You guessed right. A jam.

These metal objects like small spoons, forks, nails and the rest, are capable of jamming the propeller and when this happens, it would be impossible for food scraps to sail down the shoot.

At this point, it will only be right to reiterate that a garbage disposal device was created to handle food scraps or any other trash in the form of food.

We get that the tossing of these metals might not be intentional, but at the same time, would want to advise that extra care is taken to avoid such mistakes.

See Also: Garbage Disposal Not Working


Everyone desires for their garbage disposal device to be in top shape. It makes for an easy and fast paced flow of work.

How to fix garbage disposal jam?

You can do it! 

Just follow through with any or a combination of all the different methods outlined above.