Garbage Disposal Won’t Turn On: How to Troubleshoot and Fix

Last Updated on March 8, 2022 by Kimberly Crawford

If your garbage disposal isn’t turning on, there are a few things you can do to troubleshoot and fix the problem.

In this blog post, we will walk you through some common causes of this issue and how to resolve them. We will also provide some tips on how to keep your garbage disposal running smoothly. So if your disposal is giving you trouble, read on for help!

Related: How Does a Garbage Disposal Work? Everything You Need To Know

Common causes of garbage disposal won’t turn on

electrician wiring a new kitchen garbage disposer

There are a few common causes of garbage disposal won’t turn on. Here are some of the most common:

The power is turned off to the disposal.

Make sure that the breaker for the disposal has not been flipped off.

The disposal is unplugged.

Check to make sure the plug for the disposal is plugged in properly.

The reset button has been tripped on the disposal.

Push and hold the reset button on the bottom of the disposal for a few seconds until it clicks.

The reset button has been pushed.

If you can’t seem to get your disposal to turn on, try pushing the reset button. This will restart the disposal.

The overload protector has been tripped.

If your garbage disposal is overloaded with too much waste, the overload protector may trip and turn off the disposal. Try removing some of the waste to see if it will start working again.

There is a clog in the disposal.

If your disposal isn’t working, it may be clogged. Try using a plunger or a pliers to dislodge the clog.

Once you’ve removed the obstruction, turn on the disposal and see if it runs properly.

The garbage disposal is not installed properly.

Make sure that the garbage disposal is securely attached to the sink and that all of the connections are tight.

Related: How to Connect Your Dishwasher Drain Hose to the Garbage Disposal

How do I know if my garbage disposal is broken?

There are a few signs that your garbage disposal might be broken. If the unit doesn’t turn on at all when you flip the switch, then it’s likely that the motor has burned out.

If it makes a humming noise but won’t actually grind up any food, then there might be something stuck in the blades. And if it’s making a grinding noise but not actually spinning, then the blades might be dull.

If your garbage disposal is indeed broken, don’t despair! There are a few things you can do to troubleshoot and fix the problem. First, try resetting the unit by flipping the switch on and off a few times. If that doesn’t work, check to see if the power is turned on. If it is, then you might need to call a professional plumber to fix the motor.

If your garbage disposal is making noise but not spinning, try cleaning the blades with a degreaser or citrus cleaner. And finally, if your garbage disposal won’t turn on at all, make sure to unplug it before attempting any repairs.

How do you check a garbage disposal switch?

The switch is located on the bottom of the disposal and is usually red. It will have two prongs that you need to check for continuity with a multimeter. If there is no continuity, then the switch needs to be replaced.

If there is continuity, then you need to check the wiring going into the switch. There should be no breaks in the wiring and it should be securely attached to the switch. If there is a problem with the wiring, then you will need to replace the switch.

How do you remove a garbage disposal switch?

The switch is located on the bottom of the disposal and can be removed with a screwdriver. Once the switch is removed, you can test it by plugging it into an outlet. If the outlet is working, then the switch is bad and needs to be replaced. If the outlet isn’t working, then there is a problem with your wiring.

Tips for keeping your garbage disposal running smoothly

clean garbage disposal

Here are a few tips to keep your garbage disposal running smoothly:

-Never put hard-to-grind, stringy, fibrous, or oily wastes down the disposal. If a waste is difficult to grind, it will either clog the motor or overheat and cause the reset button to trip. Stringy and fibrous wastes include celery, corn husks, potato peels, and onion skins. Oily wastes include bacon grease, cooking oils, and salad dressings.

Related: Can You Put Egg Shells Down the Garbage Disposal? | Can You Put Coffee Grounds Down The Sink Or Garbage Disposal?

-Always use cold water when running the disposal. Hot water will cause greasy foods to liquefy and could end up backing up through your sink drain.

-Cut food into small pieces before putting it in the disposal. Large pieces can clog the drain and overheat the motor.

-Never put your hand in the disposal. Even if it’s turned off, there’s a risk of getting cut on the blades. If something has fallen into the disposal, use tongs or pliers to remove it.

-If the disposal is clogged, use a plunger to try to dislodge the blockage. If that doesn’t work, you may need to use a plumbing snake to clear it.

-If your garbage disposal is making strange noises, it could be due to a foreign object caught in the blades or something else blocking the motor. In this case, you’ll need to remove the object and clean out the disposal.

-If your garbage disposal is leaking water, there may be a problem with the seal or gasket. You can try tightening the screws on the cover, but if that doesn’t work, you’ll need to replace the gasket.

-Regularly cleaning your garbage disposal will help extend its lifespan. You can use a mixture of vinegar and water to clean the disposal, or you can buy a garbage disposal cleaner. Once a week, run the disposal with cold water and a few ice cubes to sharpen the blades.

Related: Garbage Disposal Backing Up Into Sink? {How To Fix}


If your garbage disposal won’t turn on, don’t despair. There are a few simple things you can do to troubleshoot the problem. If none of these solutions work, then it’s time to call a plumber. With a little patience and some elbow grease, you should be able to get your garbage disposal up and running in no time.

Did these solutions help you get your garbage disposal up and running? If not, tell us about your experience in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you!