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If your garbage disposal isn’t working, the fix is most likely just the push of a button, no need to call a plumber. A garbage disposal can sometimes get clogged or overloaded, and most often it just needs to be reset to get it working properly again. You can easily reset your garbage disposal at home in just a few minutes! The easiest way to try and get your garbage disposal working again is to find and press the garbage disposal reset button.

To Start

Let’s find out more about your garbage disposal and its reset button. There are many different situations in which your garbage disposal may need a hit from the big red button. 

The main reason for needing to press the garbage disposal reset button is because your garbage disposal is not working and will not turn on. After making sure there is power flowing to your unit and that is not the cause, the next option is to find the reset button.

The next reason for pushing the reset button is when your garbage disposal is making a humming noise, but there’s no grinding or breaking down happening when you put waste down. This could mean a part of your unit (like a flywheel) is stuck, and by resetting your garbage disposal, it will get it up and running again. 

If your garbage disposal is making a loud rattling sound, turn off the disposal immediately, as a hard object is probably in the disposal being pushed around. You want to turn off your disposal as soon as possible to avoid any further damage to the unit and make sure it stays clean. 

If you suspect there is a hard object in your garbage disposal, shine a flashlight in your drain to find what’s causing the noise and use tongs or pliers to retrieve the item. Do not put your hands in the disposal to retrieve anything that has fallen in. 

Find the garbage disposal reset button

Luckily, if the noise coming from your garbage disposal warrants a look for the reset button, it isn’t too hard to spot.

For most units, the reset button should be on the bottom side of the unit; for others, check underneath the company’s logo or on the side of the unit to find the button. Older disposals are more likely to have the reset button on the underside of the disposal, so you may need to crouch to see it. Most models’ reset buttons are red, but some units have a black button.  

Do not push the reset button until you are sure your garbage disposal switch is turned off!

Push the button

Now that you have the garbage disposal turned off and the reset button located, you can go ahead and push it in. Once you push it in, it should stay retracted and latched in place. If the button pops back out, wait a few minutes and try again. If it will not stay latched, it’s time to schedule an appointment with a plumber.

If the reset button stays pushed in, go ahead and start running some lukewarm tap water and turn on your garbage disposal. You should hear it start right up and run smoothly again. If your disposal still won’t work or is making concerning noises, there may be a bigger problem like either a jam/clog farther in or a repair needed on your unit.

Here’s a short list of what should NEVER go down your garbage disposal 

  • Coffee grounds 
  • Bones or bone sediment 
  • Grease 
  • Stringy or fibrous vegetables like the outer layers of onions and celery
  • Eggshells
  • Large quantities of starchy foods like rice, potatoes, and pasta
  • Seafood shells

There are many more food (and non-food!) items that should stay away from your garbage disposal, so if you’re feeling unsure it’s better to be safe than sorry and throw it in the trash bin. Along with keeping your garbage disposal clean, many of these foods (especially grease and starchy foods) can cause a clog in the pipes easily, and it does not take long for it to build up.

A better way to get rid of grease after cooking is to pour the hot liquid into a durable container, such as a mug or a coffee tin. Wait for it to cool completely and then either throw the can away or scoop the hardened grease into the garbage can.

If resetting your garbage disposal doesn’t fix the problem or one of these items does end up clogging your disposal, give Quality Comfort a call! Our certified plumbing technicians are knowledgeable and ready to help with any plumbing maintenance or repair in Cincinnati, Milford, Hyde Park or surrounding areas. With only a $68 weekday service call fee, your garbage disposal is able to be fixed and back to normal quickly and efficiently.