Home / News & Media / Plumbing Tips

Garbage Disposal Not Working? This DIY Couldn’t Be Easier.

2 min read • October 5th, 2023

Heil Plumbing
Smiling African American mother and son washing vegetables at the kitchen sink

Is your garbage disposal not working? If so, don’t worry. You can diagnose and repair jams quickly and efficiently with a bit of know-how and a simple Allen wrench. Watch the video below or read more to learn how to fix your garbage disposal manually and how to use the garbage disposal reset button to get it spinning freely again. 

Garbage Disposal Not Working? It Could Be Jammed.

Find out if your garbage disposal is jammed with this easy test. But first, make sure your garbage disposal is turned off.

Next, look under your sink for the underside of your garbage disposal. Insert an Allen wrench (a.k.a. Allen key or hex wrench) into the center of the bottom. Then turn clockwise and counterclockwise, feeling for a jam.

If there’s no resistance, your garbage disposal is not jammed. But if your garbage disposal is still not working, you might be able to fix your problem with the garbage disposal reset button. (See “How to Reset Your Garbage Disposal” below.)  

How to Fix Your Jammed Garbage Disposal

If you find that your garbage disposal is not working because it’s jammed, continuing to turn the Allen wrench in the bottom of your garbage disposal should do the trick. 

If the Allen wrench doesn’t work, peer down your drain with a flashlight to see if anything is stuck. If you see anything, use a pair of pliers to remove it. Remember to keep the garbage disposal off, and never stick your hand down the drain. The blades are very sharp.

How to Reset Your Garbage Disposal 

If your garbage disposal is not working and it’s not jammed, try pressing the garbage disposal reset button. 

Look for a red button at the bottom of your garbage disposal and press it firmly. If you feel it click or push in, there’s a good chance it needed resetting, and it will now work. 

If it’s still not working after pressing the garbage disposal reset button, there’s one more trick you can try.

Your Garbage Disposal Issue Could Be a Clogged Sink

Sometimes, it might seem like your garbage disposal is not working, but the problem could actually be a clogged drain. If your garbage disposal is on and the water isn’t draining, the problem is likely a backed-up drain. You might need to simply run a snake down the line to unclog your sink.  

If this doesn’t work, you may need to replace the garbage disposal or call a professional. If you do choose to go the DIY route, make sure to unplug the power and turn off its circuit breaker before beginning any repairs. Ultimately, it’s always best to address any plumbing issues as soon as possible so that a potential problem doesn’t become an even bigger one. 

Looking for reliable and efficient faucet repair or replacement services from a professional plumber? Contact Heil Plumbing to schedule an appointment with a trustworthy plumber in Baltimore or the surrounding area.  Live closer to D.C.?  Trust our Montgomery County plumbers to take care of your home just like it was ours.



Heil Plumbing Team

8177 Mission Rd Jessup, MD, 20794, United States

(410) 799-7727

Schedule Service


related articles

2 min read • April 26th, 2024

The Best Water Heater Brand According to Plumbers

When it comes to essential home appliances, your water heater ranks high on the list, impacting everything from your morning routine to your utility bills. But not
Heil Plumbing
Toilet Plumbing Tips
2 min read • April 12th, 2024

DIY Fixes for a Toilet Not Flushing Properly

Toilet not flushing properly no matter how many times you jiggle the handle? It’s a common yet frustrating issue. The causes can range from a slow-filling tank
Heil Plumbing
contemplating traditional vs trenchless sewer repair pros and cons
2 min read • March 29th, 2024

What Is Trenchless Sewer Repair and What Are the Pros and Cons

When facing sewer line issues, homeowners dread the thought of their yards being dug up and they struggle to understand why sewer line replacement is so expensive.
Heil Plumbing