Garbage Disposal 101

There are limits to what a garbage disposal system can handle. It’s not equipped to process everything you may want to put down it. Fat and Grease should NEVER be put down your garbage disposal. It can build up in pipes and cause drain blockages.  If you need to dispose of grease please dispose of in a metal can or jar and dispose in the trash, spaghetti jars work great! 

Other garbage disposal don’ts includes

Coffee Grounds, bones, fruit pits/cores, eggshells, or rice/pasta.  Don’t turn off the disposer until grinding is completed and only the sound of motor and water is heard.  For your disposal to function at its best, you should always run cold water through your disposal for 20-30 seconds before and after you grind your disposed food. 

To clean your disposal:  Fill sink halfway with warm water.  Mix ¼ cup baking soda with water.  Turn disposer on and remove stopper from sink at same to wash away loose particles.  To clean your blades, use ice cubes made out of lemon juice or vinegar.  It is also suggested to grind peelings from citrus fruits to freshen up drain smells. 

If your garbage disposal won't run you may need to reset the garbage disposal using the RED overload protector button on the bottom of the disposal located underneath your sink.  If the disposal is clogged, if it runs for a very long period of time, if it overheats, or if there is something wrong with the disposal, it will shut down automatically and need to be reset.  If the overload protector has tripped, you will see that the red button has popped out about a quarter of an inch (5mm).

To reset your garbage disposal, follow these simple instructions

  1. Make sure that the disposal switch is in the "OFF" position.
  2. Gently press the red button in to reset garbage disposal. If it does not stay in (retracted), wait ten minutes and try again. You will fid the red reset button on the bottom of the garbage disposal located underneath your sink.
  3. Turn on a cold stream of water and turn the disposal switch to “ON” position, the disposal should now run again.
  4. If the garbage disposal reset button still will not stay in, or if you have to repeatedly reset the overload protector, the disposal may require service or replacement.

When you have a jammed garbage disposal, thanks to InSinkErator here are some helpful repair tips

To begin you will need a ¼ Allen wrench or an InSinkErator tool, sold on Amazon for approximately $6.50. 

  1. Insert the wrench into the hole at the bottom of the disposal.
  2. The hole is located under the sink at the bottom of the disposal, dead center, facing the floor. Use the wrench like a crank. Work the wrench back and forth in both directions. If the wrench will not turn easily, it is OK to use some force. The wrench is designed to bend before any damage is done to the disposal.
  3. Continue working with the wrench until it turns freely in complete circles in both directions.
  4. Check the overload protector. The overload protector is located under the sink, on the bottom of the disposal, facing the floor. It is a small square red button. If the overload protector has tripped, you will see the red button dropped down about a quarter of an inch (5mm). Gently press the red button. If it does not stay up, wait ten minutes and try again.
  5. Check inside disposal's grinding chamber. Look down into the disposal using a flashlight. Do not place your hand into the disposal. Pay special attention to the area around the outer edge of the disposal's shredding disk where you see the little teeth. If you see anything in the disposal, remove it using tongs or pliers.
  6. Turn on the water, then the disposal. The disposal should now run. If it jams again, use the wrench again. You may need to repeat the process several times.


For further information and a brief tutorial video please visit InSinkErator support at: