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Help! My Garbage Disposal Is Not Spinning

putting a cucumber down the garbage disposal

Fixing a garbage disposal that does not spin is not a difficult task. In a few simple steps, you can fix your garbage disposal on your own. But before starting, you need to find the reason behind your garbage disposal not spinning. There are multiple reasons that your disposal may stop spinning, like:

  • If you have not used your garbage disposal for a couple of weeks or months, then there are good chances that corrosion might have built up inside the garbage disposal which is stopping it from spinning. In such a case, after turning on the garbage disposal you will only hear the humming sound, but your disposal will not work.
  • Something has stuck in the disposal blades and stopping it from spinning.
  • If the garbage disposal has overheated, then it will not only stop spinning but it will not even make a humming noise.
  • The garbage disposal has reached the end of its life cycle.

Steps To Fix Your Garbage Disposal

Tools Needed:

  • Hex Key
  • Vice Grip
  • Vegetable oil

Step 1 – The first thing you need to do is to check whether your garbage disposal has only stopped spinning, or it is not even humming. If it is not doing both, then your garbage disposal might have tripped because of overheating.  

Turn off the garbage disposal, get underneath it, and you will see a little red or black reset button that pops out whenever the garbage disposal trips. Press that button and your garbage disposal should start working. If it does not, then move to the next step.

persons torso and legs sticking out from under sink with tools scattered

Step 2 – Keep the garbage disposal unplugged and get underneath it once again. There you will see an outlet in the middle where you can insert a hex key. Take your hex key, insert it in the outlet, and move it back and forth. It will break up any corrosion that may have built up over time, also it will help to remove any other item that is jammed down there.

If you do not have a hex key with you, then you can either purchase it from the store or use can use a pair of pliers wrapped around a regular philips head driver that has a hexagonal shape which you can easily find in any screwdriver kit.

Step 3 – Take about a quarter cup of vegetable oil and pour it down the drain into the garbage disposal. Vegetable oil will help to loosen up the mechanism.

Once again try to unjam the disposal with a hex key and then turn it on. By now, your garbage disposal should start spinning. If it still does not, then move to the next step.

Step 4 – In some situations, the corrosion is severe, or the garbage disposal may have lots of food debris that is really stuck down there and not allowing the garbage disposal to spin.

In such cases, repeat step 2 and step 3, and this time consider using the vice grip to rotate the garbage disposal blades with the hex key. Vice grip will give you a little bit more leverage by providing you with extra torque or power to break up the corrosion.

A pair of vice grips on a white background

After completing all the steps, probably your garbage disposal should start spinning. If still, it does not spin, then either your garbage disposal has reached the end of its life cycle or there are some major problems for which you will need to call a plumber or an electrician.

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