Fixing a Jammed Garbage Disposal

When you have a jammed garbage disposal, we're here with repair tips.

Watch & Learn

This 1-minute video shows you how to fix and repair a garbage disposal that's jammed, humming, stuck, or has stopped working.

Written Directions

Every InSinkErator is shipped with a self-service wrench. The wrench is silver colored, and shaped like a little crank, about four inches long. If you cannot find the wrench, you can use a standard 1/4-inch Allen wrench, or click here to order a replacement.

Materials Needed

Jam Buster Wrench
Tongs or Pliers



  • Make certain that the garbage disposal's switch is in the off position. Do not place your hand in the garbage disposal at any time.
  • If the sink is full of water, wait for it to drain, or bail the water out using a bucket or pot.

1. Insert the wrench into the hole at the bottom of the garbage disposal.

The hole is located under the sink at the bottom of the garbage disposal, dead center, facing the floor. Use the wrench like a crank.


2. 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 garbage disposal.

3. Continue working with the wrench.

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 garbage 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 garbage disposal's grinding chamber.

Look down into the garbage disposal using a flashlight. Do not place your hand into the garbage disposal. Pay special attention to the area around the outer edge of the garbage disposal's shredding disk where you see the little teeth. If you see anything in the garbage disposal, remove it using tongs or pliers.

6. Turn on the water, then the garbage disposal.

The garbage disposal should now run. If it jams again, use the wrench again. You may need to repeat the process several times.

Still Not Working?

Text us at 262-233-2231 for more help! If the garbage disposal continues to jam, it may need service. If the problem with your garbage disposal is due to a quality issue, InSinkErator ma​y pay to have an authorized service center service the garbage disposal in your home at no charge to you.

Tips For Success

  • Run garbage disposal along with a moderate flow of cold water. Continue to run cold water for a few seconds after grinding is complete.
  • Avoid using hot water when grinding food waste. It is OK to drain hot water into the garbage disposal between grinding periods.
  • Never pour grease or fat into your garbage disposal or drain.

Was this answer helpful?

Need additional help? Contact Us