How to Fix a Humming Garbage Disposal

How to fix a humming garbage disposal

Is your garbage disposal humming? Maybe it’s humming instead of running – or it’s humming even though it’s not jammed?

Don’t worry. This is a common occurrence that happens when you use a garbage disposal. Chances are you’re just facing a serious clog. And your blades just need a little bit of help clearing up the jam.

Why is your garbage disposal humming? How do you fix this issue? How can you stop your garbage disposal from humming?

Read through this article and we’ll help you identify what’s causing the humming. After you figure that out, there’s a few straightforward steps you can take to fix the garbage disposal your own.

Why Is My Garbage Disposal Humming?

The annoying humming sound that sometimes happens when you run your garbage disposal is usually caused by one or of the following reasons:

– An unintended “foreign object” is stuck inside the garbage disposal. If the blades are unable to spin freely, the motor may be running fruitlessly and causing the “humming” noise. A visual spot-check will identify if this is the issue. If you do find something caught up in the disposal by mistake, remove it with caution. Unplug your garbage disposal. Use a pair of tongs of another tool to remove the offending material. Do not stick your hands directly down the drain or into the garbage disposal.

– The disposal is jammed with excess food waste. This sometimes happens after continual or heavy use. The simple fix here is to locate the breaker socket (or “jam buster”) and insert the appropriate tool (usually a hex wrench or Allen key) and give it a few turns. These cranks will break up most jams in the unit’s blades. And these clogs and jams are what usually cause the humming noise.

Learn more on Garbage Disposal Do’s and Don’ts


How To Fix Garbage Disposal Humming?

Before trying to fix the humming sound your garbage disposal is making, make sure you have these materials.


– A flashlight
– A pair of kitchen tongs
– A hex wrench, Allen key, and/or appropriate tool for your disposer
– Water
– Ice
– Electricity to power the unit

Here are the steps that you can take to diagnose and fix the humming problem you’re having with your garbage disposal. Feel free to watch this video to see these steps put into action. If this instruction is too difficult for you or you want to get it fix by a professional, you can look for a local repair service provider.

Step-by-Step Instructions

1. Check the disposal with a flashlight. Shine the light right down the drain. Look for any obvious blockage from food waste or other materials (silverware, bottle caps, etc.) If you identify any such obstacles, unplug your garbage disposal, and use your kitchen tongs to remove the jam.

2. Stand clear of the garbage disposal and turn it on. The sound of humming is generally an indication that something is binding the system’s components and keeping the blades from whirling.

3. Check the circuit breaker on your disposal. Insure that you have proper power running to the unit. The breaker is usually located on the bottom of the disposer and is operated by the push of a button. Furthermore, check that if the outlet your disposal is plugged into is a GFCI outlet. If so, make sure the breaker on the outlet isn’t tripped.

NOTE on Step 3: Some garbage disposals label the breaker function as a “reset button.” If you have such a garbage disposal, consider your “reset button” to be the same as the circuit breaker “button” defined above. Learn more about how to reset a garbage disposal.

** Safety Warning** If you need to perform any of the following steps to fix your garbage disposal, be sure to unplug the unit from its power source first. Doing so will reduce risk of accidental injury or electrocution.

4. Locate the breaker socket on the bottom of your garbage disposal. This is different from the circuit breaker “button” mentioned in step three. This is an input that receives an Allen Key or hex wrench tool. Take the appropriate tool, insert it in the breaker socket, and twist. If the Allen Key rotates no problem, then chances are you’ve broken up the blockage that was caught in the blades.

5. Clear yourself and your tools from the garbage disposal, make sure that it’s still powered, and turn the unit back on. Run water through the system to flush out any remaining waste that could have blocked the blades. You can also run ice cubes through the disposal to make sure it is totally clean and running correctly.

6. If the humming persists or the unit still isn’t working correctly, you may need to temporarily uninstall the unit. There may be a buildup of waste or “gunk” that needs to be manually scraped out or flushed. If you think you need to completely uninstall your unit, consult the garbage disposal manufacturer’s instruction manual.

7. If after uninstalling, cleaning, and reinstalling the unit, the garbage disposal still hums of fails to function, then your device may have reached the end of it’s life cycle. If that’s the case, you can replace your garbage disposals with one of our product recommendations.

To prevent this problem from reoccurring, you need to frequently clean your garbage disposal. Cleaning it also get rid of the smell and make it work in good condition for years to come.

2 responses to “How to Fix a Humming Garbage Disposal

  1. […] Find out more about what to do when your garbage disposal is humming. […]

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