A garbage disposal is a modern convenience that helps to reduce the size and texture of food scraps so that they can be easily disposed of through your plumbing system. Working disposal can help you save time and money while lowering your environmental impact in addition to the added convenience it provides. There are a few solutions that can help restore the performance and efficiency of your garbage disposal if it is humming but not spinning, jammed, or not working. Continue reading to learn how to fix a garbage disposal that is humming but not spinning, that is jammed, or that is not working.

Garbage Disposal Humming But Not Working

Your garbage disposal is probably humming and not working. A humming garbage disposal can be extremely inconvenient, especially if you are unaware of the source of the noise. It could also indicate that something is wrong with or jammed up in your garburator system.

But don’t be concerned! We’ll go over the most common causes of your garbage disposal humming but not working in this section, as well as how to fix it. So let’s get started.

Main Reasons Why Your Garbage Disposal is Humming But not Working

Humming garbage disposal is typically the result of one of four factors: a foreign object caught in the blades, a faulty motor, a misaligned drain, or a clogged drain. Let’s look more closely at each of these causes and how to address them.

#1. Foreign Object Caught in Blades

If your garbage disposal is making a humming noise but isn’t spinning, something may be stuck in the blades. This could be due to a variety of factors, including silverware, plastic bags, or food scraps.

If you suspect that something is causing your garbage disposal blades to become stuck, unplug them and examine them with a flashlight. If you see something caught in the blades, try using a wooden spoon or other blunt objects to dislodge it.

The blades of a garbage disposal can be very sharp, so be careful not to put your hand in there. You can also use an Allen wrench to pry the object loose. Insert the wrench into the bottom hole at the bottom of the garburator.

Twist the wrench back and forth until the object comes loose. If you are unable to remove the object using these methods, you may need to contact a professional.

#2. Motor Malfunction

If your garbage disposal is humming but not working, the motor is most likely to blame. This is due to a variety of factors, including how long you’ve been using the system, misuse, or improper installation.

You can try to reset the motor if you suspect it is faulty by turning off the disposal, unplugging it, and waiting a few minutes. Then reconnect it and turn it on. If the motor is still not working, you may need to replace it.

#3. Clogged Drain

If your garbage disposal is humming and all other possibilities have been ruled out, the drain may be clogged. This is due to a variety of factors, including food, grease, soap scum, and toothpaste.

If you believe your drain is clogged, use a plunger or a plumbing snake to clear it. You can also try pouring boiling water down the drain to clear it. If the clog is severe enough, you can remove the drain pipe and clean it out.

If your garbage disposal is still humming after trying all of the above, it’s time to call a plumber.

How to Fix a Garbage Disposal Humming

When the switch is flipped and the disposal starts humming, it’s one of the most common garbage disposal problems. The good news is that this is typically a simple fix. In fact, in most cases, the problem can be resolved in a matter of seconds.

Step 1:

Turn off your garbage disposal. We can’t emphasize this enough: a jammed garbage disposal needs to be turned off as soon as possible because if you leave it on with the jam in place, the motor will be on but unable to spin. This can easily result in overheating and burnout of the motor, resulting in disposal damage. Turn your disposal off right away if you hear it humming or buzzing.

Step 2:

Discover the source of the garbage disposal’s hum or buzz. In most cases, the humming noise is caused by the garbage disposal blades becoming stuck because something has fallen into the disposal and jammed them.
Remove the rubber splash guard and shine a flashlight down the kitchen sink into the garbage disposal while the disposal is turned off (unplug the unit if possible or ensure the power switch is turned off).

Examine the disposal to see if anything obvious is jamming it. Remove any foreign objects with long-nose pliers, tongs, or even a fork. You can now reset and restart your garbage disposal, and it should function normally if you found something and removed it. As you restart the disposal unit, make sure to turn on the cold water to flush away any debris that has remained on the blades.

Step 3:

If you were unable to locate anything obvious jamming the blades in the garbage disposal’s grinding chamber, you will need to locate the Allen key or wrench that came with the disposal. This will be the only tool you need to unjam your disposal; it should resemble the image below. If you’ve misplaced your Allen key, a 14-inch (6.4-mm) key will suffice, or you can easily order a replacement.

Step 4:

Open the sink cabinet doors after you’ve located the Allen key and insert the Allen wrench into the Allen wrench hole/hex socket. The base or bottom of the garbage disposal is typically where this is located.

Step 5:

Turn the wrench clockwise and counterclockwise while holding the Allen key. To free the flywheel and the rotating blades inside, you may need to use some force. You have dislodged whatever was causing the jam when the wrench can turn freely in a full circle.

Press the red reset switch on the garbage disposal after ensuring that the Allen key can rotate in a full circle in both directions. The disposal should now spin normally after being plugged back in. Before running the disposal again, make sure to turn on the cold water in the kitchen sink. This will ensure that any leftover debris is removed from the disposal. To ensure proper operation, keep the water on and the garbage disposal running for 30 seconds.

Garbage Disposal Humming But Not Spinning

If the garbage disposal does not engage but makes a humming noise when turned on, the inner flywheel is probably jammed or the motor bearing has failed. When this happens, the breaker may trip or the reset button may pop out, but you must turn off the unit immediately to prevent further damage. To avoid injury, turn off the power to the unit at the breaker and wall switch before attempting to free the flywheel using any of the methods listed below:

  • Insert the offset wrench that was included with the disposal into the flywheel turning hole at the unit’s base.
  • Turn the wrench clockwise until you can freely turn the flywheel.
  • Alternatively, insert the handle of a wooden spoon into the drain opening and attempt to dislodge the flywheel.
  • Shine a bright light into the drain opening to see if any debris, such as a bone, has caused a blockage, and remove the object with tongs or pliers.
  • After the problem has been resolved, flip the breaker and push the reset button at the disposal’s base before turning it on.

Garbage Disposal Humming But Not Jammed

If nothing is jammed or your garbage disposal is still humming, you might try manually rotating the grinding plate. Grease and other substances can cause the grinding plate to become stuck over time.

Equip yourself with an Allen wrench to solve this problem. When you first bought your garbage disposal, you should use the Allen wrench that came with it. Otherwise, inspect the breaker socket on the bottom to determine its size and equip yourself with the appropriate tool. A 1/4-inch Allen wrench is usually required. Once you have the proper Allen wrench:

  • Place the wrench on the bolt’s head.
  • Firmly and steadily turn the bold back and forth. The grinding plate is rotated manually by this.
  • Remove the loose debris from the garbage disposal’s stomach using a pair of tongs.
  • Run a test through your garbage disposal. Turn on the power and give it a shot. If your unit continues to hum, repeat the procedure.
  • After your garbage disposal has stopped humming, run hot water through it for a few seconds to help clean it.

It’s important to note that you’ll need to use something else to get the grinding plate to spin if your garbage disposal lacks a bolt on the bottom. You can use the end of a broom, a long stick, or a slim pole of some kind. To accomplish this, insert your tool into the disposer chamber and force it to move.

Garbage Disposal Safety Tips

One of the best ways to keep the garbage disposal humming is to take proper care of it. It’s important to avoid adding hot grease, oil, coffee grounds, seeds, stringy fruit, fibrous vegetables, and hard shells to the disposal because you should only put items that the unit can handle in there.

When using the garbage disposal, you should also always use cold water. This helps to solidify fatty foods, allowing the blades to cut through food scraps without becoming clogged with partially melted grease and fats.

Never put your hand or fingers in the garbage disposal, regardless of the issue. Before attempting to clear a clog or remove a physical obstruction, always turn off the power to the unit, and never use a chemical cleaner to clear a clog in a garbage disposal. These cleaners are not only harmful to your plumbing system, but they may not be able to remove the clog immediately. The chemicals instead accumulate in the disposal and may be released when the unit is turned on.

Why is my garbage disposal humming not spinning?

Clogged Motor

If your garbage disposal hums but doesn’t turn, you know it’s getting power, but it’s just not working properly. When you experience such symptoms, it is often due to a clog or jam in the motor.

What causes garbage disposal to make a humming noise?

An object in the drain that has jammed the blades is likely the cause of the humming garbage disposal. When the blades are jammed, they cannot rotate.

How do I reset a garbage disposal?

Find the reset button on the bottom of the garbage disposal after the power has been turned off. Push it in until you hear or feel it click. Your garbage disposal can then be powered back on and tested to see if it works.

How do you manually spin a garbage disposal?

Using the wrench, turn the disposal’s motor shaft counterclockwise, then clockwise, until the obstruction is removed and the motor shaft spins freely. It’s fine to use some force when turning the wrench; just make sure to keep the disposal unit supported while you do so.


There are a few potential reasons why your garbage disposal may be humming but not spinning, jammed, or not working. Checking for foreign objects in the blades, resetting the motor, clearing the drain, and cleaning the disposal are all steps you can take to troubleshoot the issue on your own.

However, if you find these methods too difficult or want to fix them as soon as possible, you can hire a plumber. They will inspect the disposal and resolve the issue as soon as possible.


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