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Plumber Installing Garbage Disposal

How to Use a Garbage Disposal Reset Button

June 7, 2024

Garbage disposals are incredibly handy appliances that make kitchen cleanup a breeze. However, they can occasionally run into issues that require a reset. If your garbage disposal suddenly stops working, there’s a good chance that you simply need to use the reset button. This guide will walk you through the steps on how to reset your garbage disposal, troubleshoot common problems, and ensure that your disposal is running smoothly once again.

Understanding the Garbage Disposal Reset Button

The garbage disposal reset button is a safety feature designed to prevent the disposal from overheating or experiencing electrical issues. When the disposal becomes overloaded or jammed, the reset button pops out, cutting off power to the unit. This prevents further damage and allows you to safely address the issue.

Steps to Reset Your Garbage Disposal

First and foremost, ensure that the power to your garbage disposal is turned off. This can be done by unplugging the unit or switching off the circuit breaker that supplies power to the disposal. This step is crucial for your safety.

Next, locate the reset button on your garbage disposal. Typically, the reset button is found on the bottom of the unit and is usually a red or black button. If you’re unsure where to find it, refer to your disposal’s manual or look for a diagram online.

Once you’ve located the reset button, press it firmly. You should feel it click into place. This action resets the internal circuit breaker of the disposal. Before turning the power back on, inspect the disposal for any blockages. Use a flashlight to look inside the disposal and remove any visible obstructions with pliers or tongs. Never use your hands to reach inside the disposal.

After ensuring that the disposal is clear of any blockages, restore power by plugging the unit back in or turning on the circuit breaker. Turn on the faucet and switch on the garbage disposal. It should now be functioning properly. If the disposal still doesn’t work, you may need to repeat the steps or consult a professional for further assistance.

Troubleshooting Common Problems

Even after resetting your garbage disposal, you might encounter some persistent issues. For instance, if your disposal makes a humming sound but doesn’t grind, it might be jammed. Turn off the power and use a disposal wrench or an Allen wrench to manually turn the blades and dislodge any blockages. If you notice water leaking from your disposal, check the connections and seals. Tighten any loose fittings and replace damaged gaskets if necessary.

If your disposal frequently clogs, avoid putting fibrous or starchy foods down the drain. Run cold water while using the disposal to help flush debris through the pipes. These simple troubleshooting steps can often resolve common issues and restore your garbage disposal to proper working condition.

Preventative Maintenance Tips

To keep your garbage disposal in top working condition, there are several maintenance tips you can follow. Always run cold water before, during, and after using the disposal. This helps solidify any grease or fats, making it easier for the disposal to chop them up and flush them away. Never put hard items like bones, fruit pits, or coffee grounds into the disposal. These can damage the blades and cause clogs.

Periodically clean your disposal by grinding ice cubes and citrus peels. This helps remove any buildup and keeps the disposal smelling fresh. Additionally, pour a small amount of dish soap into the disposal while it’s running. This helps clean the blades and remove any grease buildup. Regular maintenance can greatly extend the life of your garbage disposal and prevent common issues from occurring.

When to Call a Professional

If you’ve followed the steps to reset your garbage disposal and it still doesn’t work, or if you’re experiencing frequent problems, it may be time to call a professional. A licensed plumber can diagnose and repair more complex issues, ensuring that your disposal is functioning safely and efficiently.


Resetting your garbage disposal is a simple process that can often resolve common issues. By understanding how to reset your garbage disposal and following the steps outlined above, you can keep your kitchen running smoothly and avoid unnecessary repairs. Remember to always exercise caution and safety when working with electrical appliances.

If you’re experiencing persistent issues with your garbage disposal or any other plumbing, electrical, or HVAC problems, don’t hesitate to contact Lickety-Split. Our team of experienced professionals is here to help with all your home maintenance needs. Reach out to us today for fast, reliable service that you can count on.

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