Unjamb Your Garbage Disposal

Introduction: Unjamb Your Garbage Disposal

About: Retired Tool Maker ( 1980 ) Retired Mechanical Engineer ( 2009 ) Full time Tinkerer

So I pushed the button for the Garbage Disposal and nothing!

Safety first! Unplug your Disposal before you start working on it!

I thought the "S" wrench that came with the unit would free it as usual. I used the wrench in the hole in the center of the bottom. But to no avail. It was SOLID, wouldn't budge in either direction. So I poured vegetable oil in it and let it soak, for a month! It still wouldn't budge and I was afraid I would break the Disposal off the sink!

Step 1: Use a Stronger Tool!

I knew the wrench was a 1/4" hex wrench, and my Impact Driver was also a 1/4" drive.

Step 2: Success!

So I found a straight 1/4" hex bit. I put the three together and held it under the Disposal. Four tries, two clockwise and two counter clockwise and the Disposal started to spin! It was free and it only took seconds. I plugged it back in and the motor would spin it too.So please be safe and don't put your hand anywhere near the blade with this thing plugged in! Hope this helps you get free. Carl.

Step 3: Follow Up Report

Hi Gang:

I found out why the disposal locked up in the first place. Yesterday morning it starting leaking through the motor section. I was worried that the impact driver had broken something, so I took the disposal apart to see where the leak was.

What I found was the steel plate that separates the grinder from the motor was rusting out. It had been dripping just enough to rust the armature to the motor field. So the rust was the root cause of the jamb. The rust spot was now a 2mm hole and beyond repair..

So the impact driver had not caused the leak, and the new disposal is now in place.

Be safe out there. Carl.

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    5 months ago

    There's also often a reset button or switch that'll need to be pushed/flipped after doing this, as when it jams it often trips the safety cutoff.


    Reply 5 months ago

    Hello Larry:
    Thanks for mentioning the reset button. I could still hear the winding buzz when I tried the disposal, so I knew it was still getting electricity. I guess the biggest upgrade I made was putting grounded plugs between the disposal and the control switch. So now I can wire a replacement disposal at the work bench and not under the sink! Take care and be safe, Carl.


    3 years ago

    Thank you for this post. There're times when this does not work. For example, some of the builders grade, low end disposals do not have the hex feature. Time to improvise!Get a very heavy long angle wooden spoon, or anything with a ling shaft, 12-16", shove it down into the disposal so int is against the inside disk that turns, and start trying to rotate it in any direction. Often there is something lodged and it can be broken free. Iv'e also used a wooden broom handle with success! Cheers!