How to reset a garbage disposal

Garbage disposals are useful for breaking up leftovers of food so they can go safely into the drain without clogging. If you turn on your waste disposal and nothing happens, it’s usually because of the motor got too hot during the last use and overloaded. You can solve this problem quickly by pressing the reset button during this time. Almost everyone can accomplish this task and it saves you money by not having to call a plumber that could cost hundreds for a service call.


Clear the area inside the cabinet where the bottom of your garbage disposal is located. The reset button is tiny and it can be hard to see unless you can get close to the bottom of the unit.

Turn on your flashlight and shine it on the surface of the flat bottom of the waste disposal.

Find the small reset button underneath the unit. It is usually red or green on most models, but it may be black or have written that says it’s reset button.

Press the reset button, stand up and turn on the garbage disposal wall switch. If the disposal does not light up, the machine may be stuck.

Turn off your flashlight again and look inside the hopper. This is the opening where the food passes to be crushed and disposed of. If you see all obstructions, turn off the grinder on the wall and on the electrical panel. Remove the obstacle with a pair of kitchen clamps or a folded wire hanger.

Turn on power for the waste disposal at the electrical panel again by switching the wall switch.

Press the reset button to see if the grinder is working. If this is not the case, it may be stuck with an obstruction, which you can not see. Call a plumber or consult a plumbing manual to solve it as this is a more serious problem. A clog can be much more of a pain to deal with.


Never put your hands or any other part of the body inside the hopper of your waste disposal. This can lead to catastrophic injuries. Always turn off the appliance on the wall and electrical service panel before attempting to troubleshoot a garbage disposal jam or perform any repair on other than just hitting the reset button.

Go back to the homepage and read some garbage disposal reviews.