Having a garbage disposal in your kitchen is a handy addition to your sink. It helps clean up organic matter while also working to prevent clogs in your sink drains. However, from time to time you may notice your garbage disposal seeming weak or making strange noises. This can be due to a variety of reasons, each having their own solution.

Humming Sound

A humming sound from the garbage disposal can have a few different causes, some major and some minor. The most common reason for a humming sound is due to the blades not spinning even though the disposal is getting power.

The blades are controlled by a mechanism and small motor in the center of the drain which spins cutting impellers that break up food and other organic matter. Larger particles of food or fibrous vegetable skins can obstruct the impellers and prevent them from spinning.

In order to check for this, use a bright flashlight and shine it into the garbage disposal drain. See if you can notice any food particles stuck around the motor or impellers. If so, try boiling some water and pouring it into the disposal in order to dislodge the food particles.

Rattling Sound

A loud rattling sound when you turn on the disposal is normally due to something that cannot be broken down by the blades. This could be a bone from a chicken meal, a fruit seed or pit, or a foreign object a child dropped into the sink.

It’s also not uncommon for items such as silverware, utensils, chopsticks, or other cooking items to fall into the opening of a garbage disposal without noticing it.

Fixing the Issue

Before ever reaching into a garbage disposal to find the cause of the humming or rattling, ensure the disposal has been unplugged from all power sources. This protects your hands from any cuts, as well as potential shocks.

Instead of going through the top of the disposal unit, go under the sink and remove the canister at the bottom of the unit. This should require a hex wrench to loosen and will be relatively easy to move.

Once loose, remove the unit canister and inspect the blades for anything wrapped around it. You can also see if the blades have been broken or damaged. Removing the blades and replacing them is a relatively easy process that can be done on your own.

After you have removed excess particle buildup or replaced the damaged blades, it’s time to reconnect the disposal unit to the power. Turn the unit on as normal and listen for humming or rattling.

In the event that the sound was not fixed, or you are simply not confident enough to service your own disposal, be sure to contact a local plumber for assistance. They not only have the experience and training needed to safely maintain and repair a disposal, but also have the necessary tools and replacement parts.