Do garbage disposals have a reset button?

One of the most stressful things that can occur in the kitchen is a broken or malfunctioning garbage disposal. If your garbage disposal has suddenly stopped working and you have no clue why, you may have to reset it. This raises the question, do garbage disposals have a reset button?

Yes, most garbage disposals have a reset button. These buttons are usually located on the bottom of your disposal and only appear when you have tripped up the disposal in one way or another. Reset buttons signal that the disposal has shut itself off to protect itself from damage.

If you have triggered your reset button and don’t know why or how to use it, don’t fret; we have all the answers you’re looking for.

The Reset Button

Like I said earlier, most garbage disposals have a reset button. This button can usually be found on the bottom of your garbage disposal machine.

Many people never notice that their disposal has a reset button because they don’t trigger it. If you have triggered it, your disposal will no longer be working.

The overall reason your garbage disposal stops working and your reset buttons pop out is to preserve the garbage disposal from damage.

Reset buttons can be triggered by multiple things such as the disposal being extremely clogged, the disposal overheating, or a motor malfunction.

If your disposal kept running on any of these things it would surely be damaged in ways that shorten its lifespan, decrease its overall function, and devalue the machine.

Once the garbage disposal senses that it may incur damage if it keeps going, it shuts itself off and the reset button pops out to let you know what happened.

How To Reset Your Disposal

Though a sudden halt to the function of your garbage disposal is a bit alarming, it is an easy fix if it is a reset button issue.

As we talked about earlier, there are a few common reasons for your garbage disposal to shut off and pop out its reset button. Each of these reasons also warrants a unique way to fix your garbage disposal so the reset button stays put away.

Clogged Disposal

The most likely cause of your garbage disposal turning itself off and offering you the reset button is a clogged disposal or blocked blade.

Before you can press the reset button and have your disposal back in tip-top shape, you should check out the inside.

To do this, get a flashlight and look into your garbage disposal. If you spot any food that is lodged into the blades or if there is too much food in the disposal to even see the blades, you have found your problem.

Needle-nose pliers and/or a spoon will be the best remedy herein.

Using either needle-nose pliers or a spoon, grab out any food that is covering the blades or that is lodged in between them. Be sure that your bare hands never touch the blades, as an electronic malfunction is always a possibility.

Once you’ve scooped and picked out as much food as you are able, turn your faucet onto cold and pour water down the drain. The water should easily slide down the drain.

If you’ve made it to this point with success, open the doors under your sink and find the reset button on the bottom of your garbage disposal.

Press this button to restore power to your garbage disposal, then try to use your disposal.

At this point, your garbage disposal should be working like usual, but if it isn’t, look at our other suggestions for help fixing this issue before you call a plumber.

Overheated Motor

Another common cause of a reset button trip is an overheated motor. This happens for two reasons:

  1. Your garbage disposal and/or the motor of your garbage disposal is old.
  2. You are overusing your garbage disposal.

These two issues are not anything to worry about and can be fixed easily.

If your garbage disposal and/or the motor of your garbage disposal have been used long past their estimated shelf life, they may be in need of replacement.

Over time, all material things deteriorate, and garbage disposals are no different.

If you suspect this is the case for you, do a quick search online to see how long your specific garbage disposal model should last.

It may be the case, and if so, all you need to do is replace your garbage disposal and it will be fine for a number of years following its replacement.

As for the second reason (overuse of your garbage disposal) you simply need to give your disposal a break.

Maybe you cooked a meal with a lot of scraps, did loads of dishes by hand, or put leftovers into your disposal.

Any of these situations are ample cause for your disposal to be worn out, so it is best that you let it rest and cool down for at least 15 minutes before you use it again.

After these 15 minutes, feel free to press the reset button on the bottom of your garbage disposal and continue normal use.

Motor Malfunction

The last common cause of a reset button trip is a motor malfunction, specifically, the malfunction of a garbage disposal part called the flywheel.

When the flywheel is jammed, it may sound like your garbage disposal motor is running, but nothing will be visibly working.

This often causes the reset button to be tripped as further power to the motor will damage it.

If this is the issue you are facing, all you need is the wrench that came with your disposal or a normal Allen wrench.

Take this wrench and look at the bottom of your garbage disposal. There should be a small hole in the middle of your disposal where this wrench will fit.

Once you have found the axel hole, insert your wrench and turn it clockwise to return function to the flywheel.

After the flywheel feels as if it can spin without your assistance, press the reset button and attempt to use your garbage disposal again.

If this was the issue, it should be functioning as per usual.

Preventing A Reset Trip

Once you’ve had one garbage disposal trip, you don’t want another one. Finding and remedying the issue takes time that not many people have when washing dishes or cooking a meal, so taking preventative measures is the best option.

A few ways you can try to prevent a future reset trip are:

  • Check how old your garbage disposal is, and if it is older than it should be, replace the unit, the motor, or both!
  • Be wary of what you put in your disposal and how much food you put in your garbage disposal. Doing this will ensure a debris-free disposal.
  • Make sure to clean your garbage disposal at least every other week. You can do this by using baking soda and vinegar, dish soap, or ice and salt. After you clean your garbage disposal, put a few citrus rinds down the drain and grind them up to give your disposal a fresh, clean smell.

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