Garbage Disposal Won’t Turn Off? (Reasons & Solutions)

By - Ron Singh

Updated -

Garbage disposals play a crucial role in recycling and preventing food waste. But as much as they have become a must-have, a continuously running garbage disposal can sometimes be perturbing.

The commotion alone will make you want to get rid of the disposal but don’t. Not to worry, this article will throw more insights into why your garbage disposal won’t turn off.

The most likely reason for the malfunction is a connection with the wrong dual outlet receptacle. A dual outlet usually has two sides; one has a switch while the other does not and is constantly running. So, conceding that the garbage disposal connects with the receptacle without a switch, it’ll run continuously. But besides that, a faulty switch may be the issue.

Garbage Disposal Won’t Turn Off After Reset

Garbage Disposal Won't Turn Off

On common grounds, resetting malfunctioning garbage disposals should make them go back to normal.

But things can sometimes go wrong, and nothing changes even with a reset. Inspect the connected outlet if you reset your continuously running garbage disposal, and it doesn’t turn off.

You may be connecting the garbage disposal to the wrong one. You should also check the start switch, examine the wire, and adequately examine the reset button.

#1. Inspect the Connected Outlet

To your knowledge, there are usually two receptacle sides on a dual outlet. One utilizes a switch while the other does not; power continuously flows since there’s no control.

So you may have unknowingly plugged the garbage disposal into the receptacle without a switch. Consequently, power will flow to the garbage disposal unit until you detach it.

If the wrong outlet or receptacle is the problem, resolve the issue by detaching the garble disposal from the current receptacle.

Then fix it in the other one. Alternatively, you can use a voltage meter to determine which uses a switch and which doesn’t.

A receptacle that uses a switch permits you to switch the garbage disposal off or on.

#2. Check the Start Switch

Another thing you do after the resetting is to examine the start switch if it’s present. Batch feed garble disposals usually come with start switches; in any situation that they’re loose, malfunctioning will result.

The malfunction occurs so that the garbage disposal unit will not respond to the switch. Thus even when you turn off the start switch, the system will keep running.

To resolve these issues, remove the start switch from the garbage disposal; test its efficiency using a multimeter. You can also open it and use a brush or fabric piece to clean it.

#3. Properly Examine the Reset Button

Nowadays, garbage disposals come with reset buttons; if yours comes with one, examine it. You shouldn’t just imagine that the fault would be a systematic one.

For example, there was a time my garbage disposal was misbehaving, so I decided to perform a reset using the reset button; I tried activating the reset button.

It seemed like there was a fault internally, but there was no fault. Then, unconsciously, I checked the reset button, and I found that it was not very correct.

So your case may not be so different; you may think you’ve reset the disposal, but no, you didn’t.

Examine the reset button very well; see if it’s a problem. In any case that it is, make a replacement.

#4. Check The Micro Switch

Garbage disposal micro switches work in a way that they instruct the garbage disposal system to shut off.

So if they get spoilt, they’ll have no command. That’s why the system will still run even when you reset the garbage disposal.

The significant cause of malfunctioning micro switches is debris. Thus always ensure there are no specks of dirt. But in most cases, replacement is the best option.

Garbage Disposal Won’t Turn Off When Plugged In

Your garbage disposal will not turn on when you plug it in because there’s a continuous flow of power.

And some cases, even though you turn off the power on the outlet, the disposal will still keep running.

Such scenarios occur with dual outlets; all you need to do is use the other receptacle on the dual outlet.

Dual outlets typically contain two receptacles; one is regulated with a switch while the other is not.

Thus, plugging your garbage disposal in the receptacle without a control switch means power will flow without stopping.

A straightforward way to resolve such an issue is detaching the disposal from the receptacle that doesn’t use a control switch.

Then, connect it to the one that works with a control switch. But there’s also a trick for you if you don’t know the control switch receptacle.

Just get a voltage meter; connect it to the first receptacle. Thereupon, toggle the switch, and see if the current flow on the voltage meter is interrupted.

And In any case that the current flow remains constant irrespective of the toggling, know that the connected outlet doesn’t operate using the control switch. 

Thus, it would be best to go for the other one that operates with the control switch. When you insert the voltmeter into the control switch receptacle and toggle the switch, the interruption of current will reflect on the voltmeter.

Additionally, when it comes to problems relating to garbage disposals not turning off, you should also examine the circuit breaker.

Shorts in circuit breakers can make garbage disposals run continuously. But sometimes, not just circuit breaker shorts may be the problem, so replacing the circuit breaker is the best option in a few scenarios.

Garbage Disposal Won’t Turn On Humming Sound

If you have problems with your garbage disposal- it won’t turn but produces a humming sound, an obstruction in the motor is most likely the culprit.

Usually, there’ll be a sufficient power supply to the garbage disposal, but the motor setups won’t spin. In such scenarios, foreign objects or bits of food are stuck inside.

You can resolve the issue and get the garbage disposal to work well by removing the obstructions. To do this, first get an Allen wrench.

Usually, garbage disposals come equipped with Allen wrenches, so you should check for yours.

But in any case that it’s absent, get a new one. The standard Allen wrench size is ¼ inches. But still, for more efficiency, measure the breaker socket and get its accurate wrench size.

After getting the Allen wrench, follow the procedures below.

#1. Step 1

Disconnect the garbage disposal from the mains and ensure no current flow. Likewise, cut the circuit breaker.

#2. Step 2

Under the garbage disposal unit, you’ll see a hex socket. Affix the Allen wrench in the hex socket. Then, turn the wrench in a to and fro direction. And as you turn it, the jamming objects will start loosening gradually.

#3. Step 3

Using a torch light, clearly look inside the disposal if you can sight the obstructions. If you sight them, eliminate them using a pair of tongs.

#4. Step 4

Reconnect power to the garbage disposal unit. It’ll undoubtedly operate as it should. But you’ll have to check other components or reset the garbage disposal unit instead if it doesn’t.

Besides an obstruction in the motor set up, another reason for the garbage disposal humming but not turning on is a malfunctioning motor.

Yes, it may be that the motor setup is faulty, and in such cases, I advise you to contact a professional.

As a guide, avoid putting certain foods into the disposal to prevent jamming up scenarios in the motor setup. Avoid the following.

#5. Bones

You should keep away from bones because they decrease the effectiveness of the blades. In addition, they make grinding difficult; apart from that, jamming can result in the process.

#6. Eggshells

Similar to the situation of bones, egg shells can cause blunt blades. Not just blunt blades, but obstructions and blockages, especially in smaller bits.

#7. Greasy substances(foodstuffs)

Just like bones and shells, greasy substances don’t only reduce the effectiveness of blades but also make their movement very slow.

So at first, they may not pose any adverse effects. But when they build up for a long time, the impact becomes worse.

Garbage Disposal Won’t Turn On After Glass

If you’re experiencing problems with your garbage disposal not turning on after some piece of glass entered inside, suspect a hindrance in the impeller.

It’s most likely that the glass piece is preventing the impeller and motor setup from functioning as they should. In such cases, you may need to remove the glass piece causing the jam in the unit.

To begin, prepare a ¼-inch Allen wrench and hand gloves; follow the procedures below.

#1. Procedure 1

Disconnect the garbage disposal from the mains; there should be no means of current flow. This action will protect you from unnecessary shocks or injuries that may occur.

#2. Procedure 2

Using a pair of kitchen tongs, eliminate the large glass pieces(if it applies in your case). But be sure not to use your hands, it’s dangerous.

Conceding that you can’t get a pair of kitchen tongs, alternatively, use a needle nose plier.

#3. Procedure 3

Position the Allen wrench on the hex socket at the bottom of the garbage disposal; move it to and fro direction-wise.

The bolt is connected to the motor setup; the glass obstruction will loosen as you move the hex socket. Subsequently, the little glass pieces will drop down.

#4. Procedure 4

Reconnect the disposal back to the mains. It should work now, but you may need to perform a garbage disposal reset if it doesn’t. Thus, go to the underside of the disposal, and activate it.

#5. Procedure 5

Flush the disposal system with cold water; let it flow down the unit so any leftover particles will varnish.

As a precautionary measure while carrying out this process, avoid taking your face close to the disposal. The glass particles can mistakenly gush out of the unit.

How Do You Fix a Garbage Disposal That Won’t Turn Off?

Many things come into play, especially when fixing garbage disposals that have refused to turn off.

The first thing to do when you discover that your garbage disposal is continuously running is to check the power supply

Sometimes, you may forget that the disposal is connected to the mains. So ensure there’s no power supply first.

Also, It will help if you inspect the outlet to ensure that it isn’t a dual one. But if the outlet is dual, ensure that the disposal’s receptacle connects with the control switch.

But aside from continuous power supply, other issues can cause the not turning off malfunction.

Let’s look at some of them and the possible solutions.

A malfunctioning circuit breakerReset the circuit breaker panel 
A faulty circuit breakerPossible replacement
Faulty wiring in the garbage disposalProperly inspect the wiring and make replacements where applicable.
A malfunctioning micro switchExamine the micro switch and clean it; if it needs retrofitting, don’t hesitate.
A malfunctioning reset buttonInspect the reset button and see if there’s an obstruction. If there is, eliminate it. Make replacements in applicable scenarios.

What Happens When Your Garbage Disposal Reset Button Doesn’t Work?

If your garbage disposal reset button doesn’t work, it’s most likely there’s a jam in the blades.

And to solve the issue, use an Allen wrench to twist the hex socket in a two and fro direction. Also, get a torch light and look into disposal if you see any obstruction.

A needle plier can be of help if you find any obstruction. But as you attempt to remove any obstruction, ensure that the reset button isn’t clogged or dysfunctional.

What to Do When Your Garbage Disposal doesn’t Turn On?

The first thing to do when your garbage disposal doesn’t turn on is to check if there’s a sufficient power supply.

If there is, you may want to investigate for other possible reasons, but if there isn’t, make provision.

You should also check for electrical wiring or fault and inspect for broken components.

#1. Check For Electrical Wiring Or Fault

Apart from ensuring there’s a power supply, another thing you should do is inspect the unit for any spoilt wires. Also, make sure that there are no blown circuits.

#2. Inspect For Broken Components

If any component is faulty, it’ll affect the unit, and as a result, the garbage disposal might refuse to turn on.

So when you experience such not turning on scenarios, it’s always good to inspect all the disposal parts and ensure they’re alright.


Garbage disposals are appliances that grind up food scraps and other items and then force the waste through a pipe to the sewer or septic system.

The most likely reason your garbage disposal keeps running and won’t turn off is a connection with the wrong dual outlet receptacle. 


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