Informational Guide

InSinkErator Badger Garbage Disposal Not Working

Is your Badger garbage disposal not working? In this guide, we show you how to troubleshoot & reset an InSinkErator Badger 5 disposal.

by Holly Curell

Garbage disposals are essential to modern life, and once you have one, you really see the value they bring. There are many different garbage disposals out there, but InSinkErator is the oldest and continues to be one of the best. In fact, the InSinkErator Badger 5 is one of the most popular units on the market.

The InSinkErator Badger range is regarded as one of the most effective, efficient, and good value garbage disposals out there, but what do you do if your Badger garbage disposal stops working? In this guide, we'll help explain why your badger garbage disposal isn't working and take you through the steps of how to fix some of the common problems. 

Is your InSinkErator Badger garbage disposal not working? There are a lot of issues that can crop up, and before we consider the solutions, we need to understand the problem itself. Thankfully, there are a lot of commonalities, so we've given a breakdown of the issues you're most likely to face with the InSinkErator Badger range: 

InSinkErator Badger Not Working

There’s nothing more frustrating than when your garbage disposal just won’t turn on anymore. There are 4 common reasons for this occurring:  

  • Issues With The Start Switch 
    Your start switch can become defective over time, just from standard wear and tear. This will stop you from being able to activate the unit and prevent it from running completely. To test whether this is the problem, you'll need to use a multimeter to see if the electricity flows through it (sometimes called testing for continuity). If there is no continuity, then you’ll need to replace the switch.  
  • Power Source 
    You’ll need to check the power source itself to see if that’s preventing the disposal from turning on. Check your wall plug by connecting a different device and see if that works. If not, then you’ll need to have the wall plug repaired or connect the garbage disposal somewhere else. Remember, don’t try to undertake major electrical work yourself as this may be dangerous. Leave this to the professionals. 
  • Safety Switch 
    If your safety switch is tripped, then it will stop your garbage disposal from turning on. This is usually triggered when there's a clog in the machine to prevent your motor from overheating. You can check your device to see if there's a blockage and then use the reset button on the base of the unit to get it working again.  
  • Worn Out Motor 
    Your disposer motor can't be replaced if it's broken, so if it's defective, you’ll need to replace the whole unit. Check to see if there’s any visible damage to the device which might stop it from turning on. 

InSinkErator Badger Stopper Switch Won't Shut Off/Turn On 

If your start/stop switch isn't working, then it usually means it's shorted.

You'll first need to check if there's any electricity flowing to the switch using a multimeter, and if there isn't, it's shorted, and you'll need to replace the switch before you can use the disposal again. 

insinkerator badger 5 garbage disposal

InSinkErator Badger Hums But Doesn't Work  

Many people have experienced a situation where their garbage disposal will hum but won't work correctly. There are 2 main causes of this issue:  

  • Jammed Plate  
    You'll be able to see if the shredding plate within the garbage disposal is jammed. If it is, you will need to lift off the bottom housing of the disposal and insert an Allen wrench into the unit. Wiggle this back and forth until the blockage is removed and the plate can spin again. If your garbage disposal doesn't have an opening in the bottom, then you'll need to insert a broom handle down the sink and wiggle it around to remove the blockage.  
  • Broken Motor  
    Your motor may have broken, and unfortunately, many garbage disposals don't allow you to replace that part. If you can't see any visible blockage, then you'll need to replace and install the entire garbage disposal.  

InSinkErator Badger Grinding Plate Is Stuck 

If your grinding plate is stuck, it will mean that food waste isn't being churned up and compacted by your disposal. This can block the machine and even lead to blockages in your plumbing. You'll need to look at your grinding plate and see if there are any visible blockages, as this is the most likely cause. If there is, you can take an Allen wrench and wiggle it within the mechanism to get rid of whatever's blocking it.  

InSinkErator Badger Is Loud Or Noisy 

There is nothing as annoying as a noisy garbage disposal, but unfortunately, this often means the whole unit is on the way out. You should first check the shredding plate to see if it's wobbling up and down within the disposal or if it's stuck, as this will cause a lot of noise.

If this is the case, then you will need to replace the machine. A noisy garbage disposal could also indicate a worn-out motor which will also mean you need to replace the device.  

InSinkErator Badger is Leaking 

There are a few different reasons your garbage disposal can start leaking, but the most common is an issue with the O-ring. This is what sits around the connection between the sink and the garbage disposal, and if it's broken or damaged, then the water won't be sealed in correctly. If this is the case, you can just replace the O-ring, and hopefully, the water stops leaking.  

If that isn’t the cause, then it could be the sink flange gasket which can become torn after heavy use. You should look to replace this and tighten it properly onto the device to stop the leak.  

If it's neither of these, then you likely have an issue with your splash guard. A splash guard is used to stop water or food waste from splashing up when you're using the disposal, and if it's damaged or torn, it can cause leaks. 

insinkerator badger 5 plus garbage disposal

If you can see any visible damage, you should look to replace the guard, and hopefully this will solve the issue. On some garbage disposals, the splash guard and the stopper are connected, so you may need to replace them both in one go.  

How To Fix A Jammed InSinkErator (Troubleshooting Tips) 

Your most common issue with any garbage disposal is it jamming. This is usually caused when there’s something inserted into the disposal that shouldn’t be, including bones or non-food waste. Thankfully it’s pretty easy to unclog an InSinkErator garbage disposal; you just need to follow these steps: 

  • 1
    Gather Your Tools 
    You’ll need to get an Allen key, some tongs, and a few towels to catch any moisture.  
  • 2
    Locate The Hole 
    Look on the bottom of the garbage disposal and check for the access hatch. Use your Allen key and slide this into the hole and use it as a crank.  
  • 3
    Turn The Key 
    Your Allen key should be able to move in both directions freely, so turn it until this happens. You may have to use some force, but don't be afraid; you won't damage the disposal. Keep going until this moves as it should.  
  • 4
    Check Your Overload Protector 
    Once it's moving freely, you need to check the overload protector. This is located under the sink at the bottom of the unit, and there should be a red button. If this is slightly pushed in, then you should push this in gently and hold it for a few seconds to reset it. If the button doesn't go back to the starting position, wait 10 minutes and try again.  
  • 5
    Check The Grinding Chamber 
    Open up the device and use a flashlight to check for any visible debris or blockages around the grinding plates. If you can see anything, you should use your tongs (or pliers) to pull it out. Do not reach into the device with your hands, as this can be very dangerous.  
  • 6
    Test The Device 
    Turn everything on and test the device. Hopefully, it's all working like it should. If not, then you may need to repeat the process.  

How To Reset Badger Garbage Disposal

The InSinkErator Badger has a modern design to help protect the system and uses a shut-off system to keep the motor safe.

If there is a blockage in the machine, the motor will automatically turn off to prevent it from overheating and damaging the device. When this happens, it won't switch on, and you'll need to reset the unit.  

To reset the garbage disposal, you’ll need a small wrench or Allen key and some tongs or pliers to remove any blockage.

You’ll then need to follow these steps, but use your instruction manual to prevent any accidental damage to the disposal: 

InSinkErator Badger 5 garbage disposal
  • 1
    Turn Off The Garbage Disposal 
    Fully turn off the device and unplug it from the wall to avoid any risk of injury while you work.  
  • 2
    Remove Large Debris 
    Open up the device and look for any large visible pieces of food waste which are blocking it. Use your tongs or pliers to remove them.  
  • 3
    Remove Other Blockages 
    Insert your Allen key into the hole at the base of the unit and turn it so that the plates inside the mechanism turn. Keep going until they move fully and the blockage is cleared. This may require some effort. You can turn on the water and let it flow to help with this process.  
  • 4
    Reset The Unit  
    Plug everything back in and locate the red reset button on the bottom of the unit. Hold it for a few seconds, and this should power the garbage disposal back up.  
  • 5
    Check The Reset Button 
    If the reset button keeps popping back out, then you should leave it for a few minutes and then try again. If it still won't work, then it means there’s an electrical issue with the device. You shouldn’t try and work on electricals unless you have a lot of experience, so you’re best off calling a professional at this point.  Fill out the form below for a free quote in your area!

How To Avoid InSinkErator Badger Problems (Prevention Tips)

Preventative measures are always best, and if you use and maintain your garbage disposal correctly, you can stop problems before they even occur. Here are 4 tips to help prevent any issues with your InSinkErator disposal: 

  • 1
    Watch What You Feed Into The Disposal 
    Your disposal is designed to deal with food waste and can handle a fair amount, but there are some items you should never put in your garbage disposal. Avoid putting bones, seafood shells, plastic, glass, or hot liquids into the garbage disposal and never pour too much oil or fat down because it can completely clog the device.  
  • 2
    Use Cold Water 
    To get the most from your InSinkErator, you should run the cold water down through the disposal before you feed any solids through and run it for a few seconds afterward. This will help to flush the machine, so it's ready for use each time.  
  • 3
    Clean And Maintain The Garbage Disposal 
    To keep it running correctly, you should regularly clean your disposal. You can do this by using cold water to flush the device and using ice to create a scouring action within the mechanism. You can also feed citrus fruit into the disposal to help remove any bad odors coming from it. Once a month, you should open up the unit and look inside to make sure there are no blockages or damage within the machine.  
  • 4
    Feed Food In Slowly  
    Some garbage disposals are designed to be used continuously, but you need to pace yourself. Feed the waste into the device slowly so it can be fully churned up before it works on the next bit. This will help prevent any blockages within the system and let you get the most from the Badger 5 

People Also Ask (FAQs)

How do you know if your InSinkErator garbage disposal is broken?  

Your InSinkErator should last 10 years or more if you maintain it properly, but after that point, it's more likely to become blocked or break down. If your disposal isn't working correctly, you will probably notice a change in the noise level or that it becomes blocked more frequently.  

Why is my InSinkErator not draining? 

This is usually due to a clog in the drain. You can use a plunger on the attached sink to draw out the blockage and let it drain correctly again.  

How much does it cost to repair an InSinkErator Badger? 

It will typically cost $75-100 to have your InSinkErator repaired, but this will vary depending on your location and the exact issue.


When your garbage disposal suddenly stops working, it can be a real nightmare, but once you understand the common issues, you can generally resolve the problem yourself easily enough. Hopefully, this guide has given you some useful information on why issues occur and how to fix them yourself without spending money calling out a professional.  

Holly Curell is the editor extraordinaire for Plumbing Lab. Having grown up in Michigan, Holly has spent time living in New York, Virginia, & currently North Carolina, where she lives with her husband & family. Holly loves DIY & has years of experience with at-home plumbing problems that arise from having 3 kids & living in colder climates. When she's not writing about her plumbing knowledge, Holly enjoys reading, hiking & relaxing with family.