Informational Guide

Garbage Disposal Won't Turn Off

In this guide, we tell you the most common causes for why your garbage disposal won’t turn off and how to fix them.

by Holly Curell

Having a garbage disposal in your home can make life a little easier. These can save a lot of time in the kitchen and provide better waste management in the community. However, when it stops working, it can be frustrating.  

When your garbage disposal won’t turn off, it can be dangerous to try and mess with it yourself. You need to consider some of the different options you can utilize to help turn it off and get it working as well as before again.  

When your garbage disposal won’t turn off, it will be dangerous to get anywhere near it. You need to take the time to fix the garbage disposal and get it to stop spinning around.

But first, you need to make sure that you know what is causing the issue in the first place. Some of the common reasons why my garbage disposal is not turning off include: 

1. Wiring Issues 

If the wiring is off in your garbage disposal, then the garbage disposal may not know when to turn off, even when you turn the switch. Wiring a garbage disposal is something you might be able to fix yourself, but if you're unsure, call an electrician. This will help make sure that no one gets hurt and that the garbage disposal will work again.  

2. Electrical Switch Problem 

The electrical switch could have some problems turning on and off at the time. You can try to move the plug-in to another outlet to see if that will help. If this helps, then there is a problem with the outlet. If the reset is not working, the electrical problem could be further in than what you can do on your own. 

3. Garbage Disposal Not Installed Correctly

If the garbage disposal was not installed the right way, then this could cause it to not turn off when you are done using it. Consider whether there seems to be several problems with the disposal and get it fixed that way. An electrician may need to come to look at the installation and see if they can change it around.  

4. Circuit Breaker or Fuse Problem 

When the circuit breaker is not working well, it may affect how well the garbage disposal will work. You should check the breaker and see if this is causing the problem. Turn the breaker to the garbage disposal on and off and see if that can stop the problem.  

man installing a moen garbage disposal

How To Fix Garbage Disposal That Keeps Running? (Troubleshooting Tips) 

There are different steps to use depending on what is wrong with the system to start with. Some of the steps you can follow to help when the garbage disposal will not stop includes: 

  1. 1
    Check the garbage disposal switch and make sure it is in the "OFF" position.  
  2. 2
    Go below the cabinet and look under the sink.  
  3. 3
    Look to see if you can find a power cord and follow it to the outlet on the up to the motor. Unplug that cord.  
  4. 4
    Move the cord over to the next one on the outlet. This should be above or beside the original outlet.  
  5. 5
    Confirm that the disposal is no longer running. If it is, this is a sign that something else is running. It should stop running when you change the connection.  
  6. 6
    Go to the wall switch and then turn it back on to see if it is still working.  

Sometimes the issues are with wiring on the system. If you unplug it and then connect to another outlet, and it starts right away, then it is time to get a professional in to look at the situation. 

person repairing an under sink garbage disposal

Garbage Disposal Still Won’t Turn Off: What Should I Do?

If the steps above do not work, you may need to hire an electrician to come in. It is most likely a problem with the electrical unit than with the garbage disposal. You can try a few of the circuit breakers, turning them on and off, but most likely, it is something with the wiring.  

Call several electricians to find the right one for you. Most will be affordable and can help you get it done. While all repairs will fall between $70 to $400 on average, fixing a garbage disposal that won't turn off will cost about $100 

People Also Ask (FAQs)

How do I know if my garbage disposal is clogged? 

If you notice that the disposal is humming or making loud noises without doing anything else, this is a sign that it is clogged. When the disposal emits a bad smell,  this is a sign the disposal is clogged and food is stuck down deep and rotting. When the disposal has some trouble with the reset or power mechanism, something may be stuck down deep to cause problems.  

Can you still use the sink if the garbage disposal is broken? 

You can still use the sink, even if the garbage disposal is not working. You can run water through it and wash the dishes just like normal. You just will not be able to run food through the disposal, but the rest of the sink will work fine.  

Why can’t I reset my garbage disposal? 

When a homeowner is not able to reset their garbage disposal, it is because there is an electrical problem. For the reset button to work, there needs to be a certain voltage and current to turn it back on. If you have power but can’t hear any clicking noise when you press the button, this is a sign the disposal is having trouble.  


A garbage disposal can make cleaning the home more manageable and save you a lot of time and money. Learning how to turn off the garbage disposal so it works well can help you to get the most out of this unique kitchen appliance.  

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.