Informational Guide

How To Reset A Garbage Disposal (Step-By-Step Guide)

In this detailed guide, we show you how to reset your garbage disposal easily to help keep it in good working order.

by Josh Mitchell

Garbage disposals make life easier for homeowners. They allow you to get rid of all your food waste down the sink without worrying that it’ll clog up your plumbing and cause issues. They are now more popular than ever, and you'll see them in the majority of homes across America.  

Unfortunately, as with all home appliances, even the best garbage disposals can stop working suddenly. When this happens, it can be frustrating, but you'll usually need to reset the device. 

Thankfully, it's not too difficult to reset a garbage disposal, and most will have an easy to find button on the bottom of the device. You may need some pliers, but no specialist equipment is needed. Once you're ready, you just need to follow these steps: 

1. Turn Off The Power 

Start by turning off the power as it can really injure you if it starts working while you have your hands in there. You should unplug the unit completely.  

2. Check For Blockages 

Look inside the mechanism for any blockages. This could be bones, jewelry, a build-up of starchy food, or something else. Use your pliers to remove anything that shouldn’t be there which might be impacting the machine.  

3. Locate The Reset Button 

Your reset button is typically red and located on the bottom of the disposal. If you can't find it, then you'll need to look at your user manual, which will show you exactly where it is.  

4. Reset The Device 

Push in the reset button to start the process. If the button jumps straight back out again, then you may need to wait a few minutes before pushing it in.  

5. Test The Disposal 

Reattach the disposal and test it all. It should hopefully be working correctly, but if not, then you may need to get professional assistance. If you cannot reset your garbage disposal and require professional assistance, fill out the form below for a free quote in your local area. 

Why Do You Need To Reset A Garbage Disposal?

Garbage Disposal Will Not Turn On 

There's nothing worse than when you go to use your disposal, and it just won't turn on. This can mean that no electric current is reaching the device, and without power, it can't run. If your device is plugged in, then it might mean that the circuit has been tripped. Resetting the device will usually get this working again.  

Disposal Hums but Not Grinding 

If your disposal will hum and turn on but won’t grind, then there’s probably an issue with the flywheel inside. Most garbage disposals are designed to trip the circuit if there’s a blockage to stop the device from continuing to push the issue and damage it. This can usually be solved by removing the blockage and resetting the device.  

under sink garbage disposal

How To Reset A Garbage Disposal Without A Reset Button 

The majority of garbage disposals have a reset button, but some don’t, which can make the reset a bit more challenging. Your user manual should give you clear instructions on how to reset the device, but the easiest way to do this is using an Allen wrench.  

1. Turn Off The Disposal 

As before, make sure the disposal is fully switched off so you can work safely.  

2. Locate The Hole 

Locate the center opening of your disposal. This is a small hole that is usually located on the bottom of the device. 

3. Insert The Allen Wrench 

Slide your Allen wrench into the opening until you meet resistance. Rotate the wrench once to start the device moving again. If you feel any blockages, you may need to wiggle them around to remove them.  

4. Test The Disposal 

Connect your disposal again and test it. It should now all work, but if it still won't turn on, then you might need some professional help.   

Resetting The Most Common Garbage Disposal Brands

There's a wide variety of garbage disposals available on the market, and while they do all follow the same design, there are a few differences to be aware of. Here’s a quick guide on how to reset the most popular models:  


InSinkErator disposals have a fairly typical design, and all their main models (Badger 5, Badger 500, Badger 1) have a red reset button on the base. When resetting them, they advise that you wait ten minutes and run cold water through the disposal before hitting the reset button.  

If you're considering buying a Badger garbage disposal, you can read our guide to help you decide.

InSinkErator Pro 750 garbage disposal

Waste King

Waste King garbage disposals all have their red reset button right next to the power cord. It's a little smaller than some other brands, so it can be a little challenging to find, and you might need to use a flashlight. They advise that you check for any shorting of the wires before resetting your device. When you are ready to reset, you should press and hold the button for 10 seconds before testing the device.  


The Moen garbage disposal reset button is located on the side of the device, fairly near the bottom. It’s usually pretty easy to find, and you just need to press it once to reset the device. Moen advises checking your power source, as this is the most common issue users face. Try plugging another device into the plug socket to see if that works.  


Kitchenaid garbage disposals are very similar to other brands. You'll find the reset button on the very bottom of the device, and there are no specific instructions needed to complete the reset. They advise that you should open up the device to check for blockages before resetting, as this is usually what triggers it.  


Your Maytag garbage disposal has a reset button on the very base of the device, next to a center hole where you can slide in a garbage disposal wrench to remove any blockages. There are no special instructions with this disposal, but you should hold the button in until you hear a click. This click means it's reset and ready to be used again.  


Frigidaire garbage disposals have reset buttons on the side of the device at the very bottom. Before resetting, you should insert a handle to check the mechanism is turning as it's meant to. If so, you should hold down the reset button for 5-10 seconds until it clicks and stays down.  


Your Whirlpool garbage disposal should have a reset button on the very base of the unit. It’s pretty easy to find, and they advise that if there is any blockage in the device, then you'll need to wait 5-10 minutes before resetting it.  


Gemline disposals, like other models, have their reset button on the bottom of the unit. They advise you to check the internal mechanism for blockages and make sure it's all clear before resetting the device. After that, you'll just need to push the button in until you hear a click and then you're good to go.  

Garbage Disposal Not Working After Pressing Reset Button? 

Resetting your garbage disposal should work most of the time, but occasionally you’ll press the button, and it still won't turn on. If this happens, there are 3 things to check for: 

  • Check The Power 
    It could be that there's an issue with your power source, and if that's the case, your disposal won't reset properly or turn on. Make sure your disposal is completely unplugged, and try connecting a different appliance to see if that works. It could be that your power has been tripped, so make sure to check your fuse box to see if anything has gone. If there is an issue with your outlet, then you'll need a professional electrician to help. Hopefully, you can just attach your garbage disposal to a different outlet in the meantime.  
  • Unclog The Disposal 
    A clogged disposal is what usually causes the device to trip. You won’t be able to reset your disposal until any blockage is completely removed. Open up the mechanism and use a flashlight to look for any blockages. Remove them with your hands or pliers, and then try again. In some cases, you’ll need to wait 10 minutes before resetting again.
  • Check If The Reset Button Is Functioning 
    If your garbage disposal reset button isn’t working, then it can be a bit more challenging to replace. You should check your user manual to see if it’s supposed to click or make a noise when activated. In some cases, you may need to buy specialist equipment to see if any charge is reaching the button. If it’s not working, then you can try to reset your device using the Allen wrench method or look to replace the button.  

Can You Replace A Garbage Disposal Reset Button? 

If your garbage disposal reset button isn't working, then it's usually a problem with the wiring. Honestly, it can be more expensive to rewire your device than replace it, and if you don't have experience, it can be pretty challenging.

Your disposal reset button is very unlikely to break, so you probably won’t encounter this problem. Just make sure you’ve cleared all the blockages, power is reaching the unit, and that nothing is making the reset button stick down.  


Is a garbage disposal reset button always red in color? 

Your reset button is usually red, but it is black on some models.   

Does resetting fix jammed garbage disposal? 

No, you will need to remove the blockage to properly reset the disposal.  

Does resetting fix a garbage disposal that drains slowly? 

It may have an impact, but you will need to find the root cause of the slow draining. Running a lot of cold water through the device and removing any blockages should help solve the issue.  

Can I run the dishwasher if the garbage disposal is broken? 

Yes, you can run your dishwasher, but it might impact how efficiently the water drains. Make sure you look out for any leaks underneath your sink while it’s running.  

Does frequent resetting damage your garbage disposal? 

Frequent resetting shouldn’t impact your garbage disposal, but you should only reset it when you need to.  


Your garbage disposal is an essential part of your kitchen and one of the most used devices in your home. Unfortunately, they can stop working from time to time, but manufacturers have included a reset button to help you restart the disposal quickly.

Hopefully this guide has helped explain how to reset your device and what to do to get your garbage disposal working again.  

Josh enjoys researching, testing and diving into home improvement & DIY products. He has a passion for tools, learning new skills and fixing the everyday problems that arise around the house.