Informational Guide

How To Tighten Garbage Disposal Blades? (2024 Guide)

What happens if your garbage disposal blades become loose? We show you how to tighten garbage disposal blades.

by Holly Curell

A well-functioning garbage disposal will be a true asset to your home. Cleaning up the kitchen is a breeze, and you do not need to worry about having a bad smell coming from your sink. You need to make sure that the garbage disposal is tight and will not start moving around once in place.  

One common question that many homeowners have about their garbage disposal is how to tighten garbage disposal blades to help keep the disposal in good working order. Let’s take a look at some of the steps you can take to get this job done.  

The steps to tighten up the garbage disposal blades are something that the homeowner can do on their own. These include: 

man unplugging a moen garbage disposal

1. Unplug  

You will need to first unplug the garbage disposal from the power source.

This will keep you safe. Double-check that there is no power coming from it before you work on the disposer.  

2. Check for Stuck Objects 

Sometimes the problem with the blades is that an object is stuck inside. 

When the power is off, place your hands inside and check whether something is there. If the blades run smoothly, then there isn’t anything in the way. If they move up and down, this is a sign the blades are loose.  

If you notice something is wrong with an obstruction, use some pliers and a flashlight to help remove the clog and get it out of the way. Then run water through to help clean up the drains.  

3. Fix the Blade 

Now you can fix the blade. Start by unscrewing the screw to the disposal mounted on the sink. A pipe wrench will work for this. 

Unscrew the nuts and then they will fall out. Loosen the center and the side blades to release the top and the bottom.  

Go to the connection of the loose blade and tighten the two bolts that will hold it in one place.

If you are confident nothing is under the blades (check before you assume), then you can tighten the bolts that hold the blade to keep them in place.  

garbage disposal blade

4. Clean it All 

To complete this process, clean the sink to remove the dirt and grime. Then reattach the disposer, taking care to screw it all back in place. Clean it all out before turning the power back on and using it like normal.  

How To Replace Garbage Disposal Blades (DIY Guide)

Sometimes, you can just tighten the blades and everything will be fine. Other times, the blades will be old, and you need to replace them. This is a great way to help keep safe and to ensure that the blades are as efficient as possible. The steps you can use to help replace the blades include: 

  1. 1
    Safety: Unplug the disposal and make sure it is all the way turned off. Have a bucket in place to catch any dripping water that may come.  
  2. 2
    Unscrew your disposal: You will need to un-attach the different parts that come with the unit. Unscrew it from the dishwasher line and waste line. You will need it out from the sink before you do any work.  
  3. 3
    Replace the blades: With the disposal out, you can replace the blades. Unbolt them from the disposal and then add in the new ones. Make sure they are sharp and made of stainless steel.  
  4. 4
    Hook it back up: Now go in reverse and hook the blades back up to make sure the disposal is ready to go when you are.  

Do Garbage Disposals Actually Have Blades? (How Tight Should They Be?) 

Your garbage disposal does have blades on it. This helps chop up any of the food that you put inside of the sink, making sure it is mashed up and will not clog the sink. 

These blades work by being sharp, being tight, and going fast.  

The blades on your garbage disposal should not be loose when you turn them on. 

All parts of this disposal need to be tight to make sure they are safe to use and will be efficient.

InSinkErator Garbage Disposal

If any part is loose, it could start to damage the entire unit and will require you to replace the whole garbage disposal.

What Happens If Blades On A Garbage Disposal Are Too Loose?  

When the garbage disposal does not work, the homeowner will notice a few things. The most common sign is a shrieking metal sound. You may notice that your garbage disposal hums or makes a sound that is uncomfortable to listen to. This can start out as a small sound, but it will get worse. The homeowner should fix the sound as soon as possible.  

Some garbage disposals will be a little loose, and you may not hear some of the sounds of shrieking or clanking. You may notice something is wrong if it struggles to grind up the food. Check how well the food is grinding up. If you notice that it still seems to have chunks left behind, then you need to look at tightening up the garbage disposal blades.  


Why does my garbage disposal rattle? 

The most common reason you hear the blades of the garbage disposal rattle is that some item, whether food, toy, silverware or something else sharp, got stuck down the drain and is going against the blades. Remember to only dispose of food waste that is safe for disposals.

Do garbage disposals burn out? 

Garbage disposals can burn out. The more that you use it and the less maintenance that you do on the unit, the faster it will wear out on you. Take care of the blades and complete routine maintenance to keep using the disposal all the time.  

Why do the garbage disposal blades wear out? 

The garbage disposal blades are going to wear out the more that you use them. Chopping through the food you put down the drain will eventually make the blades less sharp, and you will need to replace them.  


Your garbage disposal is a great tool to have around your home. Make sure that you fix it right away if you notice the blades rattling and not working well to help maintain this unit and get it to work for you. 

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.