How to Remove a Garbage Disposal

How to Remove a Garbage Disposal?

Checkout my video this is a summarized version of How to Remove a Garbage Disposal our in-depth article below. 

You want to know how to remove a garbage disposal, but you don’t know where to start? No worries, we’ve got you covered. We know that our garbage disposals are some of the most significant kitchen tools in maintaining the cleanliness of our kitchen and drains and that’s why we must take care of them. However, although certain garbage disposal issues can be resolved with repairs, some problems can get so serious that we may require replacing the unit and start by knowing how to remove a garbage disposal from under your sink. 

How to Remove a Garbage Disposal

Why Do We Need to Remove it at all ?

We don’t know the importance of the garbage disposal until it becomes clogged or it stops working. Garbage disposals have an average life expectancy of 10 years, after that, they can start to clog more frequently especially if not properly maintained. 

There are many reasons why we need to replace a garbage disposal and here are the most common problems that can indicate the need for a new replacement unit:

Garbage Disposal Not Draining

It’s making strange or unusual noises every time even without jamming. Any unusual or persistent sounds may indicate a more serious problem since a garbage disposal has lots of moving objects.


If there’s the need for frequently pressing the reset button to restart the unit’s default function.

Garbage Disposal Reset Button

 If there is water leaking from the unit in many places. This could mean that the unit has already a deformed shape and leaks cannot be repaired. 

On the other hand, there can be some troubles with the unit that can be resolved by doing some troubleshooting fixes. For example, if the motor of the unit fails to run, it can only be a problem with its fuse that has blown and this can be replaced. When there’s the burning smell on the unit and the humming sound, there could be some kind of jamming that is happening inside the unit’s chamber and the motor is now overheating. 

How to Remove a Garbage Disposal

So although your garbage disposal doesn’t work as it used to , try to be observant and do some fixes. Many components of the garbage disposal work hard inside to shred kitchen waste into tiny fragments so sometimes these components can jam or wear and tear other parts. But if the unit constantly bogs down, it’s time to think about how to remove a garbage disposal to replace it.  

Garbage Disposal Flange Removal to Detach the Unit

How to Remove a Garbage Disposal

What is a garbage disposal flange?

Why we are discussing the garbage disposal flange is because if you want to detach the garbage disposal from under the sink, you have to remove the garbage disposal flange from the sink’s strainer flange first. The garbage disposal flange is mounted onto the sink’s strainer flange and is secured by a set of screws and a lock ring. Three screws also carry the weight of the unit and are also part of the garbage disposal flange. 

Garbage Disposal Not Draining

Removing a garbage removal from its place involves some steps. First, you have to know the procedures for garbage disposal flange removal which include unscrewing the screws that are securing the unit under the sink. And once the garbage disposal has been detached and you want to attach a dishwasher to the garbage disposal, you also have to know how to remove the garbage disposal knockout plug.   

So let’s learn now how to remove the flange to detach the garbage disposal –

How to Remove a Garbage Disposal

Steps for the Garbage Disposal Flange Removal

Start by turning off both the water and the electricity. 

When dealing with a rusted disposal flange, the safest thing to do is to apply some penetrating oil to it. Shake the can before spraying it on the flange. Allow the oil to sit for a few minutes on the flange until it penetrates its way through the rust and loosens up the flange. 

Find the lock ring that’s holding up the large screws and use a flat screwdriver to pry it out. How to Remove a Garbage Disposal

Work your way around the flange in tiny steps to avoid bending it. If the flange is twisted, it can no longer be reused.

When the set of flanges has been removed, clean out the putty under the sink and on the drain hole of the sink.

You can now unscrew the three retention screws and detach the garbage disposal out of its place. 

So this is how you can simply do the garbage disposal flange removal.

How to Remove a Garbage Disposal

What is a Garbage Disposal Knockout Plug?

If you want to connect your dishwasher into the garbage disposal so that both of their wastewater goes out on a single drain pipe, then you should know about the garbage disposal knockout plug.

How to Remove a Garbage Disposal

The primary function of the garbage disposal knockout plug is to create a watertight seal of the tube that’s intended for connecting the hose from the dishwasher. So this plug serves as the seal for the tube and if you have not removed it and you connect a dishwasher drain tube on it, water will back up into the drainpipe and onto the counter from your dishwasher. But once the knockout plug was removed, drain water would be able to freely flow into the garbage disposal chamber and the disposer drain pipe.

How to Remove a Garbage Disposal

Knowing how to remove a garbage disposal is very crucial when removing the knockout plug and this is also important for you to work safely.  

So here are the step-by-step procedures for removing the plug.  

The first thing to remember when removing the garbage disposal knockout plug is that you have to detach the unit from its power source which you can find under the sink. Then ready your tools which include a screwdriver, hammer, and needle-nose pliers.

Once the unit has been detached, to avoid movements during plug removal, lay a towel on the floor and lay the garbage disposal on top of it with the tube containing the plug facing you. 

Insert your finger into the tube and you will feel the plug solidly blocking the tube.  

Insert the screwdriver into the tube and position its tip in the middle of the plug. Tap the back of the screwdriver several times with the hammer until you feel that the plug dropped out from its place.

Once the plug has been removed, reach inside and take the plug out using your needle-nose pliers. You can use a flashlight to see where the plug is. Or you can use your fingers to grab the plug. You can also turn the garbage disposal upside down and shake it up or tap its bottom with your palm to dislodge the plug. 

Now that you’ve removed the knockout plug, you can now reinstall your garbage disposal and attach to it the dishwasher line. However, if you do not have a dishwasher make sure that you do not remove the knockout plug to avoid leakage under the sink.

How to Replace a Garbage Disposal

Apply a new rope of plumber’s putty to the sink’s drain flange. Then, press it firmly in place. 

Get underneath the sink and insert a gasket over the unit’s flange and place it in the second flange followed by the snap ring. When adding the snap ring, Then tighten the screws slowly and evenly against the backup flange.


If you’re not going to hook the disposal to a dishwasher, leave the knockout plug intact. 

Lift the garbage disposal to the mounting ring and line the three mounting tabs up with the slide ramps on the ring and turn the mounting tabs clockwise until the disposal locks in place on the ring. 


Turn the power back on, then fill the sink with water and test for leaks for several minutes.

Does a Dishwasher Have to Be Connected to a Garbage Disposal?

You may have questions in mind like does a dishwasher have to be connected to a garbage disposal? The answer is that it depends on you. If you have a dishwasher, it’s better that you connect it to your garbage disposal to merge your wastewater into one and out to the drain pipe. But if you have a dishwasher, it’s not a necessity to install a garbage disposal and you only have to be creative in connecting your dishwasher’s drain hose down to the drain pipe.

One advantage of running a dishwasher into a garbage disposal is that the drain hose from the washer will be attached directly to the upper portion of the disposal. And with the washer drain hose and the sink drain trap with separate hosing, backflow from the drain can be prevented. So if you don’t have a garbage disposal, you need to install an air gap assembly in the dishwasher’s counter.

Installing a garbage disposal in your household is a brilliant idea, and any plumber will strongly advise it because it is an efficient way to deal with typical kitchen waste like food scraps by shredding it into small bits. Also, this makes it easy for the plumbers to manage your sink pipes when trouble arises.  

So what should you do when your garbage disposal experiences issues? Here are the typical problems that these units develop over the years.

How to Troubleshoot If It Has Stopped Working?

If the disposal does not make a buzzing noise, the issue could be due to electrical fluctuations that happen in the motor so all you need to do is to reset the motor. You can do this by pressing the reset button found at the bottom of the unit.

Garbage Disposal Reset Button

Make sure the disposal unit is plugged when resetting the motor. You may also check the circuit breaker in the electrical panel or breaker box to see if it has tripped and has switched off. At the fuse box, all of the switches should be turned on.

Things To Remember to Prolong the Life of Your unit

Food scraps that are tough or fibrous, potato peels, grease and gasoline, and pits and other rough items should never be dumped into the sink. 

Ideally, the garbage disposal should be cleaned weekly. Fill the garbage disposal with ice cubes and add a cup of rock salt, then run it for a minute and let the natural abrasives of the ice chip away the gunk that has accumulated in your garbage disposal. 

Garbage Disposal Reset Button

To remove bad odor and eliminate the growth of germs, pour a cup of vinegar and a half-cup of baking soda into the disposal, then turn the tap cold water while brushing the mouth of the sink with an old toothbrush. 

To unclog a pipe, never use bleach or a commercial drain cleaner. These chemicals are rarely effective, leaving you with a sink full of hazardous chemicals. Furthermore, such chemicals also damage garbage disposals and can void their warranties. Instead, use natural homemade drain cleaners.

Practice breaking up large food waste before throwing them into the sink for the garbage disposal to grind and also to always use cold water when operating the garbage disposal.


The most important thing is, don’t forget to unplug the unit or cut off the power from the circuit breaker whenever you do repairs or cleaning. 

Last trivia for you! Did you know that the garbage disposal unit was invented in 1927 by John W. Hammes? In 1940, his InSinkErator business released his garbage disposal on the market


Now that you know the steps on how to remove a garbage disposal and know more about garbage disposal knockout plug as well as the procedures on the garbage disposal flange removal, the next time your garbage disposal show signs of issues, try to do our tricks here and most likely these will work and save you money for the repair or from buying a replacement.

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