Garbage Disposal Overheating? (Here’s What To Do)


An overheating garbage disposal can be inconvenient, but it’s easy to fix in most cases.

What causes an overheated garbage disposal, and what can you do to get it working normally again?

Overuse, a jammed motor, and disposing of the wrong kinds of waste can lead to your garbage disposal overheating. It may abruptly turn off, refuse to turn on, or feel hot to the touch. You can address overheating by removing blockages, reducing waste put into the disposal, and giving it time to cool off before pushing the reset button.

Keep reading to learn more about each of the causes of garbage disposal overheating and how to address them.

Why Is My Garbage Disposal Overheating?

You’ll often be able to tell if your garbage disposal is overheating because it won’t start running at all when you flip the power switch to the on position. 

It may also abruptly stop running as you’re using it or begin to hum or whir rather than working properly. You may notice that your garbage disposal feels hot to the touch as well.

Most often, overheating happens because you’ve overfilled your garbage disposal. As it heats up, the system trips itself off to prevent damage to the motor.

Other reasons for an overheated garbage disposal are a jammed motor and forcing the wrong types of waste down the drain.

Overheating From Overuse

If you’ve overfilled your garbage disposal or are using it too much, then it’s likely to overheat. The solution here is simple: just wait several minutes, giving the system some time to cool down.

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Then, find the reset button on the bottom of the disposal and push it. Your disposal should run normally again once you plug it in and flip the switch on.

If this doesn’t work, check the circuit breaker to ensure it’s flipped to the on position.

This is a short-term fix, but in the long term, you’ll want to avoid overusing your garbage disposal system to keep it from overheating again. 

If you live in a household with many family members, then it may be wise to look into a model with increased horsepower. You can find garbage disposal systems with 1HP and 2HP motors that will be more suited to your needs. 

Overheating From A Jammed Motor

If the motor is jammed, you’ll likely hear a whirring or humming sound coming from your disposal when you try to turn it on.

Don’t stick your hand into the disposal to retrieve whatever is jamming it; be sure to turn off the disposal and unplug it. 

Then, you can use a flashlight and tongs or pliers to remove any items that are jamming the motor. 

For especially tricky blockages, you may need to go under the sink and use an Allen wrench inserted into the hole in the bottom center of the disposal.

Move it from side to side until you loosen the obstruction, then go back to the top and remove it.

Plug the disposal back in and see if it works again. If not, you may be dealing with a larger motor problem that will need to be addressed by a plumber.

All garbage disposal systems get jammed from time to time. The best actions you can take to prevent lasting damage are to only use the disposal for soft food waste and to remove any clogs or blockages as soon as possible.

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Overheating From Incorrect Waste

Trying to dispose of hard food and non-food items in your disposal may cause it to overheat.

These are some of the items that should never be put down your garbage disposal:

  • Stringy vegetables
  • Vegetables and fruits with tough peels
  • Starchy foods
  • Eggshells
  • Shellfish
  • Coffee grounds
  • Seeds and fruit pits
  • Grease
  • Napkins and paper towels
  • Cigarette butts
  • Harsh cleaning products and chemicals

Your garbage disposal may be able to process these items, but it will likely be damaged, especially if this continues over time.

If your garbage disposal overheats as it’s attempting to break down these items, it’s smart to unplug it, remove the items, and thoroughly rinse out the disposal. Give it several minutes to cool before using it again.

Can A Garbage Disposal Catch On Fire?

If your garbage disposal is overheating, you might be worried that it could catch on fire. The good news is that this is such a rare occurrence that it’s really nothing to worry about.

Even if you see smoke or smell a burnt odor from your garbage disposal, that usually doesn’t indicate a fire. Instead, these are usually indicators that your disposal is overheated, jammed, or burnt out completely.

Fixing a jammed or overheated garbage disposal system is simple; just follow the instructions provided above.

However, if your garbage disposal’s motor is burnt out, then you’ll probably need to replace the entire disposal system.

How To Keep Your Garbage Disposal From Overheating

Keeping your garbage disposal from overheating isn’t too difficult.

First, only use your disposal for soft food waste. Avoid all of the items mentioned previously, such as stringy vegetables, bones, and cigarette butts. These can all lead to overheating and even permanent damage to the impellers and motor.

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In addition, don’t overload your garbage disposal with waste. Give it plenty of time to grind up waste before attempting to put more down the drain.

Try not to overuse your disposal. If you find that yours overheats frequently, and if you live in a household with many people, a new disposal with a more powerful motor may be a better fit for your needs.

If your disposal system gets clogged or jammed, turn it off and remove the blockage before running it again.


Your garbage disposal may overheat if you overuse it or dispose of the wrong kinds of waste. A jammed motor can also lead to overheating.

You’ll be able to tell that your garbage disposal has overheated if it refuses to turn on, abruptly turns off during use, or feels hot to the touch.

In most cases, you can fix an overheated garbage disposal by removing any blockages, decreasing the amount of waste you put into it, and allowing it several minutes to cool down before you push the reset button and start using it again.

Ensure That Enough Care Is Given To Your Disposal Through These Reads:

  1. Garbage Disposal Making Loud Noise
  2. Garbage Disposal Button Not Working
  3. Garbage Disposal Flywheel Stuck
  4. Garbage Disposal Jammed With Glass
  5. Garbage Disposal Smells Really Bad