How to remove a garbage disposal from the kitchen sink

How to remove a garbage disposal from the kitchen sink

When the garbage disposal needs replacing or maintenance

The garbage disposal is ubiquitous on every American kitchen sink. It conveniently grinds up food into small particles and then sends them on to the sewage system.

Garbage disposals utilitize an electric motor to spin a turntable to force food to the sides of the unit. The food is then forced through a shredder ring while running tap water flushes it down the drain.

The environment that garbage disposals work in is very corrosive. Exposure to water and food waste eventually causes most disposals to fail. The unit must then be removed and replaced. Many manufacturers use similar sink attachment systems and can be quickly replaced.


Step 1

Turn off the electricity

If the garbage disposal has a plug — unplug it from the outlet. If the disposal is direct wired, turn off the electricity at the electrical panel. Before working on it, turn the disposal switch to the «on» position to check that electricity is off.

Step 2


Disconnect all hoses and pipes connected to the disposal. If the garbage disposal drain pipe is stuck tight disconnect the pipe at an easier fitting. The drain pipe can be disconnected after removal.

Step 3


Place a bucket or stool under the garbage disposal. Place a board on top of the stool. These will provide support for the disposal upon removal.

Step 4


There is a metal ring that holds the garbage disposal to the sink support. Loosen the metal ring by turning it clockwise around the collar of the disposal. The ring may be very tight and hard to turn. Inserting a screwdriver through a loop in the metal ring can help turn and loosen it.

If the disposal and support unit start turning together, tighten the screws holding the support unit to the sink. Once the metal ring is loosened, the garbage disposal can be lowered to the board.

Step 5

Remove the disposal fittings

Remove the splash guard and metal support ring at the top of the disposal. Use the wrench or screwdriver to remove any screws holding the drain pipe to the disposal. Use the screwdriver to loosen the screw to the access panel on the bottom of disposal. Remove the panel to expose the wiring for the power cord. Remove the wire nuts and disconnect the disposal power cord. The power cord can reused on a new garbage disposal.

Step 6

Remove the support fittings

Loosen the screws that are holding the support collar in place at the sink drain area. Push the support up to expose the wire snap ring on the strainer basket. Carefully remove the snap ring by pushing down on it with a screwdriver. After the snap ring pops off, the metal support system can be removed from the sink.

Things Needed
• flat head screwdriver
• bucket or stool
• board
• wrench
• hammer
• 30-60 minutes

Tips & Warnings
• Unplug or turn off the electrical power to the garbage disposal before beginning to work on it.


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