How to Tighten Garbage Disposal Blades: Useful Tips

Garbage disposals work automatically while others are manually operated through the switch. It is a piece of important equipment in the kitchen installed under the sink that helps in the disposal of food wastes. Inside, there are two stainless steel blades inside for chopping the food pieces.

The electric motor inside the garbage disposal circularly rotates to shred food into small pieces. The small pieces pass through the pipes and drown to the drain.

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However, not all types of food can go through the garbage disposal. These include tough foods like bones, greasy foods, and so on. When these things go down the drain, they either clog up or make the blades loose with time.

Just like any other equipment, they go through a mechanical breakdown. What happens when the blades get loose at some point? Bolts holding the blades might get loose. Loose blades in the garbage disposal can make your sink emit a bad odor. The kitchen should smell nice and healthy.

Blades play an important role in the equipment. Without them, the garbage disposal won't shred anything. When the blades are loose, the garbage disposal removes unusual sound. The disposer won't grind easily with loose blades.

We bet you don't want the discomfort in your kitchen from the damage, fix it before it stops working completely.

Tools and materials you will need

When fixing something, you need to have tools at hand for better repair. Some of what you will need are:

  • Nut driver
  • Flashlight
  • Rug
  • Pipe wrench


Before starting the process of fixing it, remember precautions comes first. Switch off power from the main power and the power source under the sink. Wear protective gloves and avoid working on wet hands. This way, you can avoid being electrocuted. Safety comes first. Get your tools ready.

How to fix

Step 1

Switch off the electrical socket located below the sink. Unplug the garbage disposal from the wall and ensure there's no electrical connection to avoid your hands being shocked.

Step 2​

Put a bucket underneath to trap water that may drip while you are fixing it. Put your hands and feel the movement of the blades. They should be moving horizontally, side to side on the rivets.

If you notice they are moving vertically, that means they are loose. Sometimes its clogged food that can make your blades feel loose and stop working properly. Check for clogged food waste or foreign objects like glass that may be stuck there.

Check if the impeller plates are moving to ascertain if something is clogged or not. You can use your hands to remove the clogs. But for a more effective way, use nose pliers. Alternatively, use the end of a broom, tongs, or wooden spoon to push the dirt out. Make sure there's good lighting while working. Plug in and turn the water on and test if it is grinding correctly.

Step 3​

Make sure the drain line is disconnected. Unscrew the nut that holds the drainpipe to the disposal garbage. Be careful and unplug the unit gently, not to accidentally drop it on your legs. It might injure you or ruin your kitchen floor. To unscrew, use a pipe wrench to loosen the nuts easily.

Locate the loose blades and check to be sure nothing is stuck there. The blades have impellers which are not usually sharp as you may think but are blunt. Tighten the two bolts holding the blades with a night driver. You can use a flashlight.

Don't tighten the bolt so tight that to damage the threads but tight enough to function properly. If the blades are old, replace them with new ones. Consider replacing them with stainless blades. Also, if the blades are damaged or worn out, replace them with new ones. Put the blades in the same position they were in for the garbage disposal to function smoothly and are aligned correctly.

Step 4

When all the bolts are tight enough, it's time to clean. Bolts can be tightened by hands and then a little after with pliers. Cleaning is very easy and does not take much time. All you need is a rag to clean the sink to remove any dust and dirt. Wipe off the dirt around gently.

Step 5

Reconnect the garbage disposal to the sink. Use a pipe wrench and screw it back in place. Search for any visible damages like cracks on the surface of the unit or leaks. Do this by filling the sink with water and checking the drainage. Use cold water instead. Switch on the circuit breaker and plug to start it.

When everything has been put back in place, check if your garbage is now working efficiently. There should be no unusual sound. Garbage disposals make noise when working, but it should not be screeching. If everything works fine, then that means your blades are not loose anymore.


Garbage disposal is important equipment in your kitchen, and every day we have garbage to throw away, make sure you use it correctly. Don't grind food wastes that are tough to protect your blades. Avoid foreign objects like glass or any cutlery from going down the drain accidentally. Knowing what goes in and what does not need to.

When unclogging your garbage disposal, its recommended to use cold water and not cold one if greasy foods are stuck inside. Cold water will solidify and makes it easier when you open the disposal to clean the blades. Hot water might push clogs further and make it difficult to remove.

Don't wait until it is damaged to take precautions. Regular maintenance keeps it working efficiently for an extended period of time. Put ice blocks once in a while inside the garbage disposal to sharpen the blades. These tips should help you fix your plumbing problems with garbage disposals. They are easy to follow and requires little skill to get you going. If you still find trouble with your garbage disposal, find a professional plumber to help you with tightening the blades. Don't let small things put you in another budget in what you can fix early.

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