Garbage disposal is leaking: Leaking Garbage Disposal? Here’s How to Fix It

Leaking Garbage Disposal? Here’s How to Fix It


Q: Lately, the cabinet under my kitchen sink has been getting mysteriously soggy. Could this be a symptom of a leaking garbage disposal? If so, how can I repair it myself?

A: A leaking garbage disposal often goes unnoticed until you confront a sopping cabinet, a foul-smelling puddle, or an audible drip-drip-drip from the unit. The fix can be frustrating, too, because the leak can stem from a number of components in the system. Fortunately, with a little sleuthing, you can zero in on the leak and—depending on the exact location—stop the icky oozing and repair the component that caused it. Worst case scenario, if it turns out that the garbage disposal must be replaced, installing a new one is a reasonable do-it-yourself task for those with basic plumbing skills. Read on to keep the cash you’d otherwise hand over to a pro.

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Prepare to find the leak.

Prior to testing the garbage disposal for leaks, unplug it at the wall outlet and turn off the power from the breaker box to prevent electrical shock. Then insert a watertight sink stopper into your sink drain and wipe the unit dry with a clean cloth. In any handy container, mix a few drops of food coloring into a few cups of water, and pour the dyed water onto the sink stopper to help you locate the leak.

Investigate the source.

Using a flashlight, examine the unit for escaping colored water, which is likely to come from one of three places:

  • the top, where the disposal meets the sink drain
  • the side, where the dishwasher hose or main drain pipe connects to the disposal
  • or the bottom of the unit

Inspect each of these locations while gliding a light-colored rag over the unit; the dyed water will readily show on the rag and reveal the location of the leak. If a leak isn’t immediately apparent, remove the sink stopper and pour a few more cups of dyed water down the sink drain, then check for leaks again. Leaks near the top of the unit are more likely to show themselves while the sink is plugged, while side and bottom leaks are more noticeable while the sink is unplugged.


If the top of the garbage disposal is leaking, re-seal and tighten the flange.

The metal sink flange that sits directly inside the sink drain is typically sealed around the top with plumber’s putty (a clay-like sealant) and then secured from under the sink with bolts. If the plumber’s putty deteriorates, or the bolts loosen, the flange can no longer form a watertight seal between the sink drain and the disposal—which could cause a leak at the top of the unit.

To reseal the leaky flange, you must first detach the garbage disposal. Start by loosening the screws securing the main drain pipe to the disposal, then loosen the screws in the metal clamp securing the dishwasher hose to the disposal and detach the drain pipe and dishwasher hose from the disposal. Loosen the screws in the mounting ring that connects the disposal to the metal mounting assembly beneath the sink, then pull down the disposal and carefully set it on a clean, dry surface. Loosen the bolts in the mounting assembly with a wrench, then pull down the mounting assembly and set it near the disposal.

Lift the sink flange from the top of the sink. Use a plastic putty knife to scrape off the old plumber’s putty around the top of the flange, then wipe off any putty residue with a damp rag. Now grab a palmful of plumber’s putty (available at hardware stores, home centers, and online) and roll it into an eighth-inch to quarter-inch-wide “rope” with a length roughly equal to the circumference of the flange. Wrap the rope of putty around the top of the flange like a collar, then insert the flange into the sink drain opening until snug. Re-install the mounting assembly and mounting ring (taking care to securely tighten the mounting bolts on the mounting assembly), then re-attach the garbage disposal, drain pipe, and dishwasher hose in the reverse order you detached them.

If you see that it’s the side of the garbage disposal leaking, tighten drain line connections and replace worn gaskets.

Two drain lines extend from the sides of a garbage disposal: a narrower dishwasher hose that connects the dishwasher drain pipe to your disposal’s dishwasher inlet, and the main drain pipe that connects your disposal to the sewer through an outlet in the wall.

If you spy a leak on the side of the disposal where the dishwasher hose meets the disposal’s dishwasher inlet, the problem could be that the metal clamp connecting them is loose. In that case, tighten the screws in the metal clamp with a screwdriver.

If the leak is on the side where the disposal meets the waste drain pipe, loosen the screws that secure the drain pipe to the disposal and inspect the rubber gasket inside the pipe—it may well be worn out. Replace the gasket and re-tighten the drain pipe screws.

If the bottom of the unit is leaking, replace the disposal.

Leaks from the bottom of the garbage disposal (often from the reset button) commonly indicate that at least one seal on the interior shell of the unit that protects the motor has deteriorated, or that the shell itself has cracked. These vulnerabilities can cause water from the sink to seep into the shell of the disposal and leak out of the base of the unit. In an old garbage disposal, one compromised internal seal is often accompanied by others, so your best bet is to install a new one.

RELATED: The Best Garbage Disposals, According to Happy Homeowners

Hiring a pro to replace the unit will run you $400 on average, including labor and parts, or you can install a garbage disposal yourself and save anywhere from $90 to $200 in labor costs. You should be able to get eight to 15 years of use out of a new garbage disposal.

Check your work by running water through the drain.

Whether you repaired or replaced the leaking garbage disposal, test for any missed problem spots. Wipe the unit dry with a clean cloth, then unplug the sink drain (if plugged) and pour a few cups of dyed water into the drain once more. Use a flashlight to inspect the entire unit. If you don’t observe a leak, turn on the power to the disposal from your breaker box and plug in the disposal at the wall outlet.

Prevent future leaks.

Proper use of a garbage disposal can stave off future leaks. So remember to grind only soft foods; hard items such as bones, apple cores, or raw potatoes can dislodge or damage the internal seals. Run cold water through the sink drain before and after food disposal to keep solid fats from congealing into gunk (which can deteriorate the sink flange and cause leaks). Finally, inspect your disposal for leaks at least twice a year using the dyed-water test to catch and repair minor leaks before they lead to water-damaged sink cabinets or kitchen floors.

Some jobs are better left to the pros

Get free, no-commitment estimates from licensed plumbers near you.

Find Pros Now


Three Reasons Why Your Garbage Disposal is Leaking

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If you have noticed a puddle of water located under your kitchen sink, the chances of your garbage disposal leaking are high. Like any other plumbing issue, this is not something any homeowner wants to deal with, especially when you don’t know how to fix your leaking garbage disposal. 

Before calling your trusted garbage disposal plumber in Washington DC, check out these causes for a leaking garbage disposal and how you can fix it!

Leaking From The Top 

If you find that the leaking is coming from the top of your garbage disposal, it may not be a problem with your whole unit. The likely cause of this is that your unit has a loose sink flange. A sink flange connects your garbage disposal to your sink drain. 

To stop the leak, you should tighten your mounting bolts and make sure that your plumber’s putty has not been compromised. If it has, you can reseal it with fresh putty.

Leaking From The Bottom

If the source of the leak is coming from the bottom of your garbage disposal, it can be because of internal seals that have worn out over time. While you can have a professional come out and fix the internal seals, it would be best to just buy a new garbage disposal unit. A new unit can last 5-10 years and won’t put too much of a dent into your bank account.

Leaking From The Side

When your disposal is leaking from the side, it can be because of loose drain lines. There are two drain lines connected to your system. One is for the dishwasher to drain into the disposal, and the other drains out waste from your disposal to your sewer. These drain pipes are connected by a metal clamp. 

To fix a garbage disposal leaking from the side, make sure you tighten the screws of your metal clamp or replace your rubber gasket. 

How to Prevent Future Leaks

Now that you know how to fix a leaking garbage disposal, here are some tips on how to prevent leakage in the future.

  • Run cold water when using your disposal.
  • Only put soft foods down your sink drain.
  • Regularly inspect your unit for cracks.
  • Check your mounting bolts and connections.

Can’t tell where the leak is coming from? Pour food coloring mixed with water down the drain to find the source of the leaking.

Reliable Garbage Disposal Services in Washington DC

Whether you need to know how to fix a leaking garbage disposal or would like a professional to come out and check your unit, Magnolia is here to help you! We repair broken garbage disposals throughout Washington DC and the surrounding areas. We know that a leaking garbage disposal is a major headache; that is why our team provides you a hassle-free experience. Contact us today to book your appointment!

Disinfection of garbage chutes in apartment buildings in St. Petersburg and Leningrad Region

  • What is the management company responsible for
  • Where to go for decontamination services
  • Why the disinfection of the garbage chute can not be. performed by the inhabitants of the entrance? A garbage chute is part of the engineering equipment of a residential building, which creates additional convenience for residents, relieving them of the need to take household waste into garbage containers on the street.

    However, like any life support system, it requires regular care and maintenance. If this requirement is not met, it can create a lot of problems.

    In addition to dirt and odors, an uncleaned waste disposal system becomes a source of dangerous infections. This poses a real threat of infection to residents. Therefore, among the mandatory measures for maintaining the infrastructure of a residential building is the disinfection of the garbage chute.

    This decontamination treatment should only be carried out by qualified personnel using professional tools and equipment.

    When disinfection of the waste chute is required

    The appearance of infection in the waste chute is a natural process that inevitably occurs if the system is not taken care of. Even if the garbage is regularly removed, the trunk and receiving chambers of the garbage chute are washed, it still creates a favorable environment for the development and spread of microorganisms.

    Remains of household waste accumulate in the shaft, on the walls of the chamber in the waste bin. As a result, decay occurs. This process is accelerated even more if residents violate the rules for operating the garbage chute. For example, when dumping construction debris or other large objects, a blockage can occur, which leads to the accumulation of waste in the pipe.

    In accordance with current recommendations, cleaning and disinfection of waste chutes should be carried out monthly. Washing should be done weekly.

    In addition, disinfection of the garbage chute is necessary when signs of contamination of the system are detected, including:

    • the appearance of an unpleasant odor;
    • blockage of the trunk – it is impossible to use the garbage chute;
    • the appearance of rodents and insects.

    In these cases, disinfection of the waste chute must be carried out immediately!

    Compliance with the disinfection of the garbage chute is of great importance for epidemiological safety. This has become especially relevant since 2020, with the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The high degree of contagiousness and the rapid spread of the disease made it a real challenge.

    Contaminated surfaces are one way the coronavirus is transmitted. In an uncleaned garbage chute, an almost ideal environment is created for him. In household waste there are a huge number of sources of infection.

    Disposable medical masks, which have thoroughly entered our everyday life during the pandemic, are a striking example. Therefore, if you do not perform regular disinfection and cleaning of the MKD garbage chute, the threat of infection increases many times over.

    Who must disinfect the garbage chute

    In accordance with the existing procedure, the obligation to maintain and maintain life support systems in residential buildings lies with the management company with which the tenants have an agreement.

    Regular cleaners are sent to clean the entrances. However, their duties include washing and external cleaning of the garbage chute. It would be strange to expect from a simple cleaner to perform real disinfection work.

    Management companies usually pay more attention to the condition of garbage chutes only in case of blockages, that is, in emergency situations. In this case, the plug is removed, the barrel is cleaned of debris and sometimes flushed. However, to eliminate the infection, disinfecting treatment is also needed, which the management company is simply not able to perform on a professional level on its own.

    In many houses, professional cleaning companies are involved in cleaning the entrances. The result of their work will be the qualitative elimination of external pollution. At the entrance, including in the area of ​​​​the garbage chute, it becomes much cleaner.

    However, even the best cleaning will not provide complete protection against infection that develops inside the barrel, gate, chambers and other parts of the system. It is impossible to get consent from the cleaning company to carry out disinfection, since this is not their profile.

    To ensure that the infectious threat is eliminated, disinfection must be carried out by a professional SES.

    Where to go to decontaminate the garbage chute

    And you need to turn to professionals! Our sanitary and epidemiological service offers professional services for

    • disinfection of garbage chutes in St. Petersburg.

    We have extensive experience in servicing apartment buildings. We guarantee high-quality disinfection!

    Effective and safe disinfection for residents is achieved due to the following advantages:

    1. high level of qualification and extensive experience of specialists who carry out disinfection;
    2. the use of professional preparations for sanitizing the garbage chute – the agents effectively destroy bacteria and viruses, including the new coronavirus, but are safe for humans;
    3. the use of special equipment that allows you to carefully process hard-to-reach internal surfaces of the shaft, gate, garbage bins;
    4. compliance with current regulatory requirements, which guarantees the safety of residents during decontamination treatment.

    Favorable for customers price for disinfection of the garbage chute is valid throughout the year!
    You can consult and order the service from the company’s managers by phone:

    ☎ +7(812) 648-28-45

    flushing and disinfection of garbage chutes does not release the Criminal Code from the obligation to maintain them (decree of the Central District Arbitration Court dated January 28, 2022 in case No. A48 –4182/2021).

    GZHI Oryol region issued an order to the Criminal Code on the need to eliminate violations of housing legislation, including cleaning, washing and disinfecting the trunks of garbage chutes, loading valves, buckets, gates and garbage collection chambers in the entrances of the serviced apartment building.

    Criminal Code tried to challenge this paragraph of the prescription in the arbitration court. In the statement of claim, she referred to the impossibility to fulfill the requirement of the GZhI, since the garbage chute in the MKD is not equipped with a flushing and cleaning device.

    Court of First Instance did not agree with the argument of the Criminal Code and dismissed the claims.

    Maintenance of garbage chutes is entrusted to the Management Company by an agreement on the management of MKD. Also, the obligation of the management company to clean, wash and disinfect garbage chutes is provided for in clause 5.9.10 of the Rules and Norms for the technical operation of the housing stock No. 170.

    According to clause 132 of SanPiN 2.1. once a month, and cleaning and disinfection of the waste bin at least once a week.

    GZhI explained to the court that at present there is a lot of modern equipment that allows to carry out the work prescribed by the Criminal Code. For example, the sanitary maintenance of asbestos-cement trunks of garbage chutes that are not equipped with stationary devices for cleaning, degreasing and disinfection can be carried out using a mobile washing unit.
    Also, for the prescribed work, the Criminal Code could conclude an agreement with a specialized organization, but did not do so.