How to Tighten Garbage Disposal Blades

Are you worried that your garbage disposal may come apart as a result of the startling noises it makes when running? There is no cause for alarm! It’s possible that the disposal blades simply need to be tightened.

This might be a common issue but garbage disposals don’t work properly if the blades are loose. All the parts need to be tightly fitted to enhance efficiency. 

How Can I Tighten My Garbage Disposal Blades

Tighten Garbage Disposal Blades

The steel bolts that keep the blades in place may become loose over time. Although the idea of tightening them yourself may freak you out, you can accomplish it quickly with the right tools. Instead of contacting a professional plumber, follow these simple steps to tighten the blades properly.

1. Get the Right Tools and Materials 

Gather the following items before you start fixing your garbage disposal:

Small wrench or Allen key. Most garbage disposals include a special Allen key that allows the owner to loosen the impeller.

Hand protection gloves. Although you will have to turn off the disposal before you begin, there is still a danger of cutting yourself on the sharp parts of the garbage disposal, which a top-quality pair of safety gloves can help to mitigate.

Flashlight. A decent flashlight will enable you to clearly see the garbage disposal’s parts. If you don’t have a flashlight, you can use your phone’s flashlight.

A kitchen towel or an old rag. Working on a garbage disposal can be messy, so keep a kitchen towel or an old rag nearby.

Screw Driver. You can tighten the bolts that surround the blades with a screwdriver.

Pliers. It is far less disgusting to remove old food waste with pliers than with gloved hands.

A pipe wrench. You’ll need a pipe wrench to remove the disposal from the sink.

Broom. A broom handle can assist you in dislodging stubborn clogs in your garbage disposal.

2. Disconnect the Disposal from the power supply

Disconnect the Disposal from the power supply

The vital step in fixing any electrical appliance is to ensure your personal safety.

To avoid an accident while tightening the blades, make sure you totally disconnect the disposal from the power source. The power outlet might be located beneath the sink or on the wall beside the garbage disposal.

If you attach the power plug and begin tightening the blades, your hands will be ground up in the garbage disposal. Make certain that the entire unit is turned off.

Check to make sure the device is turned off for your safety. You can also cut electricity from the main circuit breaker.

You can proceed to the next step if you are certain that no electricity is being transmitted to the garbage disposal.

3. Diagnose the Issue

Now that you’ve turned off the disposal, it’s time to check if loose blades are the source of the problem. You may already be fairly certain that the blades are loose as your garbage disposal isn’t performing as well as it should. Other indicators include

  • There is a loud shredding or rattling sound when using the garbage disposal.
  • A clogged sink drain is caused by loose blades that are not effectively grinding food waste.
  • The garbage disposal emits a foul odor.

Before you open up your garbage disposal, see if resetting it will fix the problem with the blades. The blades of a garbage disposal can sometimes become stuck, but pushing the red reset button beneath the unit can help.

If pushing the reset button doesn’t work, have someone hold a flashlight above your disposal and gently rotate the blades. If they move easily sideways, the problem isn’t with the blade, but if they move up or down, the bolts that hold them in place must have loosened.

While you’re under the sink cabinet, check for any water leaks. This could indicate another problem.

If the disposal is leaking, you can fix it quickly following the steps in our guide on How to Fix a Leaking Garbage Disposal.

4. Clear the Clogs

You can proceed to the next step now that you’ve determined that your disposal’s blades are loose. You’ll need to clear out any debris around the blades in order to gain access to the bolts.

The safest method is to use pliers, but you can use your hands (so long as you wear thick safety gloves).

You can either remove the waste and discard it or push it further down the garbage disposal. To remove large chunks of stubborn food waste, you may need to use a broom handle.

When you’re satisfied that you’ve removed the bulk of the junk, pour some water down the waste disposal to thoroughly remove the remaining debris.

5. Disconnect the Garbage Disposal From The Sink

Disconnect Garbage Disposal From The Sink

Before you can tighten the bolts around the blades, you need to see them clearly. You can do this by disconnecting the garbage disposal from the sink.

Look underneath the garbage disposal and locate the nut or disposal screw that connects it to the sink. It’s usually located in the middle of the underside section.

Using your pipe wrench, unscrew it, and place the nut where you’ll find it later. If your garbage disposal came with an Allen key and you still have it, you can use that to loosen it.

If this is your first attempt at disconnecting a garbage disposal, you may find our guide on How to Disconnect a Garbage Disposal helpful.

6. Tighten the Blades

This step involves tightening the rivets or bolts around the garbage disposal blades. This ensures that the impeller plate can move them properly to effectively grind up food.

Locate and tighten the rivets around the rotating impeller plate that moves the blades with your drive nut.

When you’re finished, manually rotate them to see if they’re tight enough. If they no longer move up and down, you’ve successfully tightened the blades of your garbage disposal!

7. Reinstall the Garbage Disposal

After tightening the blades on your garbage disposal, you should reconnect it to the sink.

You can do this using the same method you used to disconnect it (with a pipe wrench or Allen key). Before proceeding, ensure that you have firmly reconnected the disposal and that the unit’s vibrations will not cause the nuts to come loose.

8. Turn On The Garbage Disposal

The next step is to reconnect the circuit and plug in the garbage disposal. You can also thoroughly clean the disposal with water before plugging it in if you want.

Then, restart it by pushing the red reset button on the garbage disposal’s bottom. In this manner, you will complete the fixing process while also effectively cleaning the clogs.

Your disposal should be fully operational now.

Frequently Asked Question for Tightening Disposal Blades

Is it possible to repair damaged garbage disposal blades?

You might be perplexed if you actually opened your garbage disposal and discovered that the blades were not just loose but also damaged.

Damaged disposal blades cannot usually be repaired, but they can be replaced. It’s best to hire a professional to replace your blades. However, you may discover that replacing the blades is more expensive than purchasing a new garbage disposal.

Garbage disposal generally has a life expectancy of eight to fifteen years. If your garbage disposal’s blades are damaged and it’s already quite old, it’s simply more cost-effective to replace them.

After you pay for the garbage disposal expert’s labor and the new blades, the expense could be equivalent to purchasing and installing a new unit.

Many garbage disposal manufacturers provide five-year warranties, so if your relatively new disposal stops working, check to see if you still have a warranty.

Do Loose Blades Affect Garbage Disposal?

Loose disposal blades are inconvenient for both you and the disposer.

The noise produced by the disposer’s inefficiency is alarming and can hurt your ears. Furthermore, the blade will not shred the food waste. Large food particles will pile up in the sink drain, causing it to clog.

So, tightening the blades yourself or hiring a professional is the best option. 

If the disposal still doesn’t work properly, you might want to see how to fix various types of disposal problems.


Garbage disposal blades that are too loose can be a disaster for homeowners. But you don’t have to be worried! If you have the right tools and follow this step-by-step, fixing the problem should be fairly easy.

You don’t gave to waste time and money hiring a plumber. However, If the blades on your garbage disposal are damaged, it’s worth weighing the costs of replacing them versus purchasing a new garbage disposal.

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