Tackling a Leaking Garbage Disposal: How to Fix Bottom Leakage Issues

Is your garbage disposal dripping? It’s scary, isn’t it? You’ve probably just discovered a link and are now surfing the web to find how to fix them. Well, you’re in luck!

A dripping garbage disposal can be annoying. There are a number of reasons why your garbage disposal might leak, including damage to the unit or seals and reset power buttons. Know what it takes to find the cause and fix it is your first step in saving your sink.

A leaking garbage disposal may be caused by cracked seals, broken reset buttons, and damage to the interior or exterior surfaces of the unit. You can repair some of these yourself with some skill, but it’s safest, fastest, and best to call a professional.

Why Is Your Garbage Disposal Leaking From The Bottom 

Garbage disposals are connected underneath the drain. The garbage disposal can be turned on to grind up some solid food objects to make them go down the drain easier. These devices are very beneficial to the household but can carry some risks of leaking.

If your garbage disposal is leaking or dripping, it could be a sign it’s overused. It could also be because of damage caused by putting unsafe items inside the garbage disposal, such as pasta, eggshells, meat cuttings, grease, bones, and more.

Before you begin fixing the dishwasher, take some safety precautions. First, make sure the power to the garbage disposal is off. This can be done by unplugging it, turning off the power switch, or flipping the circuit switch to off.

Next, make sure you have adequate lighting under the sink. Use a headlamp or flashlight to help. Also, NEVER reach inside the garbage disposal. Last, make sure you have a towel or rag near in case you get debris in your eyes or in your work environment.

In order to check for leaking, look underneath the sink where your drainpipe is located. It’s important to understand whether your disposal is leaking or dripping. This will determine how you fix it. If there is a large puddle under sink, there’s a chance it is leaking, not dripping. A leak is more serious than a drip and may require different treatments.

Leaking can be caused by a faulty seal, drains or pipes, broken reset buttons, damage to shells, and problems at the sink flange. There may be a leak coming from the dishwasher hose or cracks in the surface of the disposal.

Possible Problems

If there’s a leak, there’s a number of situations you want to rule out before getting started. We’ll discuss some possible issues for a dripping garbage disposal and how to fix them.

A Cracked Seal

A cracked seal in a garbage disposal can cause a leak. The garbage disposal is connected to the drain of the sink with a rubber gasket. This rubber gasket, or seal, creates an air-tight connection so water doesn’t flow out.

This rubber seal can get damaged and allow water to seep out and into the area under the sink. It can get damaged from use over time, cracks, and physical damage. A cracked seal could be an easy fix and a quick trip to a hardware store. Take pictures and information on your disposal to buy the new seal.

A Broken Reset Button

The garbage disposal has a reset located somewhere on its body. Normally it’s a red button on the bottom or side of the unit. When the disposal engine gets overwhelmed, the reset button will pop out and stop the disposal off.

If water is leaking from the reset button, it may have loose connections. There is normally a metal plate under the blades. When there is a leak in this internal metal plate it can lead to a leak from the reset button. Highly acidic cleaners can cause the metal plate to leak.

A Damaged Shell or Interior Shell

There is a shell that’s inside the garbage disposal that protects the motor. This shell has seals that keep water from leaking out. If there is a leak, it may be from a damaged interior seal or shell. Water can get into the shell from around the seals and leak into the bottom of the unit.

In older garbage disposals, there are many seals. If one is broken, chances are there are more that are damaged as well. In this case, it might be best to replace the unit. You could call a professional or replace it yourself, which is definitely doable!

How To Fix A Leaking Garbage Disposal 

It can be scary when you see a leak. If you’re a homeowner, all you can see is the money pouring out of your wallet. If a leak isn’t fixed correctly, it can come back in no time. Hiring a professional means, the job will get done correctly and usually has guarantees.

The safest, best, and most effective option when replacing a leaking garbage disposal is to call a plumber. Garbage disposal can be very dangerous. Fixing them inappropriately to lead to serious injury or damage to the unit.

However, calling an expert isn’t always an option. In some circumstances, you can replace the garbage disposal yourself, but it requires some skill. You’ll need to know where the disposal is connected to the sink, where the disposal connects to the drain line and power, wiring of the unit, and where the dishwasher connects to the disposal (if you have one).

You can remove the unit from under the sink by loosening the slip nuts located at either end of the trap bend. Take out the nuts and pull the unit straight down to come off. Once you’ve removed the unit, you can take it apart for further inspection. You can also replace it with another.

Preventative Garbage Disposal Care

There are a number of actions you can take to keep your garbage disposal healthy and in working condition. You can use cold water when disposing, regularly clear the drain, and use citrus peels as a freshener. Clean with ice and degreaser. Be conscious of the ingredients in your cleanser to ensure they’re not going to erode your unit.

You can also prevent putting certain items in the garbage disposal that may cause damage. For example, plastic, silverware, paper, bones, coffee grounds, hard foods, potato peels, and onion skins. These items can clog up the machine or damage the blades, therefore decreasing the life span of your device.


Having a dripping garbage disposal surely puts a damper on your day. It can be overwhelming at first when you aren’t sure how to find the leak or fix it. Checking for damage, leaks from the reset button, and broken seals can tell you why it’s leaking. Once you’ve found the cause, you can work towards getting it fixed!

Fixing your garbage disposal is no easy job, but it can be done. If you aren’t confident in yourself, or you’re completely lost on how to fix it, it may be best to reach out to a professional.

Otherwise, be sure to watch out for any water that could leak while you’re working. Ensure you have the tools you need before getting started and watch some reference videos just in case! Good luck!

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