My Garbage Disposal is Leaking – What Should I Do?

By: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Updated on: February 21, 2020

It’s easy to miss the early signs of a garbage disposal leak. You might notice a few wet spots in cabinets under the sink. You clean them up, they reappear, and a musty odor sets in. It doesn’t take long for these small problems to turn into a water-damaged kitchen disaster.

Why Is My Garbage Disposal Leaking?

If you can diagnose and fix a leaky garbage disposal, you can save yourself the headache of a flooded kitchen. The problem is a little harder to figure out than a clogged sink, but it’s usually caused by one of these components.

1) A Leaking Sink Flange

Old plumber’s putty or loose bolts can result in leaks around the flange that connects mounting hardware between the disposal and sink.

2) Bad Hose Connections

Leaks that occur when the dishwasher drains are a sign of loose metal clamp connections or bad rubber gaskets in the disposal drain line.

3) A Cracked Garbage Disposal

Water seeping out of the bottom of the disposal usually indicates cracked interior seals around the unit’s reset button and motor.

How to Fix Water Damage Caused a Leaky Garbage Disposal

A garbage disposal leak can cause serious water damage in the kitchen. Over time, an unnoticed drip can create as many problems as a sudden flood under the sink.

garbage disposal water damage on kitchen floor

Follow these eight DIY steps for restoring a water-damaged kitchen.

1. Turn off water coming into the kitchen until after disposal repairs.

2. Mop up standing water, and assess the extent of damage.

3. Set up fans to circulate air throughout the kitchen.

4. Clean and sanitize floors, baseboards and other affected surfaces.

5. Take a close look at drywall that might have wicked up water.

6. Be sure to clean, sanitize and dry water-damaged cabinets.

7. Take care of disposal repairs, and double-check the unit for proper operation.

8. Run fans for at least three days after cleaning to completely dry the kitchen.

How to Fix a Leaking Garbage Disposal

Before you can stop a garbage disposal leak, you have to find it. Start by placing a bucket underneath the unplugged unit. Make it easier to locate drips by adding food coloring to a cup of water and pouring it around the sink drain. Depending on where the unit leaks, follow these repair guidelines.

Top – Fix leaking around the top of the disposal by resealing or replacing the sink flange.

Sides – Check dishwasher and waste line hose gaskets, replace as needed, and tighten line clamps and screws.

Bottom – A garbage disposal leaking from the bottom usually can’t be repaired. It’s best to replace the disposal.

How to Prevent Garbage Disposal Leaks

You know grease buildup can clog the sink and flood the kitchen. You never try to grind bones in the disposal. Add these foods to your list of things that should never go down the garbage disposal.

  • Egg shells
  • Coffee grounds
  • Fibrous foods
  • Pasta and rice
  • Fruit and vegetable peels
egg shells in garbage disposal
Do not throw egg shells down in the garbage disposal

Feel free to put lemon peels down the garbage disposal. They break down easily and refresh the unit’s interior. Ice cubes are good for the disposal too. As the unit grinds the frozen cubes, they sharpen its blades.

Dealing with Garbage Disposal Water Damage in Chicago? We Can Help

When a garbage disposal floods the kitchen, the job can be too big for DIY cleanup. Water standing for more than a few hours has a negative impact on exposed floors, baseboards and drywall. When we take care of garbage disposal water damage, we provide these services and more.

garbage disposal water damage cleanup with air mover equipment
Professional restoration companies have advanced equipment to tackle garbage disposal water damage
  • Small plumbing repairs and fast water removal
  • Water-damaged flooring, trim and drywall tear-out and replacement
  • Certified mold removal and mitigation when needed
  • Expert help with the homeowners insurance claims process

We handle everything with industry expertise and state-of-the-art equipment. You get to enjoy your kitchen again in a fraction of the time it would take to do it all yourself.

We Restore Water-Damaged Kitchens and So Much More

Whether it’s a leaky disposal in the kitchen or burst pipes in the basement, you can count on ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba for expert water damage restoration. For more than 10 years, we’ve taken care of Chicago homes and businesses across the city and suburbs.

When water damage soaks your property in Chicago, IL, call us first. We’re just around the corner: 773-647-1985

Is it OK to run the dishwasher if the garbage disposal is leaking?

In general, no. If the leak is coming from the dishwasher hose that drains through the disposal, water pressure can weaken hose clamps and result in flooding.

Why should you replace a garbage disposal leaking from the bottom?

Bottom leaks are usually caused by cracked interior seals around the unit’s motor. These areas are difficult to access and repair. It’s easier to replace the leaking garbage disposal.

How long should a typical garbage disposal last?

Most new garbage disposals last from 10 to 15 years. A busy kitchen might shorten that lifespan to eight years. Common garbage disposal failures include worn-down blades and burned-out motors.