Shaking or Vibrating Garbage Disposal: 4 Steps to Fix It

Is your garbage disposal shaking or vibrating?

I know how annoying it can be when your garbage disposal is not working as it should, especially when it’s new.

But don’t worry; I’m here to help!

When your garbage disposal is shaking or vibrating, try tightening the sink collar, cleaning the blades, or looking for signs of damage on the motor. In case the unit is unbalanced, please call customer support to make your warranty valid.

Keep reading to get your garbage disposal reset and smooth again!

Why trust us? This article was written by Craig Anderson and James Blackford.

Craig has helped thousands of other homeowners repair their appliances since 2016.

James is one of our resident appliance experts with over 16 years of experience. He currently works as a Master Technician for SquareTrade, and runs his own appliance repair business.

In-case you prefer to listen, here’s a clip from our podcast where we discuss a garbage disposal that is being loud or shaking.

4 Fixes for a Garbage Disposal That Shakes or Vibrates

Different reasons could explain why your garbage disposal is shaking or vibrating. Luckily, there are various solutions you can try.

#1 Tighten the Sink Collar

When I see a garbage disposal that shakes or vibrates, I always check the sink collar.

You see, the mounting ring that connects your garbage disposal to your sink can become loose due to poor installation or after years of use.

garbage disposal
Checking on the mounting ring every few months is a good practice to keep your garbage disposal from shaking or vibrating.

So, if your garbage disposal is shaking like an old lady in an Alaskan winter, you’ll have to go under the countertop and look closely.

Solution: Locating the sink collar is very easy, as it connects the appliance to the countertop and the bottom of your sink. In most models, it looks like a big metal ring.

Treat the part as you would a screw or the lid on one of your favorite chocolates – use clockwise rotation for tightening and a counterclockwise motion for loosening. Try using a wrench to secure the collar and test whether it works.

#2 Clean the Blades

When fixing a shaking or vibrating garbage disposal, it’s also important to ensure the blades are clean and free to move.

You see, any irregular pressure on the blades can cause significant imbalance and excessive strain.

As powerful as it looks, there are some foods your garbage disposal can’t handle, and you should never throw them down the sink. These include, but are not limited to celery, pasta, and other stringy foods, as they can get caught on the blades, causing overheating.

So, shredding the wrong food could explain why your garbage disposal is shaking and vibrating or smells like sewage.

Solution: When prevention is an option, great. But when it’s not, there are still some ways in which you can try to get rid of any food residue stuck in your unit’s blades.

In my experience, throwing a bunch of ice cubes down the drain and turning the garbage disposal on is a great way to clean the blades. After a while of shredding them, most of the food should fall right off and restore balance to your machine.

Ice on garbage disposal
Use ice to clean your garbage disposal.

Try using ice in 2-3 minute intervals to avoid overworking the motor. You can also use a cleaning tablet.

Don’t forget to check the manufacturer’s manual for specific cleaning recommendations for your disposal model.

#3 Check the Motor

Now, let’s discuss how a bad motor could cause a shaking or vibrating garbage disposal.

A motor can stop working due to many reasons, including food stuck to the blades, overworking, or shredding solids that are too hard. Any of these elements can quickly wear out your unit’s motor, causing a wide range of issues.

Additionally, there’s always the possibility of being the unlucky owner of a defective unit. Modern companies subject their products to high-quality standards. But even then, a bad apple can slip through the cracks.

garbage disposal motor
The shaking or vibrating issue might not come from your end.

Solution: If you notice that your garbage disposal smells like burning or is not shredding food as it used to, you’ll likely need to replace the unit.

Depending on your warranty status, you can still be eligible for a replacement at no charge. However, if you don’t want to go through the tedious process of waiting for a technician and getting a replacement, you can always call your handyman and ask them to have a look first.

#4 Call Customer Support

From what I’ve seen, a garbage disposal can vibrate or shake due to an unevenly distributed weight.

Most garbage disposals come equipped with small weighted impellers that help the appliance stay in place and move in a controlled way as it shreds whatever you throw down the drain. When the weight balance is affected in any way, you can experience a lot of movement.

Solution: Honestly, an unbalanced unit isn’t something I’d recommend fixing yourself, especially if you’re still under warranty coverage. First, taking matters into your own hands means spending money, and second, tampering with your garbage disposal could void said warranty.

Why risk it when you can get a solution for free?

Warranty papers
If your garbage disposal keeps shaking, the manufacturer is obligated to provide a solution.

My usual advice for fixing the problem is to call your manufacturer’s customer support team, explain the situation, and ask them to validate your warranty.

Sure, you’ll have to wait a while until they send a professional to your home and a bit longer to get a replacement unit in some cases.

However, at the end of the day, you’ll solve your problem without paying a single cent.

Wrapping Up: Keeping Your Garbage Disposal From Shaking

Hopefully, now you know how to stop your garbage disposal from shaking or vibrating.

Remember, addressing the most common causes behind a shaking garbage disposal is easy and quick. More often than not, you have to tighten the mounting ring and clean out the blades to get things back to normal. Don’t forget to inspect the motor as well.

Thank you very much for reading. If you found this article useful, it’ll make you glad to know that there’s much more content to learn from on our site. Why not start with the incredible resources below?

Good luck!

I've been helping homeowners with appliance repair since 2016. Starting out as an enthusiastic amateur, I've since worked with many Appliance, HVAC, and DIY experts over the last 7+ years. My mission is to help fix your appliances and prevent future issues - saving you stress, time, and money. Visit my author page to learn more! Read more