Why Is My Garbage Disposal Smoking? (Causes and Solutions) 

A useful feature of any kitchen is the garbage disposal. They simplify cleanup after meals and help in reducing the amount of food waste that ends up in landfills. However, they may have problems too, just like any other kitchen appliance, and those problems need to be fixed.

A smoking garbage disposal is one such problem. If smoke has ever come from your garbage disposal, you might be wondering what’s causing it and what you can do to fix it.

We’ll go over the reasons why garbage disposals smoke in this article, along with alternatives that can be used to stop the problem.

What Causes a Garbage Disposal to Smoke?

Garbage Disposal Smoking

Your garbage disposal may be smoking for several reasons. Let’s discuss some of the major causes.

Overheating Motor

An overheating motor is the main cause of a smoking garbage disposal. For garbage disposals to function, vegetable scraps must be ground using precise blades driven by an electric motor.

The motor may eventually overheat as a result of heavy usage, poor maintenance, or obstructions in the system. Smoke that is coming from the disposal might be seen when the motor overheats and produces this smoke.

Faulty Wiring causes smoking

If you think that damaged wiring is to fault for the smoke coming from your garbage disposal, you should take immediate action right away. This means cutting off the unit’s electricity right away and hiring a licensed electrician to examine and fix the wiring.

It might be risky and potentially harmful to try to repair the wiring on your own. It’s also necessary to keep in mind that poor wiring may be a sign of more serious electrical issues in your house, so it’s essential to have the problem diagnosed and fixed by a professional to avoid further risks.

Your home can be kept secure by doing routine maintenance and inspections to help prevent electrical problems.

Clogs in the System

Smoke emissions are just one issue that can be caused by clogs in a garbage disposal system. Food scraps or other debris may prevent the blades of the disposal unit from rotating properly.

The motor has to work harder to grind the material as a result, which might cause overheating and smoke release. Also, if foreign objects—such as utensils or small pieces of metal—become trapped in the disposal unit, smoke emissions may result.

In such circumstances, the motor can sustain irreparable damage, demanding expensive repairs or replacement.

Damaged Blades

When a garbage disposal’s blades are damaged, they may become dull or misshapen, making it challenging for them to grind up food waste effectively. The motor may overheat and start to smoke as a result of having to work harder than necessary to make up for the imbalance.

This added stress on the motor over time may cause it to wear out sooner than it otherwise would, necessitating expensive repairs or possibly a total replacement.

It’s crucial to routinely check your garbage disposal blades for any signs of deterioration and replace them right away if necessary to prevent these problems.

Solutions to Fix a Smoking Garbage Disposal

After talking about the reasons why garbage disposal could start to smoke, let’s look at some possible fixes.

Turn off the Power

A block inside the equipment, which causes the motor to overheat, is most likely to be responsible when the garbage disposal begins to smoke. If the disposal is left working in this condition, it could cause more harm or perhaps become a fire danger.

When you examine and fix the appliance, you can avoid any electrical problems or mishaps by turning off the power. Once the power is turned off, you can securely remove any obstruction-causing items or debris and evaluate any potential damage.

By taking these safety measures, you may protect yourself from potential harm, save expensive repairs, and increase the lifespan of your garbage disposal.

Check for Clogs

It is safe to check the garbage disposal for any obvious blockages when the power is off. Remove any debris that you can see or feel using tongs or pliers. Don’t put your hands in the garbage disposal since the blades could still be sharp.

You might try pouring hot water down the drain to assist loosen any residual clogs after you’ve cleared out any obvious debris. Another choice is to try to remove the obstruction with a plunger.

To avoid harming the disposal or pipes, it is preferable to call a professional plumber if these procedures don’t work.

Reset the Disposal

It can be frustrating and inconvenient when the garbage disposal breaks down. However, the reset button on many removals can be used to restart the device. Usually situated on the disposal unit’s base, the reset button is simple to reach.

To restart the device and attempt running the disposal once more, only click the button. You might need to manually reset the disposal by spinning the blades with a hex wrench if the reset button is inoperable.

This will assist in clearing away any debris that might be the root of the issue and restore the disposal’s functionality.

Replace Damaged Blades

Garbage disposals may be a useful addition to any kitchen, but for them to work well, they need to be properly maintained. Clogs, leaks, and other problems caused by damaged blades may call for replacement.

Garbage disposals have electrical components and sharp blades, therefore replacing the blades by yourself might be hazardous. An expert plumber or appliance technician will have the equipment and knowledge needed to replace the blades safely and make sure the disposal is operating as it should.

To prevent further harm to the appliance or injury to yourself, you must put your trust in a professional to undertake these repairs.

Check for Faulty Wiring

Because it can result in electrical fires or electrocution, faulty wiring can represent a major risk to public safety. It may be tempting to attempt to identify and resolve the problem yourself, but it’s important to keep in mind that only a certified electrician should conduct electrical work.

These experts can safely diagnose and address electrical problems while minimizing the danger of additional damage or harm since they have the knowledge, abilities, and tools required. In addition to being risky, trying to address the problem yourself could void any warranties or insurance coverage you have on your house.

Hence, to guarantee the safety of you and your property, call a certified electrician right away if you suspect bad wiring may be the cause of smoking or other electrical problems.

Preventing a Smoking Garbage Disposal

It is considerably simpler to prevent a smoking garbage disposal than to repair one. The following advice can help stop your garbage disposal from smoking:

Use Cold Water

Run cold water through all the garbage disposal at all times. This keeps the system lubricated and helps prevent overheating. Food waste may melt and adhere to the blades in hot water, causing blockages and overheating.

Avoid Putting Certain Foods Down the Disposal

Not all garbage can be disposed of in the trash. Celery, artichokes, and maize husks shouldn’t be disposed of in the garbage disposal since they can harm the blades and clog the unit. Moreover, keep in mind that fats, oils, and grease can harden and clog the disposal.

Regular Maintenance

The key to keeping your garbage disposal in good working order is regular maintenance. You should frequently clean your disposal by pouring a solution of vinegar and baking soda down the drain to avoid obstructions and overheating. To clean the blades, you can also use salt and ice cubes.

Professional Inspections

It’s crucial to have your garbage disposal inspected by a professional if you hear any strange noises or smell anything out of the ordinary coming from it. Frequent inspections can assist find any faults before they turn into bigger concerns and can ultimately save you money.

Why Is My Garbage Disposal Smoking?

If you notice smoke coming from your garbage disposal, it’s probably the result of a buildup of grease, food waste, or other debris that has caught fire. This may occur if the disposal is clogged or if you put something inappropriate—like plastic or metal—in it.

Moreover, the motor may be overheating, which might result in smoking. Use cold water while using the garbage disposal, avoid using it for objects other than food, and avoid dumping grease or oil down the drain to keep this from happening.

When attempting to remove any obstructions or debris, stop using the disposal as soon as you observe any smoking.


A common problem, smoking garbage disposals can be caused by several things, including an overheating motor, bad wiring, system blockages, and damaged blades.

To avoid more damage, it’s crucial to switch off the power and treat the problem as soon as you see smoke coming from your garbage disposal.

Checking for clogs, restarting the disposal, changing out damaged blades, and examining the wiring are all ways to remedy a smoking garbage disposal.

Using cold water, avoiding specific foods, performing routine maintenance, and having the appliance inspected by a professional are all ways to avoid burning garbage disposal.

You can prevent your garbage disposal from smoking by using this advice to keep it in good working order.

FAQs: On Garbage Disposal Smoking?

Q. What happens when a garbage disposal overheats?

A garbage disposal that becomes overheated might harm the appliance or possibly catch fire. Several factors, including excessive use, a clogged or jammed machine, or electrical issues, might cause overheating.

The disposal may turn off on its own to prevent further damage when it overheats. Before attempting to use the device again, you must shut off the power and give it time to cool down.

It’s better to call a professional to evaluate and fix the machine if the overheating continues. Overheating problems can be avoided with routine maintenance, which includes cleaning the garbage disposal and limiting usage.

Q. What can damage garbage disposal?

Although garbage disposals are often strong and able to survive a lot of use, some things can harm them. Non-food objects like glass, plastic, or metal should not be disposed of in the garbage disposal as they could harm the blades or motor.

Bones, fruit pits, and coffee grounds are examples of dense, hard objects that might harm your vehicle. Grease and oil can clog the disposal and lessen its efficiency if they are poured down it.

Also, overloading the disposal with food waste or operating it for an extended period without running water can harm the disposal.

Q. What are common waste disposal problems?

Common problems with waste disposal include insufficient infrastructure for waste management, a lack of public knowledge and education on waste reduction and recycling, incorrect handling of hazardous waste, littering, and illegal dumping, and the effects landfill sites have on the ecosystem.

Additional problems include insufficient financing and resources for waste management programs, coordination and enforcement challenges with waste management laws, and the difficulty of managing electronic trash and other waste types that are fast evolving.

A comprehensive strategy that considers environmental, social, and economic aspects is necessary for effective waste management methods.

Q. How Do You Fix A Burnt Garbage Disposal? 

First, switch off the garbage disposal’s electricity. After that, empty the garbage disposal of any visible debris and use tongs or pliers to remove any potential obstructions to the blades. Then, depress the reset button at the disposal’s base.

If that doesn’t work, physically spin the blades using an Allen wrench to unclog any obstructions. Finally, restart the power and check the garbage disposal. It might be time to replace the disposal if these methods don’t resolve the problem.

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