How to Fix a Leaking Garbage Disposal

A leaking garbage disposal can be a hassle. Often, you don’t know there is a leak until there is some degree of damage – be it soggy cabinets or puddles on the floor. A more serious leak may cause an audible dripping noise under your counter also.

Not only does a leaking garbage disposal make your kitchen smell, but it can cause damage to the inside of your cabinets or floors. It is important to know what to look for to see if your disposal is leaking, and then address possible solutions.

Signs of a Leaking Garbage Disposal


Not sure how to tell if your garbage disposal is leaking? Here are some pointers from DAZ Plumbing:

  • The cabinet under the sink is damp or soggy.
  • There is water leaking out of the cabinet where your sink is.
  • You hear a dripping sound under your cabinets when you turn the disposal on.
  • You smell a rotten food smell in your sink or under the cabinet.

How to Find a Garbage Disposal Leak

If you think you do have a garbage disposal leak, the next step is locating it. There are several places where a leak can originate from. Here are some tips for finding the leak:

  • Remove all items from under the cabinet.
  • Place a bucket or bowl under the sink to catch anything that may come out during repairs.
  • Unplug the disposal.
  • Stop-up the sink and fill it with a few inches of water.
  • While the sink is stopped up, check underneath for signs of a leak. If the leak has stopped, remove the stopper and check your drain, the dishwasher hose, the hose at the bottom of the disposal, and the wall where your pipes come in.

If you can’t locate the leak, you may want to contact a plumber to have them give you a hand.

How to Fix a Leaking Garbage Disposal


Once you have confirmed that your garbage disposal is leaking, the next step is making repairs. This depends on where the leak is coming from. Consider these repair tips based on the origin of the leak:

  • The disposal is leaking from the top: A leak in the top of the disposal may mean that your sink flange is worn out or the seal is no longer holding. If that is the case, detach the disposal from the sink and remove the worn out flange and any putty that is remaining. Use fresh putty and a new flange to reattach the disposal.
  • The disposal is leaking from the bottom: The internal seals on garbage disposals tend to wear out over time. A leak from the bottom of the disposal is often a sign that this internal seal has worn out. If your disposal is still under warranty, you are likely better off getting a replacement rather than attempting a repair. If not, you may need to have your disposal reinstalled by a professional.
  • The disposal is leaking from the side: Sometimes a garbage disposal will leak from the side where the drain lines are connected. You can use a screwdriver to try to tighten the clamp that holds the lines in place. If that doesn’t work, you may need to replace the rubber gaskets at the connection sites.

If at any time during the assessment or repair process you feel unsure about what you are doing, you may find it helpful to contact a plumber for help. Some leaks are easy to resolve, but others require the skills and tools of a plumbing professional.