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Are Garbage Disposal Blades Supposed to Be Loose?

are garbage disposal blades supposed to be loose

One of the things that have made our environment pollution-free is garbage disposals – thanks to people like John W. Hammes, who introduced this powerful machine.

Since 1940 when this machine first hit the market to date, there have been improvements in the ways homeowners dispose of their food waste. 

This machine has gained wide popularity among homeowners, especially in large family households.

Several people now have them in their kitchens, and we can boldly say our landfills are now better off.

Asides reducing the amount of waste clogging our landfills, some researches have proved that the installation of garbage disposals in homes has helped to increase the production of biogas.

By the way, who wants his home messed up by smelly, bagged food waste?

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Despite the popularity of this machine in homes, hotels, and places where there are kitchens, most people are very much ignorant of its operation.

One of the questions which trouble the heart of garbage disposal users is if this machine’s blades are supposed to be loose or not.

Garbage disposal blades are not supposed to be loose during normal operation. All parts of the garbage disposal should be firmly tight to ensure both efficiency and safety. Any loose parts, including loose blades within the garbage disposal can cause damage to surrounding parts.

Let’s take a look at how a garbage disposal operates and what to do if you find that the blades are loose…

What Is a Garbage Disposal?

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Garbage disposal, also known as a garbage disposer or waste disposal, is an electric machine installed close to the drainage hole under the kitchen sink.

This electrically-powered device fits between the sink’s drain and the tap.

It has sharp blades that grind food waste into small tiny pieces.

Pieces so small that they can be washed away easily. The shredding ensures the food waste has easy passage through the pipes.

A garbage disposal has an electric motor that rotates a circular turntable installed above it.

When you turn on the garbage disposal and fill it with food waste, the waste drops on a rotating metal inside the grinding chamber.

Then, two metal arm impellers fling the food waste against the rotating metal. As this is being done repeatedly, the sharp edges of the grinding ring (blades) shred the food waste into very tiny pieces, which then pass through the openings in the ring and down the drain.

Garbage disposals are of two types: continuous feed and batch feed.

Continuous-feed garbage disposal operates automatically.

It starts working even before you feed in the food waste.

Batch-feed garbage disposal on the hand operates by switch control. After feeding in food waste and the chamber is full, you turn on the switch for the operation to start.

Having briefly looked at the makeup of garbage disposal, and how it operates, we can now return to the reason we are here:

Are Garbage Disposal Blades Supposed to Be Loose?

Obviously, garbage disposal blades are one of the very important (if not the most important) part of garbage disposal.

Without them, there will be nothing like shredding or grinding.

The blades are held against the rotating impeller plate.

Garbage disposal is a powerful and dangerous machine.

Hence all its parts have to be firmly tightened for efficiency and safety. This also includes the blades.

It would be best if you did not operate a garbage disposal that has loose blades.

The garbage disposal blades are meant to be tightly held in place by rivets.

Loose Garbage Disposal Blades

Loose garbage disposal blades can cause more damage and discomfort than you think.

Normally, a garbage disposal makes noise when in use, but with a loose blade, you would think your machine is about to fall apart.

Besides, when the blades are not tightly held to the impeller plate, shredding becomes impossible or done inefficiently.

At the end of the day, you would find out that lots of food waste are being left behind in the garbage disposal, and this might result in clogging.

What to Do If Your Garbage Disposal Has Its Blades Loose

You can tell if your garbage disposal blades are loose by the nerve-wracking noise it makes and its inefficiency.

The blades are located inside the garbage disposal, and getting at them means taking your machine apart.

If you can, get some help from a plumber or handyman. Below are the steps to take:

Cut power off totally

A garbage disposal can be very dangerous if not handled carefully.

After detecting that its blades are loose, the first thing you do is to shut it down by cutting off its power totally. Also, shut it down from the main power source under the sink so it won’t come on with your hand in it.

Locate the blades 

To do this, you would have to protect your hands.

This thing takes in a mess, remember? Wear safety gloves and feel for the blades inside the grinding chamber.

Lift blade 

 Try to lift one of the blades. If you notice slight or no movement, your blades are held firmly against the impeller plate.

Note that the movement should be from side to side, not up and down.

If the blades move up and down vertically, then they are loose already and you should repair them or buy new ones.

Repair blades or purchase a new unit.

Loose blades can be repaired, but it costs more than buying a new garbage disposal.

Hence, it is advised that you should discard the damaged unit and purchase a new one.


At times, a garbage disposal might be unable to grind because it has some objects lodged under its blades, not because of loose blades.

In this case, all you need to do is to remove the stuck objects with the help of a broom’s wooden handle or any other long instrument.

After dislodging the debris underneath the blades, plug the garbage disposal, turn it on, feds it with food water and turn the water on.

While it is running, use a torch to inspect the inside of the garbage disposal to know if it is grinding properly.

If it is not, then you can suspect a loose or broken blade.

However, you should be very careful not to put your hand near the garbage disposal when it grinding.

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