Fixing a Broken Badger 5 Plus Insinkerator Garbage Disposal

Badger 5 plus garbage disposal broken help

My Badger 5 Plus garbage disposal seized up a few weeks ago after some mango peels made their way down into the drain. The disposal simply made this humming noise when it was on.  It sounded like the motor was going but the blades were not turning.

At first, I was ambivalent.  “Maybe it will fix itself” I thought.  But it didn’t.  And then the sink stopped draining.  So, I did the horror-movie thing and reached down into the bog of coffee grounds, lettuce and bloated cereal flakes to check if the blades were moving.

Apparently, you’re supposed to use a broom handle to do this, but that doesn’t get the same adrenaline rush of wondering if a freak accident will cause the fingers on your right hand to be appropriately diced up.

The blades did move  freely down there, so I sort of just shifted the food particles around and the water drained a little less slowly, but no less disgustingly from my sink.  And then mid-terms hit so I didn’t do anything about it for a few weeks.  I tried it again at one point and noticed that even the hum of the motor had gone away.  The problem with the disposal had progressed to the death of the machine.

This morning I emptied out some old rice milk, (who knew rice milk could congeal?) and headed to the grocery.  On my return, I found the rice milk peices still floating in my sink and decided enough was enough, it was time for action.

I put my serious game face on and googled until I found people with my same problem.  This guy Ryan at the Daily Ping had a post with a ton of responses that were similar to my situation.  I distilled a lot of posts down to the following steps to troubleshoot and fix the Badger 5 Garbage Disposal when it stops working for you:

  1. When you flip the switch, does it hum?
    1. If it doesn’t hum:
      1. Check is it plugged in?
      2. If it is plugged in, feel around on the bottom of the disposal for the reset button.  More info on that button here.
      3. Hit the button and test it again.  Humming now?
    2. If it hums:
      1. Are the blades moving freely?
        1. If not, use a broom handle or a long wooden spoon to try and spin the blades.
        2. You can also try sticking your hand down there, but you are risking your career as a hand model. (Turn off your circuit breaker for safety!)
      2. If they are spinning freely when you touch them, but they won’t engage when you turn the disposal on::
        1. Go to your local hardware store and buy a 1/4 inch sized Allen wrench also called a Hex key or Hex tool.  It is an L-shaped, six sided tool.  These usually come in a small set for about $4.
        2. Look under the disposal for a mysterious hole at the center.  Place the short end of the hex tool into this hole and rotate it around a few times, back and forth.  If you have a small bog of eternal stench in your sink like I did, and you’re lucky, you should see/hear the water immediatly drain.
        3. Remove the hex wrench and Try the switch again.  With luck, your disposal will be back to hacking up your food bits. Note: In the comments some folks have said it can take more vigorous repetition in some cases.  All I’m saying is you may have to show that drain who’s boss.

I hope that these steps help a few people fix their sink.  If you have any other questions, or these instructions helped you you’re welcome to post about your victory here!

If you’re interested in music, technology you can follow me on Twitter @jetsetter. If you are interested in more privacy on the internet, check out my company, Gliph.


872 thoughts on “Fixing a Broken Badger 5 Plus Insinkerator Garbage Disposal

  1. OMG, thank you! Worked perfectly and prevented my husband from taking apart the sink.
    You rock!

  2. Man, I did everything you did from assume it would work itself out, to stick my hand in it…..Not to mention it was still on, but the button had tripped so I noticed that with my fingers in tact……Hex hole….who knew……3 minutes, and back in business……If you ever need a pot of gumbo, I got ya, lol.

  3. Thank you so much!!! I too tried the procrastination method, which of course did not work, and was ready to have to call the plumber!

  4. Thanks for doing the legwork on this. The hex wrench got it running again but the disposal is leaking from the bottom. Thinking it may still be stuck some or one of the rubber gaskets may have shifted. Anyone else experienced this?

  5. Rob: You are a life saver, and the instructions were succinct and to the point. Manipulating the mysterious hole worked wonders…Saved me $$$ Thanks a ton

  6. Totally forgot about the broom stick fix – IT WORKED on my “antique” disposal.
    First thing tested got rid of the garbage pail smell – an orange peal. Thanks for posting this!!!!!

  7. Thank you thank you! Had my husband look at it and he told me to get a plumber. I decided to look online found your post, followed the instructions, pressed the reset button and in a minute it’s working. Thank God and thank you, it worked. Now I’ll just tell my husband that the plumber is going to charge 5 to 6 hundred to fix. :)

  8. My disposal symtoms were just as you said. So I inserted the allen wrench
    and it will not turn one way or the other?? I suppose this means something
    is froze up? What do I do now? Can it be taken apart and maybe freed up?

  9. Awesome directions! I’ve been traveling and came back and decided to clean fridge. Dumped rotted strawberries and got the hum sound. Saw blades were rusted, found a broom handle and had hex tools in my toolkit. Thanks!

  10. In addition to the directions I found your story entertaining. However, that hex wrench just wont budge. Cant feel anything inside the disposal, tempted to hit wrench with a hammer???? I think I will procrastinate one more day…..

  11. Thank you so much! I was searching for a new disposal then I saw your post. And it works!

  12. You are the man! It took longer to retrieve the allen wrench than it did to fix the disposal. You saved me 2-3 hours of aggravating disposal replacement not to mention the $$$. Great post.

  13. Thank you so much felt like you at first but then said fthat. Read your article and in 2 minutes fixed the issue. I didn’t have an Allen wrench so used a scrwdriver and changed the bit. 2 turns later DONE!! Can’t thank you enough. Single mom try and fix as much as I can and this was awesome!! Be well!!

  14. Wonderful. I had a nearly identical situation but with a shot glass in the disposal. Thanks so much!

  15. Oh my god, thank you so much for this post. I just fixed my own garbage disposal with this advice and the handy dandy tool kit my dad bought me, when I thought all hope was lost. THANKS!!! :)

  16. The manufacturer usually includes a hex wrench. Check under your sink for it before you go out and buy one.

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