How to Remove a Garbage Disposal

How to Remove a Garbage Disposal


If your garbage disposal has fallen out of working order, it may be time to get a new one, or switch to using a basket strainer. Many people choose to switch to a basket strainer in order to avoid food buildup in pipes. If you would prefer to throw your food scraps in the trash or compost, it is definitely time to remove that old garbage disposal. You could hire a plumber or contractor to remove your current disposal for you, or you could do it yourself. It may sound like a complicated or unsafe job, but if you take all the proper precautions, you should have your old garbage disposal removed in no time.

Tools Needed

  • Channel pliers
  • Flat-head screwdriver
  • Plumber’s putty
  • Basket strainer

Safety First

As with any project that involves the dismantling of moving parts, it is important to unplug and disconnect the garbage disposal from its power source. This will keep you safe if anything goes awry.

Disconnecting the Dishwasher

This may seem like a strange step, but if you have a dishwasher, you will need to disconnect it from the garbage disposal. Yes, most dishwashers are connected to the garbage disposal to ensure that food does not go directly down the drain. Simply use your pliers to remove the tube that goes from the dishwasher to the garbage disposal.

Getting Started

After making sure the disposal is unplugged, you are ready to get started with the true work. Start by removing the drain trap. This is the part that connects the drain pipe to the garbage disposal. To prevent any unnecessary messes, place a container under the trap so that any drainage does not land on your work area. To remove the drain trap, use your pliers to remove the nuts that hold it in place. This will allow you to pull the trap pipe out and remove the built-up waste.

Removing the Disposal

Use your flat-head screwdriver to turn the lower mounting ring ¼ turn counter clockwise. This will unlock the ring. As you do this, make sure to have a hand underneath the disposal, as it will come right off when the lower mounting ring is unlocked. The only part remaining that needs to be removed is the mounting assembly. There should be three screws holding it in place. Loosen these, then use your flat-head screwdriver to pry the snap ring out. This will allow the rest of the mounting assembly to be wiggled off easily. The top piece of the garbage disposal can be removed from the drain on the inside of the sink.

Installing the Basket Strainer

Basket strainers come in different configurations depending on brand, so always read the installation instructions that came with the one you purchased. Before inserting the strainer into the sink, it is important to place putty down in the opening. Next, put the rubber washer down. After that, you can put the bottom mounting cup in and then tighten the nut. Make sure to tighten the nut until it is firmly in place. Finally, remove any excess putty visible from the top of the sink.

How to Remove a Garbage Disposal

Replacing the Drain Pipe and Dishwasher

If you have a dishwasher, make sure to get a flanged-branch tailpiece. This will allow you to connect the dishwasher to the drain line. The tailpiece needs to be screwed directly onto the basket strainer. Do not forget to use the washer that came with the basket strainer or you may end up with leakage under your sink. Using your pliers, attach the tube that runs from the dishwasher to the drain.

Installing the Continuous Waste Pipe

You will need to cut a piece of PVC piping to size so that it can operate as a continuous waste pipe. When installed, it should have a slight downward angle running from the trap to the drain. Once you cut it to the proper length, simply tighten the nuts, keeping the slip-joint washers facing the correct direction.

Installing the Trap

After cutting a piece of PVC piping to fit, you can install it where the trap and the trap arm need to go. Once again, remember to keep the slip-joint washers facing the correct direction. Using your hands, tighten the nuts. Finally, fill your sink then drain to check for leaks. If you followed the directions properly, you should have a fully-functional basket strainer.