Leaking Garbage Disposal: Signs, Causes, and Fixes

One of the worst nightmares you can face as a homeowner is a leaking garbage disposal. It stinks, it’s messy, it stops doing its intended job, and it can lead to a lot of extra costs. It can be a minor issue bubbling just under the surface or major damage that requires an emergency plumber. Either way, it’s natural to want to figure out how to resolve such a nasty issue right away.

If you suspect that your garbage disposal is leaking, make sure you know the right signs, causes, and possible fixes.

Signs You Have a Leak

To figure out if it’s a leak you have, make sure you can spot the signs correctly:

  • There is a musty smell emanating from your sink. This could be caused by other issues, but you can check visually if the bottom of the sink is damp and dripping.
  • There is water accumulating around the top and bottom of your sink flange’s ring. A good way to check this is by turning your garbage disposal off and unplugging it completely so you can feel around for wetness.
  • There is a constant drip of water around the unit near the reset button.
  • There is a leak between connections. Check your dishwasher hose and drain line. Check the connections and gaps to see if there is any water dripping down or puddles around them.

Causes of Garbage Disposal Leakage

There are several reasons your garbage disposal can end up leaking:

  • The seal in your garbage disposal may have been worn down over time.
  • The drain line is leaking because the rubber gasket is loose or damaged.
  • The screws connecting your drain line or the ones securing your disposal unit have been removed or are worn out.
  • The sink flange is no longer sealed properly. This usually happens when the bolts holding it in place become loose or rusted. It can also occur when the putty breaks down.
  • If your dishwasher hose connection is loose, this will cause a leak. The problem gets exacerbated if your dishwasher hose itself is also damaged and leaking.
  • If the drain hose is leaking, this can also affect your garbage disposal.

How to Fix a Leaking Garbage Disposal

For certain leaks, you can actually solve the problem yourself. Here are some of the fixes you can try:

  • If the problem is your dishwasher hose, the best thing you can do is to tighten the connecting screws or replace them.
  • For leaks caused by the drain line, simply tighten the connection on the pipe. You can also put in new screws to make sure the connection is stable. If readjustments don’t work, you can remove the pipe and reattach it with the new screws in place.
  • For sink flange issues, you can remove the remaining putty and put on some fresh putty to create a better water seal. Again, you can support this with some screw replacements.
  • If the seal from the bottom of your garbage disposal is worn out, you’ll need to fix all the internal seals. This problem is generally more challenging and will likely require a replacement.


For the most part, a garbage disposal leak should be manageable with the right process. This should help you identify the issues that are causing your garbage disposal to leak and provide a workable solution. However, if you can’t fix the problem because it’s too complicated or severe, you can always reach out to an emergency plumber. 

If you need a quality plumber to fix your issues immediately, contact Candu Plumbing. We offer emergency plumbing and sewer repair in Canoga Park. We’re available 24/7, so give us a call!

Jeremy Parker

Published by
Jeremy Parker

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