Have you ever noticed that black ring of rubber in your sink between you and your garbage disposal? If you have, you already have a pretty good idea of where to find your garbage disposal’s splash guard. This piece of rubber is responsible for preventing your garbage from splashing back up into your pristine sink! I would say that’s quite an important job for a piece of rubber that most people never give much thought to. Without a properly functioning splash guard, you may find that as your garbage disposal is grinding away, small particles end up back in the sink. This can make for quite the messy situation.

Now, if the splash guard is not functioning properly, you should first complete a visual inspection to see if there is anything that is obviously obstructing it. Are you able to see that something is obstructing the splash guard? If so, disconnect the power to the garbage disposal, and then assess how deeply the obstruction is stuck. If it is just stuck in the splash guard, you can now use a pair of needle nose pliers to pull it out. Alternatively, If the splash guard is stuck in the actual garbage disposal, you will now need to use an Allen wrench to turn the blades of your garbage disposal using the hexagon shaped hole on the bottom of the unit. Once the blades stop moving, you know you have cleared way for the offending item to be removed. Use a pair of needle nose pliers to remove them from the splash guard and garbage disposal.

If you find that your splash guard is damaged, you may need to replace it. Once you have obtained the correct replacement splash guard for your unit, you will have to unhook the garbage disposal from your plumbing to be able to install it, Disconnect the power from the garbage disposal unit, and then ensure that you place something underneath the garbage disposal, leaving maybe a fingers’ width between the support and the garbage disposal. Then using a screwdriver, turn the garbage disposal’s locking ring until it falls free from its bracket. Drag the old splash guard out from the drain of the sink, and then replace it with your newly purchased splash guard. Lift the garbage disposal until back into place, and then turn the locking ring in the opposite direction until it is secure. You have now installed your new splash guard and are now free to restore power to your garbage disposal unit.

One final tip for those of you who may be considering changing your splash guard but are unsure if it’s completely necessary. If the issue you are dealing with is a foul smell, you may be able to get rid of it. Generally, you can clean a garbage disposal unit by tossing ice and vinegar into them, but this still may leave build up on the underside of your splash guard. To ensure that this is not the source of your smell issues, turn off the power to your garbage disposal, and then using an old toothbrush, clean the underside of the splash guard. Hopefully after a good cleaning, your kitchen will be back to its good smelling self!

Always be careful never to stick your fingers, or anything you do not wish to lose into your garbage disposal unit. As with all power tools, it’s simply not worth it. When disconnecting power to your unit, do not simply turn off the light switch controlling it. Ensure that you always cut the power at your breaker box.


For more information, contact Vinny’s Jersey Plumbing, located in Wayne, New Jersey.  We also service other towns in New Jersey, such as West Orange, Livingston and Bergenfield.