How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, 16 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time.

This article has been viewed 228,267 times.

Did your old garbage disposal finally break down? Installing a new garbage disposal isn’t difficult as long as you have the right tools and materials. Make sure you have the right type of disposal for your plumbing, then follow these instructions to have your disposal working in no time.

  • If you have children who will be using the disposal, consider getting a batch feed disposal rather than a continuous feed disposal. Batch feed disposals, which are a bit more expensive, require the use of a stopper prior to operation, which can be safer in households with kids. Continuous feed disposals start running when you flip a switch and keep running when you switch it off. If someone drops a utensil down the drain or sticks their hand inside, this can be a dangerous situation. [1] X Trustworthy Source Consumer Reports Nonprofit organization dedicated to consumer advocacy and product testing Go to source
  • Choose a motor that’s right for your household. Models with lower horsepower, usually about 1/3, are suitable for small households with a small amount of food waste. Models with 1/2 horsepower are better for larger households with more food waste. [2] X Trustworthy Source Consumer Reports Nonprofit organization dedicated to consumer advocacy and product testing Go to source
  • Consider the features you want the disposal to have. For a higher price, you can buy a disposal made to function more quietly, one made from stainless steel, or one that connects to your dishwasher.
  • If your plumbing is connected to a septic tank, you need to buy a disposal made especially for septic tanks.
  • A screwdriver
  • A disposer wrench
  • A hacksaw
  • Water pump pliers
  • Plumber’s putty
  • Electrical cord
  • Safety supplies, including goggles and a dust mask
  • Working from beneath the sink, use a screwdriver to screw the mounting ring tightly against the sink. It helps to alternate sides, screwing one screw and switching to the other, so that the mounting ring tightens evenly.
  • Some of the plumber’s putty will have squeezed out around the flange. Use a knife to trim it away.

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

Related wikiHows

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

  1. ↑
  2. ↑
  3. ↑
  4. ↑
  5. ↑
  6. ↑

About This Article

To install a new garbage disposal, start by removing the old disposal and taking apart the rest of the mounting assembly. Then, attach the wires in your new disposal according to the manufacturer’s instructions, insert the drain flange, and screw the disposal into the mounting ring. Afterwards, connect the disposal to the sink trap and the dishwasher discharge tube. Finally, run water into the sink and turn on the disposal to make sure that it works. To learn more, including how to figure out what kind of garbage disposal you need, scroll down.

This garbage disposer must be connected to a grounded, metal, permanent wiring system; or an equipment-grounding conductor must be run with the circuit conductors and connected to the equipment-grounding terminal or lead on the garbage disposer.

Connect garbage disposal into properly grounded outlet (see hardwiring instructions below).

  • Outlet must be 110-120 volt, 60 Hz AC current only.
  • If a properly grounded 110-120 volt, 60Hz AC outlet is not available, have a proper outlet installed by a qualified electrician.
2. Above Deck Requirements

Outlet must be controlled by a dedicated wall switch with a marked “off” position, and have a proper switch installed by a certified electrician.

  • Wall switches are generally located on the wall behind the sink

Switch must be mounted within sight of sink opening or garbage disposal

3. Hardwiring The Garbage Disposal

Turn power off at circuit breaker or fuse box.

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

1. Remove the metal plate on the bottom of the garbage disposal.

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

2. Using wire cutters, cut the white neutral and black hot wires close to the connectors and cut the green ground wire just before the groove where the cord enters the garbage disposal.

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

3. Pull the electrical cord out of the housing.

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

4. Install cable connector (not included) into the access hole and secure it by tightening the nut.

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

5. From wall, insert power supply cable through the connector and tighten connector.

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

6. Connect internal disposal lead wires to coordinating wire lead from electrical source. Connect white to white, black to black or red, and green ground wire to the ground lead with wire nuts (not included).

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

7. Push wires into garbage disposal and replace the metal bottom plate (Do not displace plastic shield with label).

Still Not Finding What You’re Looking For?

Garbage disposals (sometimes called food disposers) can be connected to the electrical power supply in one of two ways. They are sometimes hardwired directly into a dedicated circuit, or they can be wired with an appliance cord that plugs into a wall outlet that is usually located inside the sink base cabinet.

When hardwired, the disposal is connected to a switch that is installed in an electrical box either in the sink base cabinet or on a wall near the sink. If the switch is near the sink, there’s usually a second box, serving as a junction box, inside the cabinet. Any exposed wiring inside the cabinet should be protected by flexible metal conduit (BX cable, or “Greenfield”).

With the plug-in configuration, the disposal cord plugs into an outlet (receptacle) located inside the sink cabinet. The outlet is controlled by a wall switch, which is usually located on the wall near the sink. The outlet is often wired as a split receptacle so that only one half of the outlet is controlled by the switch; the other half is always powered and can be used for another appliance, such as a water filter or dishwasher.

Cords are not sold with disposals and must be purchased separately. Be sure to use a grounded cord with the appropriate voltage and amperage ratings for your garbage disposal. It’s usually easier to connect the cord to the disposal before mounting the disposal under the sink, but you can also complete the wiring after the unit is mounted.

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

Garbage Disposal is an amazing appliance that helps to break down food washed into your sink drain and prevent the pipes from getting clogged. So, it is important to install the garbage disposal switch near the countertop so that you can switch it on easily whenever required.

Installing a garbage disposal switch is a complicated process that requires prior knowledge and experience working with the electrical components. So, before starting the installation process, make sure you have proper knowledge, skills, and tools to complete the installation. Otherwise, for your safety, call an electrician.

Basic Information About Garbage Disposal Wiring

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

After running the wires from the garbage disposal to the switch area, you will be left with a box with wires coming out of it and no switch to plugin your garbage disposal. Installing a garbage disposal switch involves different wirings and outlets. Let’s make you familiar with the wires before starting the installation process.

  • Nowadays, electrical installations in homes have a dedicated circuit for your garbage disposal and the dishwasher and as they are generally installed together, the outlet is comprised of two parts, when divided, the top outlet is controlled by the switch, where your garbage disposal will be installed, and the bottom outlet remain always on which you can connect with your dishwasher.
  • The black wire is the hot wire, which goes through the circuit breaker, and the output of the circuit breaker is divided into two branches, one gets connected to the garbage disposal and the other one is connected to the outlet.
  • The neutral wire is a white wire which directly goes to the outlet.
  • The green wire is the ground wire, both outlet and garbage disposal should have ground wire connected.
  • The red wire runs from garbage disposal to the outlet.

Tools Required to Install a Garbage Disposal Switch

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

  • Outlet box extender
  • Outlet
  • Switch
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Screwdriver
  • Wire stripper
  • Electrical tape

Steps to Install a Garbage Disposal Switch

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

Step 1 – Firstly, pull out all the wires and test the power to make sure there is not any current running. You can use a voltage tester to test it. If it lights up the power is still there and if not, then you are good to go.

Step 2 -We have to add the outlet box extender. We have to put it in the hole bypassing all the wires through it. This box allows you to mount your outlets on the wall and helps to protect the wires from the inside.

Step 3 – Strip the ground wire with the help of a wire stripper, turn the wire around the ground screw with the help of a needle-nose plier and tighten the ground screw with a screwdriver.

Step 4 – On the outlet, the dark-colored screw is for dark wires (black wire), and the light-colored screws are for light wire(white wire).

On the top part of the outlet, you have to connect the garbage disposals hot and neutral wires, and on the bottom part, you have to connect the hot wire and neutral wire of the dishwasher.

Strip the black wire and white wires to about three-quarter inches, turn it with needle-nose pliers, insert it in their respective screws and tighten the screws.

Wiring of your outlet is complete, now secure the wires with the help of electrical tape and screw the outlet on the outlet box.

Step 5 – Now, we will install the switch for the garbage disposal.

Wrap the green ground wire around the ground nut and tighten the screws. On the switch, there will be two copper screws. On the top one, you have to connect the red wire which is coming from your garbage disposal. Insert the wire with the help on pliers and tighten the screws. Similarly, insert the black wire in the bottom screw and tighten the screw with the screwdriver.

Install the switch on the outlet box. Make sure it is facing in the right direction. Generally, to identify the direction, you can find a small gold metal plate on the top of the switch.

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

Please keep in mind that we may receive a small commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.

I took out my kitchen and took some photos of the “old” kitchen’s garbage disposal wiring:

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

As you can see, it has 2 black lines connected but only one white line connected, while one is capped off.

I know the main purpose is to use the switch to control one of the outlets BUT isn’t this is the right way to wire it?

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

I am a bit confused about the two setups and differences.

The thing is I tried to follow the diagram above and couldn’t get the switch to control the outlet and it was ALWAYS ON.

2 Answers 2

There’s not quite enough information here to answer your question. But we can try after making a couple assumptions.

From what I gather the picture is of the outlet box and the garbage disposal plugs into the top outlet. Presumably the cable exiting at the top of this box is from the supply (or else the disposal would never run). The rest of your question implies that there is a switch box as well so I assume the cable exiting to the right leads to a 2-pole switch? You’re trying to understand how to wire this switch such that the top outlet in the outlet box can be switched.

If my understanding of your question is correct then the switch is on a switch loop and the diagram you have posted does not apply. Instead wire as follows. Connect supply black to switch loop black. Re-identify the switch loop white cable as black and connect it to upper outlet hot. Leave the supply white connected to neutral outlet. With the hot tab jumper in place this will get you a switched outlet (both receptacles).

If you wish to switch only the top receptacle break the hot tab on the receptacle and connect supply black to the bottom hot side of the outlet. Use a pigtail since supply black is now feeding the switch loop and the lower receptacle.

We moved into a new house last week. I was greeted with a faulty garbage disposal switch in the kitchen. The switch works intermittently depending on how hard it’s pressed.

The second issue was the GFCI duplex receptacle on the right of the switch, was not working at all. A reset did nothing.

So I figured I’d replace the GFCI duplex with a new one from the hardware store. After installing that, the new GFCI would not turn on either, despite 120v power to the line terminals (as tested with my meter).

So I disconnected the load wires (pictured on the bottom), and the GFCI started working. The garbage switch continued to work (albeit just as flakey as before). Obviously the downstream receptacle (on the left) that was connected to load (on the right), wont work if it’s disconnected.

So I’m wondering should I just replace the switch combo and wire it the same? Or maybe the thing is not wired correctly to begin with. Unfortunately I’m unable to ask anyone about what occurred here.

For reference this is a 2-gang box with 4 wires coming in (actually 5 if you include the ground on the left).

As they say though, a picture is worth a thousand words 🙂 Any help would be great!

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch(

Electrical Wiring Diagram for a Garbage Disposal and Dishwasher

How to Install and Wire a Garbage Disposal

These wiring diagrams show typical connections.
The diagram above shows the power entering into the circuit at the switch box location, then sending one power line for the dishwasher and a switched leg for the garbage disposal.

The diagram below shows the power entering the circuit at the grounded outlet box location, then sending power up to the switch and a switched leg back down to the outlet.

Notice that these outlets have the tab removed from the “hot” side or Brass side of the outlet which allows the top half of the plug to be controlled only from the switch while the bottom end of the outlet remains “hot” all the time. This is shown in the pictures below.

Disposal Wiring Diagram #1

Disposal Wiring Diagram #2

The Process for Wiring a Switched Garbage Disposal with an Optional Dishwasher

Step One

Step Two

Step Three

Step Four

Step Five

Step Six

Step Seven

Step Eight

Step Nine

Additional Resources

Instruction Manual for a Garbage Disposal

Identifying the Wires of a Disposal Cord

George, from Austin, Texas asks:
I want to connect a power source to a garbage disposal and however, the power source cable does not have a white cable as instructions state, instead has two black cables, one soft and other rugged or with lines. Which wire represents the white? Any help is greatly appreciated.
Great website – Very complete and helpful!

Dave’s Reply:
Disposal Cords often have the same color insulation for all of the wires so it ca be very difficult to tell which wire is which, however there is one way to know which wire is for the hot and which is the neutral:
The smooth wire is for the hot or connects to the Black wire of the disposal.
The wire with lines is used for the neutral and connects to the White wire of the disposal.
The center wire is typically the ground and in most cases the ground wire, and with some cords the ground wire has green insulation.
Be sure to use a two screw cord connector when attaching the cord to the disposal.

Kitchen Disposal Wiring

You saved me a lot of headache!

Dave’s Reply:
Your Welcome Steve!

I’m glad this helped you with your kitchen disposal wiring.

Disposal Wiring Made Easy

Excellent article and diagram Dave.

If I didn’t know better I would think I was an electrician.

Well thank you very much, Nelson!
Many Handymen and Handy women are Fine Basic Electricians with a great deal of potential.
I’m glad this disposal wiring diagram was helpful for you.

More about Wiring a Disposal Switch

Garbage Disposal Electrical Wiring Diagram

How to Wire a Switch and Outlet for a Garbage Disposal: Disposal wiring diagrams with pictures for wiring the outlet.

Kitchen Disposal Switch Wiring

How to Electrical Wiring for a Kitchen Disposal Switch

Electrical Wall Switch Variations

How to Wire Switches for a Light and Garbage Disposal – Either Leviton or Lutron will have a switch that will take care of your application. Another option would be to purchase an Insinkerator switch package.

Learn more about wiring a disposal switch

« Home Receptacle Outlets Switched Outlet »

Electrical Wiring Tips for Home Electrical Wiring Projects

See more House Wiring Videos from Ask The Electrician:

Home Electrical Wiring Videos

Learn more with my Home Electrical Video Course:

Basic Home Electrical Wiring by Example

» You Can Avoid Costly Mistakes! «

Here is How to Do It:
Wire It Right with the help of my Illustrated Wiring Book

Great for any Home Wiring Project.

Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring

Perfect for Homeowners, Students,
Handyman, Handywomen, and Electricians
Wiring GFCI Outlets
Wiring Home Electric Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
Wiring Light Switches
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Electric Range
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Dryer Cord and Dryer Outlet
How to Troubleshoot and Repair Electrical Wiring
Wiring Methods for Upgrading Electrical Wiring
NEC Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
. and much more.

Wiring Electrical Outlets

Wiring Outlets

Wiring GFCI Outlets

120 Volt Outlets

FAQ’s about Outlets

Outlets Not Working

» How To Wire It RIGHT! «
Wire it with Confidence!
Fully Illustrated
Instant Download
How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch
Now You Can
Wire it like a Pro!

Recent Testimonials

I think your site offers the the clearest and best electrical information for homeowners I have ever seen on the net.You have given me confidence to do my own projects which I never had before. THANK YOU!
Paul, from Foxboro, Massachusetts

I wish I found this site earlier, it is by far the best electrical related resource I have found on the web.
George, from Scranton, Pennsylvania

I love this site for an office worker that does not know anything about electric wiring.
Bill, from New York City, New York

This site is so much better than the 3 books I just bought, I wish I came here first.
Collin, from Grand Rapids, Michigan

Thank you for answering my question.
I was able to get this done. This site is perfect. I am glad I found it. Please keep it going.
Mike, from Chicago, Illinois

Traditionally garbage disposal switches are wall-mounted. But they pose a risk of electric shock as most people operate them while their hands are wet.

That’s why many companies came up with the idea of an air switch.

An air switch has no direct electrical connections. A remote switch is operated by it with the help of a puff of air.

Then came wireless switches. As you guessed, these switches operate wirelessly.

How to wire a garbage disposal to a switch

And the latest in the market is ‘Toe Kick’ switches.

  1. Air switch
  2. Wireless switch
  3. Toe kick switch

What’s the difference between these three? Which would be a better switch for your garbage disposal?

Let’s see in detail:

Air Switch

  1. Air switch
  2. airtight hose
  3. power control unit

The air switch is basically a push button that can be mounted on the countertop or the sink. It is connected to an airtight hose. The other end of the hose is connected to the power control unit which in turn is connected to the power supply on one end and the garbage disposal on the other.

When the air switch button is pushed, a pulse of air travels to the power control unit which turns on a switch. As a result, the power control unit activates the garbage disposal.

As the switch doesn’t come in direct contact with any electrical circuits the chances of getting an electric shock is zero.

  • Complete safety from electrical shocks
  • Available in different shades that complement countertop designs
  • Installation costs
  • Have to drill the countertop for installation
  • The air switch may corrode due to its proximity with chemicals used to clean the countertop

Best air switch for garbage disposals

  • Three switch cover options to match any countertop designs. The options include chrome, red oil bronze or satin brushed nickel.
  • 6 ft power cord & air hose.
  • A secondary outlet for an alternate appliance
  • An affordable and most popular choice

If you want more options, check my list of the best air switches for garbage disposals.

Wireless Switch

  1. Push button
  2. Wireless power module

In the case of a garbage disposal wireless switch, the power module is simply plugged into the power supply socket just like you connect an adapter plug. And like an adapter, this module also has a socket to which the garbage disposal cord is connected.

Once you push the button it activates the power module which in turn activates the disposer. Simple, huh?

This is much easier to install than an air switch and can be operated from a distance though no one will practically do that.

You can keep the push button anywhere, like in a drawer or just mount it on the wall using a 3M tape.

  • Simple installation
  • Zero chance of electric hazards
  • Zero wires
  • Affordable pricing
  • No chances of corrosion
  • Not as good looking as an air switch

Best wireless switch

  • Easy to install
  • range up to 15 meters
  • can be used to operate any switches
  • Best for disposals <1.5HP

Here is a longer list of wireless garbage disposal switches for your reference.

Toe Kick switch

This is actually a foot switch that is designed uniquely for garbage disposals. TOEKICKswitch is actually a trademarked name, and as far as I know, this product is made only by that company.

As the name indicated you just kick the switch with your tow to turn on the disposer.

This is how it works;

The toe kick switch is very similar to an air switch minus the air. This switch is directly connected with the electric circuit so theoretically, this has more chance of causing an electric shock.

On the good side, I should say the design is neat, and is pretty good at preventing accidental operations.

  • No Extra holes needed
  • Easy to install – Read installation guidelines here.
  • Hidden from view installation
  • A product yet to be proven in the market

Air switch vs wireless switch vs TOEKICK – which is better

Personally, I will go with the wireless one. It is more affordable, easy to install, easy to operate and without any major cons.

A few years back I bought a garbage disposal for the first time in my life. And the buying experience wasn’t good. There were lots of models in the market, and I was not sure about which one to buy. They all looked the same to me. So once I went through the experience I started this blog to randomly write things about garbage disposals. Then I got really interested in the subject and started to write comparisons of very similar garbage disposals with each other. A lot of my readers find them very useful in making the right buying choice. I hope it helps you too.

Recent Posts

Most people, including myself, have spent most of their life thinking of a garbage disposal as a terrible ring of slicing blades that eviscerated anything that runs through them. However, that may.

If you’re installing your own garbage disposal or having one installed for you, you might be worried about the logistics of it. Is there anything you need to do in order to better prepare. Do you.

report this ad

About Us

DisposalXT is a platform that reviews and compares different types of waste receptacles like garbage disposals, trash cans, trash compactors and such. Our sole aim is to make it easy for people to find the right equipment for them from a myriad of similar products.

report this ad


Please check the warranties of the products reviewed in this website with their original manufacturers as they may change over time based on their company policies. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to We also participate in other affiliate programs as well where we earn commissions from referals and sales thorugh this website. report this ad