What Direction Do Garbage Disposals Spin (And Why)

Garbage disposals function by grinding food down against grated edges, not shredding it with blades like blenders. But what direction do disposals run, and is there a reason for it?

Garbage disposals generally spin clockwise. The primary mechanic of garbage disposals is centrifugal force, which is achieved as the unit spins and grinds food scraps against the grated edges of the disposal. Most garbage disposal models will only spin in one direction, but others can go either way.

There isn’t much of a reason for why garbage disposals spin in the clockwise direction. That’s just the way that they’re usually made! Some disposals can spin in either direction though, which can be useful if there’s a clog or blockage. If you read on, we’ve got more information on disposal that spin counter clockwise and some of the best models that have this feature.

Disposals That Spin Counter-Clockwise

When they’re running normally, almost every garbage disposal will spin in a clockwise pattern. However there have been cases where people have rewired their systems and accidentally reversed the spin direction of the disposal. This is a rare occurrence, but it can happen from time to time.

When disposals are not running, they can usually be manually spun in either direction. The spinning portion sits on the rotator and can turn either way.

If your disposal has something caught around the rotating pieces, it might be helpful to grab a pair of tongs or a butter knife and gently rotate the inside piece back and forth. This technique can loosen anything that’s caught in the mechanisms, while still keeping your hand safe!

So even though disposals typically spin in a clockwise motion, don’t worry too much if your model is going the other way. As long as it’s still doing it’s and clearing out food scraps, you should be good to go.

If you’re still having trouble with it and/or are concerned about the change of direction, you can always contact outside help to check up on it and do some maintenance.

Auto-Reverse Disposals

In some cases, garbage disposals are actually designed to spin in either direction. These models are often called “Auto-reverse disposals“. This is a feature that enables them to spin the opposite direction when they detect a blockage or buildup that’s interfering with their work.

Auto-reverse models usually activate on their own when a jam begins to form. Owners won’t need to do anything as the disposal works. It will begin to rotate back and forth to dislodge clogs or jams.

The disposal will still spin clockwise most of the time, and will usually only spin the other way if it detects a jam.

The auto-reverse feature doesn’t come standard with every garbage disposal, so it’s a good idea to check if your model has this ability. If you notice it spinning in the opposite direction or wiggling back and forth while active, it’s possible that you have an auto-reverse unit!

Best Garbage Disposal With Auto-Reverse Feature

There are a variety of garbage disposals on the market, but not all of them include auto-reverse abilities. Disposals are very useful kitchen appliances, so I would say that this feature is worth looking into if you’re in the market for a new unit.

It’s an extra benefit (with an extra cost) if you’re looking for a disposal that can spin either way and fix its own blockages, so you’ll want to choose one that will last a long time.

So if you’re looking for a great all-around disposal, you can’t go wrong with the InSinkErator PRO1100XL. This comes from a top brand of garbage disposals and it doesn’t disappoint!

InSinkErator PRO1100XL Pro Series

This garbage disposal might be a bit more pricey than some other models, but its high quality design and auto-reverse feature will help keep it in top-notch condition for a long time! Warranties are also available, so you can rest assured that your purchase will be protected for several years.

I don’t know about you, but I hate the loud, grating sounds made by disposal units. You won’t have to worry about that with this model though because it’s designed to be 40% quieter than your average garbage disposal.

This InSinkErator also includes 3 different stages of food grinding with its multi-grind technology. This will help to protect your pipes and plumbing from any large chunks.

The auto-reverse feature helps to keep the whole thing running smoothly with no need for maintenance or manual unclogging. The compact design and stainless steel composition make this a hardy and sturdy unit that will hold up over time.

The video below has more information on this garbage disposal, as well as a demonstration of it in action!

For more information on this unit, including FAQs, customer reviews, pricing and shipping options, visit this link.

If this garbage disposal is a bit too expensive for your needs, or you feel like a different brand would work better, there are other options as well. Not all of these models offer auto-reverse features, but they’ll still get the job done just fine!

Waste King:

This is another big name in the world of garbage disposals. Waste King offers a variety of models, with most of them falling in the $50-$150 range. The easy installation technology and long warranty have made this brand well-liked by customers.

These units have been highly reviewed as well and the positive customer feedback has given Waste King a good reputation as a great supplier of reliable and durable garbage disposals.


Moen is another top-rated seller of disposals. Their products costs are a bit higher than Waste King, but usually lower than InSinkErator. The usual price range you can expect is $90-$200.

Again, not every unit comes with an auto-reverse feature, but most Moen disposals use a powerful magnet system to prevent and remove blockages. These qualities and the great warranties offered by Moen have made them popular with customers. You can count on this company delivering a great unit at the end of the day!

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