At Las Vegas Handyman, one of the most popular calls we get is to repair a garbage disposal. One of the issues is that the garbage disposal can become loose. My guess is that this is probably the result of a careless installation job. However, a garbage disposal does have good torque and maybe if it gets bumped around by an under-counter garbage can, it theoretically could become unseated and vibrate loose (I think this is a stretch, but that’s why the law of probability exists).
A garbage disposal can also become loose if it becomes jammed and instead of using a tool to unjam it, a broomstick is used. This can really cause some issues. Typically the disposal will come with a tool to clear a jam (or you can use an Allen wrench). Short of these, a homeowner will take to a broomstick and insert it into the disposal and try to dislodge it by pushing aggressively on the inside of the unit to free the grinding plate. Sometimes this works, but you can loosen the disposal and you may even be able to see the sink flex.
The repair is simple. The disposal has a mounting ring with ears on it that mate with the mounting assembly attached to the sink. They just fit together and you turn it clockwise until it bottoms out. If you have noticed that the disposal leaks from this area, it may be that that only two of the three ears were engaged. In this case you will have to remove the disposal from the mounting assembly and reinstall it. Of course if you remove the disposal, you will first need to remove anything that might impede its movement. This would include the side drain, and maybe the dishwasher air gap discharge hose. Plus, it’s always a good idea to unplug the disposal. Just line up the ears with the assembly and turn it until it bottoms out.