The Safe Way to Remove Broken Glass from a Garbage Disposal

Accidents happen, especially in the kitchen. While we all know that it’s not worth crying over spilled milk, there are some mishaps that can be a bit more troubling.

One question that our professional plumbers get often from clients is, “How do I get broken glass out of garbage disposal?” We can all imagine how this circumstance would happen by accidentally dropping a glass or ceramic plate into the sink. If some pieces of broken glass end up going down the drain and into the garbage disposal, you may not be sure what to do next.

Expert Garbage Disposal Repair

You likely know that it’s dangerous to reach your hand down into the garbage disposal but you also can’t run the motor without risking shards of glass getting tossed about and possibly damaging the blades and motor.

How to remove broken glass from a garbage disposal

The good news is that this isn’t a hopeless situation. Here are our tips for successfully – and safely – cleaning broken glass out of a garbage disposal.

  1. Switch off the power. The very first thing you should do before retrieving anything down a garbage disposal is cutting off power to the unit. Some models make this easy by having a power switch. Otherwise, you will have to turn off the circuit breaker that services the garbage disposal. It’s always a good idea to test to make sure the unit is really off before moving on to the next step.
  2. Retrieve large pieces with a tool. We’ll say it again. Don’t stick your hands down the garbage disposal – especially when there’s broken glass in it. Instead, try using a pair of needle-nose pliers or a similar tool to pick out the larger pieces of glass. If you have a headlamp, it will make it easier to see down the drain without using any hands.
  3. Manually move the blades. There’s a good chance that some of the glass fell deeper into the canister and you couldn’t reach it with your tool during the first attempt. Since you can’t (and wouldn’t want to) turn on the motor, you can manually move the blades so you can uncover any hidden pieces of glass. You can use your tool to reposition the blades and then look for additional pieces to remove.
  4. Shop-vac the drain. If the glass really shattered and you suspect there are small pieces of glass in the garbage disposal, the next thing to try sucking them out with wet/dry shop vacuum. Use the hose or a narrow accessory that can reach the bottom of the canister. You will likely hear if bits of glass are getting sucked up.
  5. Turn the power back on a test. Once you think you removed all the glass pieces, you can turn the power back on, run the water, and turn on the garbage disposal to test it out. If you hear a loud grinding, that means there’s still some glass interfering with the blades and motor.

Professional garbage disposal service

If you go through this list of steps (even multiple times) and can’t seem to remove the broken glass or another blockage, it may be time to all in a licensed plumber.

For trusted, professional service in Amarillo, TX, and surrounding areas, call Pratt Plumbing. We can help with all your garbage disposal repair and installation needs. To schedule a service visit, call us at (806) 373-7866.

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