So, you’ve just discovered that there is glass inside your garbage disposal. Glass inside of your garbage disposal can be detrimental to the blades and function of the whole component. If you’ve broken glass, you’ll need to have the shards removed before continuing to use it.
To safely remove broken glass from the garbage disposal FIRST turn off all electricity to the source. Next, use grill tongs, pliers, or long tweezers to grab the glass and slowly bring out the glass. If you believe there are still tiny shards of glass you can use a shop vacuum with a skinny attachment.
Now that we discussed safety let’s go over the steps you will need to take to safely remove the glass from your disposal.
How To Safely Remove Broken Glass From A Garbage Disposal
As you probably already knew, it’s extremely dangerous to put your hand down the drain to your garbage disposal and should never be done- EVER. But it’s also dangerous to run the disposal to try and get them out, as it can cause a lot of unnecessary damage to your system.
So, here is how you might safely get all the glass or ceramic pieces out of your disposal without having to use either the machine or your hands.
Step 1: Unplug and Turn Off The Power
Before assessing the glass pieces, you MUST turn off the power. Unplug the whole system, cutting off power to the unit.
You run the risk of harming either yourself or the garbage disposal if you attempt to dislodge anything while it’s plugged in so this step is ESSENTIAL before moving forward.
After you unplug or turn off the power, make sure it is really off by testing the power switch. Once you are positive there is no chance of it turning on, you can go to the next step.
Step2: Use Pliers To Remove Large Pieces
Gather your tools before entering the garbage disposal. What many consumers find works best is needle-nose pliers or tweezers when it comes to the successful retrieval of the shards.
Please do not approach the glass without one of these tools- your hands do not make a good tool. You risk injury since you cannot properly see how much glass or shards is really present.
If you have someone handy, they can hold a flashlight so that you can better assess the situation. Headlamps also help if you have one available to you. Pick out all of the visible pieces from the garbage disposal with your pliers or tweezers before moving to the next step.
Step 3: Move The Blades
Using the tools you have at hand, manually move each blade. Since the pieces can sometimes be so small, there’s a solid chance that some fell deeper into the abyss of your garbage disposal that you may not have been able to see during your first retrieval.
Move each blade with your tool of choice to uncover the pieces of glasses that were hidden. Repeat the glass retrieval as you did in the prior step SAFELY with your tweezers or needle-nose pliers.
Go through each blade to ensure there is no more glass beneath. Once finished, you can reposition them as they were once you’ve completed this step.
Step4: Use a Wet/Dry Vacuum to Remove Small Pieces
If you’re sensing that the glass has truly shattered into tiny pieces, you can also use a shop vacuum if you have one handy. This is the best and easiest way to get the pieces out without having to take the extra time to search with a flashlight and hand tool.
A lot of shop vacs include a skinny attachment which is ideal for the drain, as it fits right down in there and you can suck out all of the glass shards effortlessly. Use your thinnest attachment to start sucking out the pieces. Once you no longer hear anything being sucked up, you’re good to go!
Step 5: Replug, Reset, and Test
Once you’ve completed retrieval of all the glass shards, remove your tools or vacuum hose from the drain. You can now turn the power back on. To test it out, you should run the water while you turn on the disposal, letting it run for a minute or two.
This ensures that all of the remaining bits and debris are cleared. If you still hear a loud grinding noise, that means that you have to repeat the steps above to remove more glass.
If you don’t hear anything out of the normal, you are free to use your garbage disposal again as you typically would.
Remember To Not Stress & Be Safe
This occurrence is fairly common. Of course, everyone has encountered breaking a dish or glass in their sink once in a while so it’s bound to get into the garbage disposal at some point or another.
If you are interested in what can go in your garbage disposal check out our other posts on the topic.
Hopefully, you will be able to address the issue without calling a technician out for assistance. However, if you are not sure, it’s better to call a plumber.
Ruben has a diverse background in the home services industry, with experience running a construction company, a kitchen and bath showroom, and a moving and relocation company. This breadth of experience has provided him with a wealth of knowledge and expertise in various areas of home improvement in general and specifically in the heating and plumbing niche.