How to Remove Broken Glass from a Garbage Disposal

A garbage disposal.
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-50
What You'll Need
Long kitchen tongs
Allen wrench
What You'll Need
Long kitchen tongs
Allen wrench

A garbage disposal can be very efficient and can grind many things well, but large pieces of glass are not among them. Unfortunately, accidents can happen, and if you break glass that falls into your disposal, do not despair. By using the following steps you will be able to remove this glass.

Step 1 - Remove Small Pieces of Glass

First, determine whether the pieces of glass are large and have jammed the disposal blades, or whether they are small enough that your disposal blades still are able to turn. If you have reason to believe the pieces are small, then simply turn on your cold water and the garbage disposal and let it run.

Small pieces will not harm your disposal. In fact, they can actually sharpen its blades. Once you have ground the tiny shards of glass, fill your sink with water and allow it to drain slowly into the disposal, removing any remaining glass that may have been caught in the blades of your disposal.

Step 2 - Remove Larger Pieces of Glass

If you determine that the pieces of glass in your disposal are large ones, do not try to grind them up. If you do, you may jam up the disposal and make it more difficult to remove the glass in it.

Make sure your disposal is turned off, unplugged, and keep your hand out of the disposal. Needless to say, putting your hand down the disposal with the sharp edges of glass will only be asking for trouble. To grip some of the glass pieces, use kitchen tongs.

Carefully reach into your disposal, grasp a piece of glass, remove it, and deposit it in a safe place, such as a plastic bag or garbage can. Repeat this process until you've removed all glass remnants.

Another method that works quite well is to cut the bottom off a large, raw potato that will fit through the opening of the disposal. Then jam the potato down onto the bottom surface of your disposal.

The force of entry will embed some of the glass pieces into the potato. Continue the process with additional potatoes until you have removed all the large glass pieces. Then grind up any pieces that are small enough to avoid jamming up the disposal.

Step 3 - Run the Disposal

When you have removed all the glass from your disposal, turn on the cold water and your disposal to see if the disposal is turning as it should.

Step 4 - Reset the Disposal

If your disposal fails to turn, you may need to reset it. Turn off the power switch, locate the reset button on the bottom of your disposal unit, push the button, and then turn on the power switch again.

Step 5 - Dislodge the Disposal Blades

If a piece of glass has become wedged into the blades and has become lodged, turn off your disposal, insert an Allen wrench into the socket on the bottom surface of your disposal, and turn the wrench. When the blades become free again, remove the wrench and turn on the power.