Broken Glass in the Garbage Disposal: What to Do and How to Remove It Safely

One accident that can be incredibly frustrating and potentially dangerous is the broken glass falling down the garbage disposal.

The good news is that with some patience and by taking the proper steps, you can safely remove the glass and return to your other kitchen duties. The bad news is that this process may take more time than expected.

How Can I Get a Broken Glass Out Of My Garbage Disposal?

You can remove the glass from a garbage disposal by removing any large pieces of glass, vacuuming the disposal, resetting it, or dislodging the glass by sticking a broom handle or wrench into the bottom or top of your disposal. If none of the steps works, you will have to disconnect the disposal and shake out all the pieces of glass.

Here are some best practices for getting the glass out of your garbage disposal

1. Turn off the Power

This is the first step when cleaning any device connected to your house’s electrical system. If you can, turn off the power at your circuit breaker box or the unit itself so nothing wrong happens to the appliance or home.

It would be best if you kept it turned off to avoid serious injuries from damage caused by the glass.

If you are connecting your device to a power outlet, unplug it from the power chord. If you cannot, remove the fuse first so that you can break at least one of the circuits.

2. Use a Pair of Pliers and Remove Large Glass Pieces

Needle Nose Pliers
Needle Nose Pliers

Put your hands away from the garbage disposal to prevent injuries! Use kitchen tongs or a pair of needle-nose pliers to remove any sizable fragments of shattered glass from the garbage disposal. 

Another efficient method for removing the glass is to chop the bottom of a raw potato large enough to go through the disposal hole. You can pick the glass fragments by pushing the potato onto the disposal’s bottom surface. Doing this will imbed the glass on the potato. You may keep doing this with more potatoes until you stop picking up glasses altogether.

3. Catch Glass Fragments with a Shop Vacuum.

Shop Vacuum
Shop Vacuum

To retrieve the tiny water particles, you can use the long thin attachment of the Shop Vac. It is optimal for reaching into every nook and cranny to suck up the water particles at your disposal.

Wash out the sink with a wet-dry vacuum cleaner to remove tiny shards of glass. Next, plug the nozzle directly into the garbage disposal and allow it to run until you cannot hear anything bubbling up anymore. Suppose there isn’t significant liquid in the sink. In that case, you can also use a regular vacuum, gripping the end of the extension tube with an old stocking tied at around 80 percent capacity to prevent gaps in suction.

This tip suggests covering the openings of your sink. If you have a two-part sink, use tape-like nylon to cover the second hole, blocking any air escaping from that area. Wrap around the vacuum suction rod; this will block air from escaping. Thus, more pressure will be on bits of glass.

Since most vacuums have water inside them, wipe down the vacuum after your job is done, preventing mold from forming.

3. Manually Turn the Blades and Try Again

There’s a fair likelihood that part of the glass fell further into the canister, and you couldn’t reach it with your shop vac during the first effort. The next thing to do is to insert a broom or similar object into the drain (above the sink) and push the blades around a bit. 

Check to see whether the disposal, which is under the sink, has a hex port at the bottom. Insert an Allen wrench into the port and crank back and forth to rotate the masher plate and remove the glass.

Then give the drain another pass with the vacuum. While working with this, it’s also a good idea to have rubber gloves on hand because there could be pieces of hair and dirt that won’t come off easily with just water and regular soap.

4. Reset Your Garbage Disposal

Garbage Disposal
Garbage Disposal

Reconnect the garbage disposal to the power source. Use an old plate to cover the drain, blocking objects from rising into the sink and allowing water to run out.

Turn on the garbage disposal to get rid of any remaining small pieces of glass. Drain is what gets chopped up and washed down the drain, and this process will make cleanup easier.

If your garbage disposal keeps jamming, there may still be glass stuck. Turn the water off immediately, shut off the main switch, and repeat the process from the beginning.

5. Remove The Garbage Disposal From Your Sink

If none of these options work, your best action is to remove the garbage disposal. However, it is best to enlist the help of a friend or family member because most garbage disposals are pretty heavy.

Once you’ve removed the disposal, carefully remove any remaining glass pieces.

Install garbage disposal again following instructions in manual

Safety Tips When Removing Glass from Your Garbage Disposal

1. Run the trash disposal with glass in it. It’s never a good idea to run the disposal with non-food objects, especially glass. Not only do you risk damaging or ruining the device, but you also run the chance of getting hurt from flying glass.

Turning on the garbage disposal while any pieces of glass are in it is not only a bad idea but could also cause glass pieces to shoot out towards you. So until someone can come to fix the problem, we recommend that you stay away from the area, especially without having a pair of pliers and thick kitchen gloves.

2. Stick your hand down the drain. You don’t want to cut your fingers on the garbage disposal blades or the glass you’re trying to remove. Instead, pluck out the larger bits of glass using a tool like a pair of pliers.

Bottom Line

Removing the glass from the garbage disposal as soon as you see it is crucial. If you leave the glass in the garbage disposal, it might explode with glass fragments every time you use it, endangering anyone operating the disposal.

If you use these tips and guidelines for handling glass in disposals, you’ll be able to take out the glass and restore your disposal to full functionality.


Can You Fix a Garbage Disposal Yourself?

Even though you might wish to cut costs, fixing a garbage disposal is not always straightforward. It’s always preferable to consult a professional, mainly if you think the blades in your disposal are broken or if there is glass in your sink.

However, if the issue is relatively small and you are confident in handling it, you may absolutely attempt to fix your garbage disposal yourself.

How Do I Prolong the Life of My Garbage Disposal?

Proper maintenance and food habits are the keys to keeping your waste disposal in operation for longer. It would help if you only disposed of delicate, compactable food items down the drain, and it would help if you avoided bones, kernels, and meat trimmings.

Additionally, it’s a good idea to use boiling water or a cleaner suitable for disposal to clean out your garbage disposal once a month. Running your disposal once a week can maintain your system from rusting and help you develop another helpful habit.

Can You Ruin a Garbage Disposal?

You can definitely damage your garbage disposal depending on what you put in it. In general, hard objects like glass, kernels, and bones can cause havoc in your drain and potentially completely ruin your disposal.

Putting anything else in a garbage disposal can be a costly and risky error since, by their very nature, garbage disposals are only capable of breaking down soft food scraps.

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