What Happens If Glass Gets In The Garbage Disposal?

Having an accident in the kitchen can be super stressful. Did you break a glass in your sink and don't know what to do about your garbage disposal? Well, we've done some research and have the answers for you. Let's discuss.

If glass gets in your garbage disposal, do not try and reach down to get it. Typically, smaller pieces of glass will filter through your drain into your pipes, which won't require any further action. On the other hand, bigger shards of glass will usually get stuck in your garbage disposal's blades, which you will need to remove carefully.

As we begin, we will cover all things garbage disposals and discuss how to get the glass out of yours. Whether this has happened before or you've never broken glass in the sink, we're here to offer some help. With that said, let's dive right into this post!

Man installing garbage disposal in home, What Happens If Glass Gets In The Garbage Disposal?

What Do You Do If You Get Glass In Your Garbage Disposal?

You want to avoid putting your hands into the drain if you get glass in your garbage disposal. Depending on how big a glass item broke in your sink, this might require you to remove the shards from your drain manually.

Generally, you can do this using a pair of needle-nose pliers, although we recommend calling in a professional if you aren't comfortable. Regardless, make sure not to turn on your disposal while there is glass in it to prevent getting hurt or damaging your sink.

Detail of the plumbing system under a modern kitchen sink, with a plumbers tool tray and equipment.

Can A Garbage Disposal Handle Broken Glass?

Chances are, if you turn on your disposal with glass in it, damage can happen. Although this might be minor, your garbage disposal's blades aren't equipped to break down hard objects like glass.

Turning on a garbage disposal with glass inside is not only a bad idea but can also cause glass pieces to shoot out towards you. So unless you have a pair of pliers and thick kitchen gloves, we recommend staying away from the area until someone can come to fix it.

How Do You Get Glass Out Of The Garbage Disposal?

Garbage Disposal under the modern sink, waste chopper concept

For those with broken glass in their garbage disposal, getting everything out shouldn't be too hard. To begin:

  1. Turn off your garbage disposal/disconnect it from its power source.
  2. Using pliers, remove any large glass pieces you can see in the drain.
  3. Move your disposal's blades to check for any extra shards.
  4. Run water through your disposal, rinsing down any leftover glass.
  5. Keeping the water running, turn on your disposal, and test it.
  6. If all is well, you can resume using your disposal like normal.

If your garbage disposal is making weird sounds or you suspect there's still glass in your drain, we recommend reaching out to a professional and keeping it turned off until then.

Can You Crush Glass In The Garbage Disposal?

You don't want to try and crush the glass inside of your garbage disposal. Like we covered above, turning on your sink's disposal while glass is inside can break its blades and harm you, so try not to do this.

It's also not safe to remove the glass inside your garbage disposal using your hands, so stick with a pair of pliers or a similar-sized tool.

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Can You Ruin A Garbage Disposal?

Depending on what you put in your garbage disposal, you can certainly ruin it. Generally speaking, hard items like glass, bones, and kernels can wreak havoc in your drain, even breaking your disposal altogether.

Garbage disposals, by design, can only break down soft food items, so putting anything else inside can be an expensive and dangerous mistake.

What Is The Worst Thing To Put Down A Garbage Disposal?

Although there are plenty, bones are the worst food-related item you can put down your garbage disposal. Like we said above, kernels are also bad for the disposal, as well as eggshells, fruit pits, fatty foods, and meat trimmings.

In general, it's better only to put soft, easily compactable food down your garbage disposal, so if it feels hard or greasy, toss it in the trash.

Is It Expensive To Repair A Garbage Disposal?

Portrait of a plumber at work

Repairing your garbage disposal can be expensive if the damage is severe. The average cost to have a plumber fix your disposal is between $70 and $400, depending on how complex of a job it is.

They also offer a price estimate for garbage disposal repair reasons, which include:

  • Leaks - $150-$700
  • Clogs - $150-$200
  • Jams - $0-$100
  • Disposals that won't turn on/off - $0-$100

How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Garbage Disposal?

Typically, a new garbage disposal will cost you around $150 before labor and installation. Although this process should be quick, you can also budget for about $50-$75 per hour that a plumber is in your home replacing your disposal.

Of course, pricing will vary depending on where you live and how easy of a job it is but expect to spend around $250 for the entire replacement.

Can You Fix A Garbage Disposal Yourself?

Man installing garbage disposal in home.

Although you might want to save some money, fixing a garbage disposal isn't always easy. Especially if you suspect your garbage disposal's blades are damaged or there is glass inside your sink, it's usually better to call a professional.

With that said, if the problem is relatively minor and you feel confident in your skills, you can certainly try fixing your garbage disposal yourself.

How Do You Reset A Garbage Disposal?

For those wanting to reset their garbage disposal, this is somewhat easy. To start:

  1. Turn off your disposal, making sure its switch is in the "OFF" position.
  2. Find your system's reset button (usually red) and press it.
  3. Turn on your sink, letting the water run through your disposal.
  4. Switch your garbage disposal's switch to "ON," and you're done!

Of course, every garbage disposal will be slightly different, so if yours continues to have problems after resetting it, you might want to schedule an appointment with a plumber.

How Long Will A Garbage Disposal Last?

You can usually expect a garbage disposal to last around ten years on average. Most times, garbage disposals will stay in good shape for around five to eight years before having more frequent issues, eventually leading to a broken system.

That said, with regular maintenance and proper food disposal, you might see your disposal last closer to 15 years, so good upkeep makes a difference.

What Are The Signs Of A Failing Garbage Disposal?

For those with older garbage disposals, there are a few signs that your appliance may be failing. A few common symptoms include:

  • Strange, metal-sounding noises
  • Having to reset your disposal often
  • Frequent/random clogging
  • A disposal that won't turn on/off
  • Constant odor issues
  • Poor performance
  • Water leaks

Regardless of how old your garbage disposal is, if you have any of these problems, it could mean your disposal is defective. So, we recommend reaching out to your appliance's manufacturer.

How Do I Prolong The Life Of My Garbage Disposal?

Stainless steal kitchen sink with water drops

When it comes to keeping your garbage disposal working longer, this all comes down to proper maintenance/food habits. Like we covered earlier, you only want to throw soft, compactable food items down your drain, avoiding things like bones, kernels, and meat trimmings.

It's also a good idea to clean out your disposal monthly using boiling water or a disposal-safe cleaner. Another habit to form is running your disposal weekly, which helps prevent rusting and will keep your system working smoothly.

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To Wrap It Up

Whether you have broken glass in your sink before or this is your first time, knowing what to do can be tricky. From what we found, glass can cause some trouble for both you and your garbage disposal, so it's best to be very careful while cleaning it.

When it comes to getting glass out of your disposal, make sure to wear heavy kitchen gloves and use a pair of needle-nose pliers. It's also a good idea to check your drain for big pieces of glass and make sure to get all of it out before turning your appliance back on.

Regardless, remember to call in a professional if you aren't comfortable handling glass. And don't forget to avoid hard food items when using your garbage disposal.

Made it to the end? Check out these helpful related kitchen posts below!

Badger Garbage Disposal Not Working - What To Do?

How To Unclog A Garbage Disposal With Standing Water

Is Garbage Disposal Considered Plumbing Or An Appliance?

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