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Handyman Hint To Remove Broken Glass From Disposal


unjamb disposalA handyman is frequently called to unjamb a garbage disposal. In that case I generally try to coach a customer through the process rather than visit the house and charge them for a 2 minute job. In those cases where glass breaks and goes down the disposal, there are some tricks to removing the glass before you have to remove the disposal from the sink. Naturally, unplug the disposal to avoid injury.

Try to avoid running the disposal if you know there is glass in there. This will further break the glass which will increase the chances of a small piece of glass becoming lodged in between the grinding plate and the side of the grinding chamber. Instead, use a wet/dry shop vacuum and suck out the broken glass. This should clear most, if not all, of the glass. Alternatively, you can pick out the larger pieces of glass with tongs, and then place the vacuum in to the hole.

Although I have never tried it, I have been told cutting a potato in half and pushing it into the disposal to grab the broken glass is effective if you don't have a shopvac.

If the disposal is jammed with broken glass, you can try freeing it up by using an allen wrench or the unjambing tool that came with the disposal. Stick the tool in the bottom of the disposal (underneath where the cord enters the housing) and rotating it back-and-forth. You might find this frees it up temporarily until the loose glass jambs it up again.

As a last resort, remove the disposal form the underside of the sink. You will have to remove the discharge piping and then loosen the collar with a screwdriver. Turn the disposal upside down so that the opening of the disposal is resting on the floor. Use the allen wrench or unjambing tool to try to get the blades to move. With luck, the blades will move enough to allow the small glass fragments to fall out. With the disposal still sealed to the floor, briefly plug the disposal into an outlet to guarantee that it is clear. Be careful on this one. Even though the glass should be contained, it is a good idea to wear safety glasses and take the proper precautions. When it spins freely, re-secure the disposal to the sink.


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