#1  
Old 02-17-2020, 12:31 AM
Jim B.'s Avatar
Jim B. is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 2,109

Glass In Garbage Disposal.


Sunday (yesterday as I write this EST), the guy who helps me clean came over. He was trying to organize the glasses on a small shelf on the sink, when the whole thing tumbled over. At first I thought he broke my expensive and treasured glasses in the dry rack.

Anyway I still was given serious cause for concern. Apparently some of the chards fell in the garbage disposal.

He turned it on, and it made a terrible sound. Then it stopped.

IAE he claimed it all went down. But garbage disposals aren't made for glass. So surely it didn't.

I was talking to his wife on the phone. And I said maybe I could pop a potato in the disposal. First she said that would be a good idea, but then she recanted.

Also I could call a plumber. But he only takes cash. And what could he do?

Any advice you have to give would be kindly received.

__________________
"Love takes no less than everything." (from "Love Is", a duet by Vanessa Williams and Brian McKnight)
  #2  
Old 02-17-2020, 12:41 AM
Beckdawrek's Avatar
Beckdawrek is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Boonies??
Posts: 22,180
I think you're gonna need a plumber. IMO

P.S. do not put a potato in there and run. Leave it turned off.

Last edited by Beckdawrek; 02-17-2020 at 12:42 AM.
  #3  
Old 02-17-2020, 01:13 AM
nelliebly is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Washington
Posts: 2,801
Do you have a shop vac? You might be able to get the glass out yourself using this method:
  #4  
Old 02-17-2020, 01:44 AM
kaylasdad99 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Anaheim, CA
Posts: 32,899
When you say ”Then it stopped.” do you mean the garbage disposal stopped, or the awful sound stopped (and the garbage disposal kept running and sounding like an empty garbage disposal)?

And why a potato?

Last edited by kaylasdad99; 02-17-2020 at 01:45 AM.
  #5  
Old 02-17-2020, 05:00 AM
cmore is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Posts: 122
garbage disposers have a resettable breaker on them that will trip if the motor locks up. it's a button on the bottom.

also on the bottom is a female hex fitting that is at the bottom of the motor shaft.

you use a 1/4" Allen key to put in the fitting to rotate the motor around each direction a couple times, reset the tripped breaker button, run some water and turn it on to see how it does.

in your situation, try to get any remaining glass out that's on top of the rotor plate 1st, then do what I mentioned directly above, and let it rip.

98% chance you're fine. if it's damaged by this occurrence, it was likely on its last leg to begin with. garbage disposers are pretty tough.
  #6  
Old 02-17-2020, 07:33 AM
Cheesesteak's Avatar
Cheesesteak is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Lovely Montclair, NJ
Posts: 14,121
If it simply stopped making horrible noises, the glass has been pulverized and went down the drain. If you are concerned, put a handful of ice cubes down there and run it again. Glass is very breakable and won’t stick to itself and make a clog. You may also want to fill up the basin and then drain it to get a big slug of water going down the drain to flush any leftover bits into the sewer.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  #7  
Old 02-17-2020, 07:46 AM
Joey P is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 30,026
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheesesteak View Post
If it simply stopped making horrible noises, the glass has been pulverized and went down the drain. If you are concerned, put a handful of ice cubes down there and run it again. Glass is very breakable and won’t stick to itself and make a clog. You may also want to fill up the basin and then drain it to get a big slug of water going down the drain to flush any leftover bits into the sewer.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I agree, if you just meant the noise stopped, it's fine. The inside of the disposal is made of steel, it'll crush the glass just fine, and, contrary to popular belief, there's no knives or blades in there*, so nothing is going to get dull. Ice, fruit pits, bones etc, can all go down to help clean it. They'll make a god-awful noise, but they're not going to hurt anything.

As for the glass, my biggest concern would be that a shard would fly back out and hit you or land on the floor where you'll step on it. It doesn't matter now, but I probably would have held something over the disposal just to contain anything that tried to come out.
IMO, as long as it's not something really thick (like the a measuring cup), it'll be safer to wash it down than to try to get it out.


*A garbage disposal works more like a food mill than a food processor. There's holes along the outside edge and the impellers force the food through them.
  #8  
Old 02-17-2020, 09:38 AM
Isosleepy's Avatar
Isosleepy is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Pittsburgh
Posts: 2,132
If the garbage disposal is making no noise at all, (and obviously isn’t moving) it’s breaker is tripped.
If it’s making a humming sound but not turning, the impellers are blocked ( and pretty soon the breaker will trip and there will be no sound whatsoever)
Garbage disposals are incredibly sturdy, but do have a finite life span. (10-15 years) It is possible you are now confronted with this.
More likely is that you need to remove an obstruction.
Before you do that, know that the garbage disposal probably is the most contaminated spot in your house.
If you have a cut on your hand, you are asking for bad things if you stick it down there.
If it weren’t glass you are dealing with, a glove would do the trick, but you are, so you run the risk of a cut - opening yourself up (ha!) to risk of infection.
Anytime you stick your hand down the garbage disposal, you need to be sure the button is and will stay in off position. Smarter to also disengage the breaker for that group at the panel, but many will see this as an excess of caution.
In your case I would stick a shopvac down the disposal, if not available, even a regular vacuum cleaner hose.
Then I would manually rotate the disposal (insert an Allen key in the hex-slot at the bottom, move it back and forth.). If there is still glass in the disposal, this will sound like the world is about to end. That’s what makes it fun- don’t let it stop you! Again, disposals are very robust- if this does break yours, it was time for a new one.
Keep going back and forth until you can rotate it easily.
At that point, cover the disposal hole in the sink, push (reset) the little button at the bottom of the disposal. Then then turn it on. Odds are, it will run. Remove the cover, run water.
Feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment, save $125 on plumber show-up fees.
If it doesn’t run, pay the plumber - initially to do what I outlined here, then to replace the unit. Or you Can YouTube how to replace a garbage disposal. Depending on the space below the sink, that job can range from no biggie to major pain.

Last edited by Isosleepy; 02-17-2020 at 09:42 AM.
  #9  
Old 02-17-2020, 11:01 AM
Napier is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Mid Atlantic, USA
Posts: 9,794
I think the disposer would probably eat all the glass without a problem. It's questionable enough that I wouldn't recommend this as a way to get rid of your unwanted glassware, and if there are solid chunks as big as an olive they may not break up. But I bet most broken glasses would probably pass through the thing without hurting it.
  #10  
Old 02-17-2020, 11:43 AM
AHunter3's Avatar
AHunter3 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: NY (Manhattan) NY USA
Posts: 20,980
Yeah, they're designed to make a valiant attempt on things that are nearly as hard as glass and a lot less inclined to shatter and therefore get out of the way of the blades. Big heavy pork bones and turkey bones and the like. Or peach pits. Generally speaking, the homeowner is going to turn the thing off, cuss, and pull out the bone / pit, but they're kind of built with the expectation that what goes down there may include that kind of thing and the presence of such should not break the apparatus.

What's far more problematic to the device (speaking from experience) is the presence of a tough cloth abrasive dishrag.
  #11  
Old 02-17-2020, 12:03 PM
filmore is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 4,897
As others have mentioned, if you turn it on and there's absolutely no noise, the likely cause is the breaker on the disposal has popped and will need to be reset. A stuck disposal will still make noise from the motor trying to turn. But very hard stuff like glass might get caught in places which make it hard for the blades to turn and they may be stuck. One option might be to get some Pam oil spray and spray it all around the inside of the disposal and maybe that would help lubricate the blockage so the blades could move again. You can also put something like a wooden dowel in the disposal to try to rotate the blades yourself. Obviously doing things like this have inherent dangers, so be sure the power is off before trying things like this. I have personally done both of these things to unstuck disposals, but in my case they were stuck because the disposal was old and was rusting out.

If nothing works, then you may need to replace the disposal. It's a reasonably straightforward task that you can likely do yourself and the parts will be about $150. It's in the class of home repair tasks that homeowners should tackle themselves rather than call a pro.
  #12  
Old 02-17-2020, 01:08 PM
Joey P is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 30,026
Quote:
Originally Posted by AHunter3 View Post
What's far more problematic to the device (speaking from experience) is the presence of a tough cloth abrasive dishrag.
Or that little plastic ring from a milk container. Those things will spin around in there for days, even with everything else going right past it.
  #13  
Old 02-17-2020, 01:15 PM
beowulff's Avatar
beowulff is online now
Member
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Scottsdale, more-or-less
Posts: 17,263
Pfft.
Glass? Like a drinking glass?
Any decent disposer will grind that up without a sweat.
  #14  
Old 02-17-2020, 02:08 PM
Ignotus is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 1,439
Quote:
Originally Posted by beowulff View Post
Pfft.
Glass? Like a drinking glass?
Any decent disposer will grind that up without a sweat.
Next, we'll try a fork.

(Americans. Meat-grinders in their sinks instead of sieves!)
  #15  
Old 02-17-2020, 03:08 PM
nelliebly is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Washington
Posts: 2,801
The link I posted early in the thread details how to fix the problem by using a wet/dry vac to get out the glass shards that could potentially fly out and hurt someone. It then takes the OP step by step through the process of removing the hex screw at the bottom and cleaning it out from there.
  #16  
Old 02-17-2020, 05:17 PM
Kropotkin is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: North
Posts: 925
In my second or third experience with a running garbage disposal, I accidentally dropped an expensive paring knife down it, handle first. The disposal was running, and the knife shot straight back up. I caught it and have rarely used the disposal since, figuring my luck has been used up
  #17  
Old 02-17-2020, 05:49 PM
WildaBeast's Avatar
WildaBeast is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Folsom, CA
Posts: 1,174
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ignotus View Post
Next, we'll try a fork.
I feel like this line of discussion is heading towards something like those "Will it Blend?" videos on YouTube.
  #18  
Old 02-17-2020, 06:30 PM
Cheesesteak's Avatar
Cheesesteak is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Lovely Montclair, NJ
Posts: 14,121
Quote:
Originally Posted by AHunter3 View Post

What's far more problematic to the device (speaking from experience) is the presence of a tough cloth abrasive dishrag.

The worst thing I ever had in mine was a couple of date pits. They occupy that tiny space of material design where they break up small enough to get wedged in the gaps of the disposal, but are tough enough to not break down any smaller. All they do is get stuck between the moving parts and wait for you to turn the motor off, rendering the disposal unable to start back up. Had to unmount mine, and bring it to my workbench and pick out each piece one by one.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  #19  
Old 02-18-2020, 12:35 AM
Jim B.'s Avatar
Jim B. is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 2,109
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaylasdad99 View Post
When you say ”Then it stopped.” do you mean the garbage disposal stopped, or the awful sound stopped (and the garbage disposal kept running and sounding like an empty garbage disposal)?

And why a potato?
Sorry. I meant the disposal stopped making that horrible sound. It's still roaring and rrr-ing as far as I know (though I haven't had the nerve to run it since that day).

BTW my friend talked to the plumber. He is in Florida for some reason. And like someone else suggested, he said try ice.

Why try a potato? I don't know. Why does a potato make anymore or any less sense than ice? A potato is nice and fibrous after all. Just saying.
__________________
"Love takes no less than everything." (from "Love Is", a duet by Vanessa Williams and Brian McKnight)
  #20  
Old 02-18-2020, 03:17 AM
AHunter3's Avatar
AHunter3 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: NY (Manhattan) NY USA
Posts: 20,980
I thought the "potato" advice had to do with removing any remaining large chunks of glass. They'd embed in the potato and you can then lift it, and them, back out. Not relevant once the grinding clashing sound has stopped and it's still whirring.
  #21  
Old 02-18-2020, 07:52 AM
Joey P is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 30,026
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
Sorry. I meant the disposal stopped making that horrible sound. It's still roaring and rrr-ing as far as I know (though I haven't had the nerve to run it since that day).

BTW my friend talked to the plumber. He is in Florida for some reason. And like someone else suggested, he said try ice.

Why try a potato? I don't know. Why does a potato make anymore or any less sense than ice? A potato is nice and fibrous after all. Just saying.
A potato would just make a mess. Something that will shatter and splinter will get into all the small spaces (and fly up and hit the top as well) and clean the disposal. About all it's really going to due for glass is mask the sound of the glass getting broken up.

If you ever want to try it. Jam as much ice as you can into the disposal, run some cold water and turn it on. It'll make a horrendous sound and the amount of disgusting muck that'll it'll break up could turn your stomach. In my case, when I do that, some of that gunk will come up into the other sink for a few seconds. It's gross and smells just as bad.
  #22  
Old 02-18-2020, 09:12 AM
kaylasdad99 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Anaheim, CA
Posts: 32,899
For me, a potato is a bad choice because most of the times that I've had garbage disposal problems (i.e., binding up and/or clogging the sink) potatoes have been involved. Usually large quantities of potato peelings, but also when discarding mashed potatoes.

And ice cubes eventually melt, if the disposal gets indigestion from them.

Last edited by kaylasdad99; 02-18-2020 at 09:12 AM.
  #23  
Old 02-19-2020, 03:37 PM
ThisSpaceForRent's Avatar
ThisSpaceForRent is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: University City, MO
Posts: 1,644
Quote:
Originally Posted by WildaBeast View Post
I feel like this line of discussion is heading towards something like those "Will it Blend?" videos on YouTube.
Came to.post that link....my fave was the Iphone, the vuvazella was pretty boring.

At work we have several very large commercial insinkerator disposals...they take everything, except cocktail straws.
  #24  
Old 02-20-2020, 12:29 AM
Jim B.'s Avatar
Jim B. is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 2,109
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThisSpaceForRent View Post
Came to.post that link....my fave was the Iphone, the vuvazella was pretty boring.

At work we have several very large commercial insinkerator disposals...they take everything, except cocktail straws.
[emphasis mine.]

You drink cocktails at work?
__________________
"Love takes no less than everything." (from "Love Is", a duet by Vanessa Williams and Brian McKnight)
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:48 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2019 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017