Is Glass in Garbage Disposal Bad? (Will Broken Glass Ruin a Garbage Disposal?)

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Is Glass in Garbage Disposal Bad?

Our parents always used to scream: “Don’t drop anything in the garbage disposal!” Unfortunately, accidents happen. Sometimes we all drop something into the disposal that shouldn’t be there, such as glass.

Glass in the garbage disposal is bad, but it’s not the end of the world. You just need to remove the larger pieces carefully. You can then proceed to vacuum the leftover glass. It’s okay if tiny shards go down the drain.


Moen GXS75C Host Series 3/4 HP Continuous Feed Garbage Disposal with Sound Reduction, Power Cord Included


In the rest of this article, I’ll answer if garbage disposal can break glass, whether it can ruin your garbage disposal, and what to do if glass breaks in the disposal. I’ll also solve the mystery of what happens to the glass when it goes down the drain.

Can a Garbage Disposal Break Glass?

A garbage disposal can break the glass if the pieces of glass are thin enough and there isn’t too much of it. However, if the glass is thicker or fills the entire garbage disposal, it can jam the shredder.

When you drop glass into your garbage disposal, there are two main possibilities: it’ll crush the glass effortlessly or completely jam your garbage disposal. Technically, your garbage disposal should have enough power to shatter glass, but that depends on several factors.

If you’ve accidentally dropped a tiny piece of thin glass, it should break apart fairly easily. But if the glass is thick, you may have a serious problem with your hands.

If you drop large quantities of glass into your garbage disposal or the glass is very thick, like that of nice olive oil or champagne bottle, the disposal is unlikely to exert enough force to crush the glass. In situations like these, the glass will jam the garbage disposal. Once it’s jammed, you’ll have no choice but to go in and remove all the pieces of glass by hand.

Will Broken Glass Ruin a Garbage Disposal?

Broken glass won’t ruin your garbage disposal if it’s in good condition and you remove the glass. If you have an old garbage disposal, pieces of broken glass may deliver a fatal blow to the shredder.


InSinkErator Garbage Disposal, Badger 5XP, 3/4 HP Continuous Feed


Glass stuck in your garbage disposal is similar to having any other piece of junk stuck in it. The issue emerges when you can’t manage to get the glass out of your garbage disposal. After all, a jammed garbage disposal is effectively useless as you can’t run it.

What To Do if Glass Breaks in Garbage Disposal?

You should remove all larger pieces of glass if it breaks in your garbage disposal. Removing the large pieces by hand only leaves the smaller shards in the disposal. Most modern garbage disposals can take care of the leftover pieces of glass effortlessly.

If you have glass in your garbage disposal, it’s time to suit up. To get the best results, you’ll want to remove as much glass as you can by hand. Once you got all the big pieces out, you can use a vacuum to remove all of the tiny shards.

How To Remove Glass From Your Garbage Disposal

  1. Before you even begin the process of removing glass from your garbage disposal, you’ll want to make sure your garbage disposal is turned off. Whether this means flipping a switch or pulling the plug, ensure that your disposal can’t turn on by itself. The last thing you want is to end up at the hospital!
  2. Once your garbage disposal is off, it’s time to begin the removal process. You should avoid sticking your hands down into the disposal. Use something like tongs or large pliers to grab the stuck pieces of glass.
  3. Unfortunately, we all know that it can be nearly impossible to use tongs to reach into a garbage disposal and successfully remove something. Although I don’t recommend it by any means, you can use thick garden gloves to reach in carefully to remove the glass.
  4. Using your gloved hands, you’ll want to pull as many large pieces out as you can gently. Using gloves allows you to grab more pieces than you would be able to with tongs. Make sure you’re gripping them gently as you don’t want the pieces to pierce the gloves and injure your hands.
  5. Once you’ve removed as many pieces as you can, then it’s time to move on to the vacuuming step.
  6. Use a vacuum to remove the remaining shards. It’s recommended that you use a shop-vac for this as glass shards can damage your expensive home vacuum. Or you can just use an older household vacuum if you don’t have a shop-vac. Just clean it well before using it again to avoid spreading the glass the next time you vacuum.
  7. After using your vacuum, only the smallest glass particles will be left over. At this point, it’s going to be virtually impossible to remove any more pieces, so it’s best just to try and wash them down.
  8. Shards this small shouldn’t damage the pipes or clog your drainage pipes. Simply run water over the drain if you have a handheld sprayer. Once you’ve thoroughly flushed the drain, turn on the disposal and let it run for a bit.

What Happens if Glass Goes Down the Drain?

If glass goes down the drain, it’s usually not a cause for concern. Smaller pieces of glass will go down effortlessly. However, large, thick pieces of glass may clog the drainage pipes.

If glass goes down your drain, there’s typically no cause for concern. While you shouldn’t do it on purpose, a few shards of glass shouldn’t hurt your pipes. The main issue you might run into is the glass creating a blockage in your pipes.

If that happens, you can snake the clogged drain as shown in this YouTube video:


As long as you remove the glass as soon as possible, accidentally dropping glass into your garbage disposal isn’t a big deal. It won’t cause permanent damage either. Just make sure to unplug your disposal and use tongs or protective gloves for the removal process.


Waste King Legend Series 1 HP Continuous Feed Garbage Disposal with Power Cord - (L-8000)


Any pieces of glass that are too small to be removed by hand can be vacuumed out or rinsed down the drain. Small pieces of glass shouldn’t get caught in the pipes.


You may also be interested in… Do You Need a Garbage Disposal if You Have a Dishwasher?How High Should Garbage Disposal Be? and Which Side of the Sink Does the Garbage Disposal Go On?