Fixin’ the disposal to free up objects

By Joanne Loos Posted in: ImproveThe Fix is In

To say having a baby changes your life is an understatement.

There are big things, of course, but there are plenty of little things as well. These include the added laundry and diapers, the baby proofing and the takeover of all the toys and gadgets. The baby takeover has evolved slowly, so I’ve gotten used to it over time. However, I recently realized that I may have fallen a little too deep into the routine.

I stood in a daze while washing the dishes, not paying much attention to what I was doing. It was then that it happened. I dropped the cover to a baby spoon down the garbage disposal. I didn’t realize it at the time, and turned the disposal on. Luckily, the problem was obvious and I was able to turn it off immediately. If you drop something down your disposal, here’s what you can do:

Avoid turning it on, and stop running the water. Then, use the garbage disposal hex key that came with your disposal to help free it up. If you do not have the garbage disposal tool, use a standard hex key.

Make sure the disposal is off by either shutting off the breaker or unplugging it. Find the opening in the center of the bottom of your disposal. This will be shaped like a hexagon. Put the wrench in the opening and wiggle it back and forth several times. This will help to free up the jammed object. You will know it is free when the spindle turns easily.

Once you get the object freed up, you can remove it. If you can see it, you can probably remove it from the top. Make sure the disposal is still turned off and unplugged. Use a flashlight to locate the object. Then, use a long pair of tongs or a set of pliers to fish it out.

If your item went further down the drain, the p-trap (the curved pipe underneath your sink) should have caught it. First, make sure not to run any additional water, as that can potentially flush the item farther down. Next, with the disposal turned off, place a bucket underneath the p-trap with some towels around it. Locate the access plug and pull it out. Water will drain into the bucket. Allow it to drain completely. Your object should come out with it. Replace the access plug when you are done.

If none of these steps work or if you are uncomfortable doing them on your own, consult a professional plumber.

Have a comment or question for Joanne? Send her an email at thefixisin@gmail.com.