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How To Get Rocks Out of Garbage Disposal?

Rocks and gravel can accidentally fall inside a garbage disposal resulting in very loud noises during operation. If this happens, immediately turn off the garbage disposal and follow the below steps to remove the rocks and gravel before turning it on again.

5 quick steps to get rocks or gravel out

If you can’t get the rock out with these tips, don’t panic! Contact your local plumber or plumbing technician and ask for their help.

Cut off power

First and foremost, you should never attempt to fix or remove anything jammed in the garbage disposal when it’s still plugged in. There is a risk of getting a shock as well as causing damage. Before doing so, turn off the power at the circuit breaker box. The first step to removing a foreign object is always turning off power to whatever is being fixed. Remove power by turning off the switch where the garbage disposal is plugged in. 

If you can’t locate an on/off switch and there isn’t one visible, you might have a fuse box on your wall or floor. Open it up and flip out all of its fuses so they won’t be live when you turn on the garbage disposal.

Confirm by turning on the garbage disposal; if it doesn’t turn on, then the power to the disposal is off, and you can start removing the rock. To ensure there is no power supply at the disposal, press the reset button before you begin your retrieval.

Gather your tools 

The tools you will need to get rid of that pesky rock are relatively few, but make sure you have them handy, so you don’t waste time. You’ll want a broom handle or similar stick (an old mop handle should work great) as well as a pair of tongs (if possible). If you don’t have tongs, use kitchen shears instead. Also, use gloves if you need to reach inside with your hand.

Retrieve the rock 

Use a flashlight to locate the rock in the disposal. Ask somebody to hold the flashlight when you try to pull out the rock from the disposal. If a small rock gets stuck in the flywheel, use a broom handle to move the flywheel to dislodge the rock. Then use tongs or tweezers to pick up the rock and pull it out of the disposal.

What if you can’t see the rock?

If you can’t see or feel anything else, but you are sure that a rock fell into the disposal, then call a plumber. They have special tools and knowledge to free up objects jammed deep inside. You’ll probably have to pay the labor charges, but at least you’ll be rid of that object and won’t have to deal with it anymore.

Turn the power back on 

After getting the rock out, turn the power to the disposal back on. Just make sure you don’t have any foreign objects in your garbage disposal when you turn it on.

Press the reset button

In the end, press the reset button and see if the garbage disposal turns on without any noise and is working fine or not.

Here is a video showing how to get rocks out of garbage disposal;

What not to do when retrieving a rock from the disposal?

The number one mistake people make when trying to dislodge a foreign object from their garbage disposal is putting their hand in and blindly digging for it. We recommend getting as close as you can with some tools and then reaching out and grabbing the object with your hands if the tool is unable to hold it. Garbage disposals use powerful suction, so if you stick your hand in without any help, you’re likely to lose something other than that pesky blockage. 

Make sure you have all of the helping tools handy before you start. The last thing you want is to be stuck in an inconvenient situation that could have been easily avoided. If need be, grab any other tools you might need; but try and keep it short, as every second counts when dealing with disposals.

Further reading:

My name is Thomas Anderson, author of DisposalQA. I have 15 years experience working as a plumber in CA, and this is where I answer common questions about garbage disposals.