The loud grinding noise coming from your kitchen sink fills you with dread. You were trying to quickly rinse a spoon before putting it in the dishwasher, but it slipped out of your hand and disappeared down the drain.
Now the garbage disposal is jammed, the spoon trapped in its blades. What do you do next?
Getting a spoon stuck in garbage disposal is a common mishap that can happen to anyone. The good news is that in most cases, you can remove the spoon yourself without calling a plumber.
This guide will walk you through the steps to safely and easily dislodge a stuck spoon from your garbage disposal.
We’ll cover how to turn off the power, remove any other items stuck in the drain, and use tools like Allen wrenches or a needle nose plier to help lift the spoon out. You’ll also learn when it’s best to reset the garbage disposal or call a professional for help.
Removing a stuck spoon doesn’t have to be a stressful or costly ordeal if you know what to do. With the right techniques, you can get your garbage disposal working again quickly and prevent future clogs.
This guide will give you the step-by-step guide and confidence to handle this issue like a pro.
So don’t panic if a spoon gets tangled up in the blades. Help is on the way! Read on to learn the steps to safely remove the spoon and get your garbage disposal humming along once more.
What to Do If a Spoon Stuck in Garbage Disposal
Having a spoon get stuck in your garbage disposal can be a frustrating situation. The grinding and rattling sound lets you know something is jammed in there.
Don’t worry though – in most cases, a stuck spoon can be easily removed by following some simple steps. With a few household items and a little patience, you can likely get the spoon unstuck yourself without having to call for professional help.
Turn Off the Power to the Garbage Disposal
The first thing you’ll want to do is turn off the power to your garbage disposal at the circuit breaker. This ensures the blades won’t turn on while you’re trying to remove the spoon.
Safety should always come first when dealing with appliances, so make sure the power is completely disconnected before sticking your hand inside.
Locate the circuit breaker box, usually found in the basement, garage, or laundry room. Identify the breaker that controls the garbage disposal and switch it to the “off” position.
To be safe, you may also want to unplug the cord from the outlet under the sink. This prevents anyone from accidentally turning the disposal on while you’re removing the spoon.
Locate the Reset Button
Many garbage disposals have a reset button on the bottom or side. Pressing this button can help release a jammed spoon by disengaging the flywheel.
Grab a flashlight and shine it inside the disposal to see if you can locate the reset button. It may be red or yellow and will click when pressed.
Press the reset button and try removing the spoon. If it still won’t budge, don’t force it. Forcing the spoon could damage the blades or other components. Instead, move on to using tools to loosen it up.
Use Long-Nosed Pliers or Tongs
Basic long-nosed pliers or tongs are the easiest tools for removing a stuck spoon in a garbage disposal.
Once you’ve turned off the power and pressed the reset button, insert the pliers into the top of the disposal. Get a good grip on the spoon using the tool’s long, narrow nose.
You should be able to get enough leverage to pull straight up and dislodge the spoon.
Take your time manoeuvring the pliers around until you get a solid grip. Pull gently at first, then firmly and steadily to avoid bending the spoon. The spoon should pop loose once you apply some upward pressure with the pliers.
Manually Rotate the Blades
If the pliers don’t work, the next step is to manually rotate the flywheel using an Allen wrench. Locate the hex-shaped hole in the bottom centre of the garbage disposal unit. Insert an appropriately sized Allen wrench into the hole.
Slowly rotate the wrench counterclockwise to turn the blades. This may help jostle the spoon loose.
Make sure you only turn in the direction that loosens the blades, not tightens them, to avoid further wedging the utensil. After a few rotations, try the pliers again to pull out the spoon.
When to Call a Professional
If you’ve turned off the power, pressed the reset button, attempted to grip the spoon with pliers, and rotated the flywheel but can’t get the spoon out, it’s probably really lodged in there. At this point, you should call a professional plumber to take a look at it.
Continuing to force the issue yourself could result in damaging the garbage disposal or spoon fragments breaking off and causing drainage problems.
Professionals have the right tools and expertise to dismantle and properly remove stuck objects that everyday homeowners can’t. They can also assess if there is any internal damage caused by the spoon that needs repair.
Prevent This Problem in the Future
A spoon getting lodged into the garbage disposal is easily avoided through awareness and care when using the appliance. Keep these tips in mind:
- Run water during use – Having a constant stream of water flushing down helps keep debris moving through the system.
- Avoid putting flatware in the disposal – Utensils like spoons can get wedged between blades. Only put appropriate food waste in.
- Check before turning on – Always turn on the light and look inside first to be sure nothing is blocking the blades.
- Grind ice cubes – Occasionally grinding some ice helps clean the disposal and keep the blades sharp.
Following these precautions when operating your garbage disposal can prevent utensils and other objects from getting stuck. Take your time when inserting items into the disposal and be cautious about what actually goes down there. A little care will spare you from dealing with a jammed spoon or other blocked nuisance in the future.
What to Do if a Spoon Gets Stuck in Your Garbage Disposal – Quick Steps
- Turn off the power and unplug the garbage disposal
- Press the reset button
- Use long-nosed pliers or tongs to grip and pull out the spoon
- Manually rotate the flywheel with an Allen wrench if needed
- Call a plumber if you can’t remove it yourself
- Prevent future jams by running water during use, avoiding putting flatware in the disposal, checking before turning it on, and grinding ice regularly
With the proper tools and patience, you can likely remove a stuck spoon from your garbage disposal fairly easily. Just be sure to disconnect the power first and troubleshoot starting with the simplest solutions, like pressing the reset button or using pliers.
Knowing how to help prevent utensil jams by safely operating the disposal makes a future stuck spoon much less likely.
How to Use a Garbage Disposal Safely
Using a garbage disposal improperly can lead to injuries or damage. Follow these tips for safely operating your garbage disposal and keeping it in good working order.
Turn Off the Power at the Breaker
Before using your garbage disposal, always turn off the power at the circuit breaker. This prevents the unit from turning on unexpectedly while your hands are near the blades.
Make sure everyone in the household knows where the breaker is located and how to shut off power to the disposal.
Run Water While Grinding
Always run cold water while grinding food waste in the disposal. The water helps move debris down the drain while keeping the blades cool. Continuously running water while operating the disposal prevents overheating and jamming.
Avoid Certain Items
Never put anything other than food waste down the garbage disposal. Materials like glass, plastic, metal, grease, bones, and fibrous scraps can get caught in the blades and cause clogs or damage.
Stick to grinding soft, wet food scraps like fruit peels and vegetable trimmings. Avoid hard items like eggshells. Compost any food waste you can rather than grind it.
Don’t Overload the Disposal
Only put a small amount of waste in the disposal at a time. Overloading it with too much food waste at once increases the chances of jams. Let the disposal fully grind and drain small amounts before adding more.
Over time, fats and oils can coat the inside of the disposal and lead to clogs. Use disposal cleaner or baking soda and vinegar to scrub the inside and keep it clean. Run citrus peels and ice cubes through occasionally to help freshen it.
When Issues Arise
If the disposal jams, immediately turn off the power. Never stick your hand in a running disposal. Use the reset button or Allen wrench to clear jams. Call a plumber for help if needed. They can safely remove stuck objects and inspect for damage.
Following basic safety tips keeps your garbage disposal running smoothly for years. Take caution when operating it to avoid injury. With routine care and maintenance, your disposal should give you trouble-free performance.
What if the spoon is made of metal?
If the spoon is made of metal, it may be more difficult to remove. In this case, you may need to use a stronger tool, such as a pair of vise grips.
What if the spoon is broken?
If the spoon is broken, it may be even more difficult to remove. In this case, you may need to call a plumber to disassemble the garbage disposal.
Getting a spoon stuck in your garbage disposal can be alarming, but it is usually a quick fix. The most important first step is to turn off the power to avoid injury.
Try using basic tools like needle nose pliers or an Allen wrench to dislodge the spoon yourself. Press the reset button if your disposal has one.
If you can’t get the spoon out, call a professional plumber to safely remove it and inspect for damage. To help prevent future jams, avoid putting flatware on the disposal. Always run water during use and check the disposal before turning it on. With proper care and caution, you can keep your garbage disposal working smoothly.
If a spoon does get stuck, don’t panic. Follow these tips to quickly and safely remove the spoon yourself or determine when it’s time to call for assistance. Knowing what to do when a utensil jams will give you confidence to handle this common mishap.