I am an amateur artist, just beginning to learn this craft. Last night
I made the boneheaded mistake of pouring leftover acrylic paint into my
garbage disposal. Now my poor garbage disposal appears to be jammed
tight - it only hums when I switch it on (which I only do for a second,
because I don't want to burn out the motor).
I don't actually have any direct proof that the paint caused the
problem, but my gut instinct tells me it did. Acrylic paint can be
dissolved with acetone, but if I pour this into the garbage disposal,
won't it all just run through and go down the drain? (The drain itself
isn't plugged; water still flows through, but the unit won't spin).
Does anyone have any suggestions?
The acetone could be harmful to pvc. There should be a hex shaped hole on
the bottom of the unit to put the once included wrench into to clear a jam.
Procure the proper hex (allen) wrench, and see if you can free it that way.
< firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote in message
I don't see the alleged hex-shaped hole there, but your suggestion has
made me think I should possibly contact the manufacturer and ask them
what they recommend for clearing a jam in general (I don't think I'll
mention the paint just yet - don't want to look like more of an idiot
than I already do). Unless you can think of another method for
clearing a jam? Or somewhere else to find that hole?
Steve Barker LT wrote:
post make and model of disposal.
the owners manual should have instructions for clearing a jam .
if you had the water running while disposing of the paint , it should
have flushed most of it to the drain.
On 14 Nov 2006 21:34:19 -0800, email@example.com wrote:
It is probably there whether you have seen it yet or not. 80% of the
garbage disposals, in the US at least, are made by In-sink-erator, and
they all have the hole. If you don't have the wrench, it's sold
separately and it's a dollar or two, or three, and is better for this
than a standard allen wrench of the same diameter.
So to save your pride, in front of a stranger, and after you've
already told the hundreds or thousands who read this group what you
did, you're going to waste the time of the manufacturer's employee??
Would you go to a doctor for stomach cramps and leave out the fact
that you ate poison? Or are you trying to build a long-term
relationship with whoever reads your email?
First, it's not going to do them or you any good to discuss jams in
general, without discussing your jam.
Second, don't waste a person's time, who can't do better than send you
a copy of what someone else there has already written. If you want,
read what it says about jams in the instructions if you have them, and
on their webpage.
Third people here told you what you can do. Take that wrench (just a
hex shaped rod, bent once or twice) and turn the rotor back and forth
until it frees up.
They presumed you had plastic drain pipes and not metal. If you do
have plastic, you can remove the whole disposal (easy. Turn off the
fuse or circuit breaker first) and try the acetone. Then flush out
the acentone well before putting the disposal back. This assumes your
disposal is old enough that IT has a metal case, or that the plastic
case it has won't be ruined by acetone. You don't want the whole
It's in the middle. Use a mirror, or get down low.
As a person who spent a number of years working for a company that
did warranty repair services for appliances and computers, I have
exactly ZERO qualms about wasting that employee's time. It's what they
get paid for.
Or are you trying to build a long-term
No idea what you just said right there.
I had a better idea: I took the whole thing out, threw it away, and
bought a brand-new one. It wasn't terribly expensive, and I consoled
my wife by telling her she didn't have to buy me anything else for
Christmas. Maybe you think that's wasteful, but my problem is solved
now, and I don't have to sleep on the couch anymore, either.
Suggestion #1 don't pour any kind of paint down the pipes. It can cause
damage not only to your home but down the line as well. The solution for
Acrylic paints is the clumping cat littler. Just pour in some of the cat
litter, it will mix with the paint forming a solid mass and that is disposed
of with your regular trash.
As noted the make and model of the disposal will help us or you (use
google) try to locate the procedure to free up a jam.
I run latex paint down the drains all the time when I'm cleaning
brushes and stufff.... just run a tremendous amount of water to dilute
Now that I'm thinking about it, I'm sure I'm violating some sort of
environmental law somewhere.
As far as acetone goes...that stuff is wicked strong. I can't imagine
it doing anything good to your disposal or pipes.
Here's my solution, make sure there isn't a spoon or rag in there
before you go to much trouble. (UNPLUG IT FIRST, THEN PROVE IT SAFE BY
OPERATING THE SWITCH. Treat putting your hand in a gargage disposal
the same as a loaded gun.)
If that isn't the case, take the disposal off and take it apart if you
can. (loosen the three screws, usually slot head, from the bottom...the
unit will rotate then fall right off. There's probably illustrations
online if you're concerned) Once the disposal is taken down and apart,
you'll see your acrylic paint all over the the blade impeller
thingymajig. At this point, start cutting it away from the shaft until
the blades rotate freely.
Then pat yourself on the back, you've successfully colored the blades
of your disposal.
Also note, new disposals aren't that expensive. It may be time for a
new one anyhow if yours doesn't have a hex lug on the bottom to clear a
jam. I find this a useful feature once a month.
Unless this was some kind of super paint, my vote is that the paint is
unrelated to the problem. I think a disposal is enclosed enough and
wet enough that it's unlikely paint could dry that much overnight.
Plus, you'd normally run water at the same time, or to rinse off
brushes, etc, wouldn't you? That would carry most of it away and leave
the rest real thinned out. You wouldn't just pour a quart of paint in
and leave it, would you?
You haven't mentioned in the discussion whether or not you were running
water when you poured the paint, or just poured it. If you were running
water, chances are something else is jamming it, if you just poured the
paint, then, yeah, you may have painted the sucker stuck.
If you go the hex wrench route in trying to free up the disposal,
MacGyver yourself a long handle for the wrench - at least 12". You want
as much leverage as possible to free up the blades.
Whether or not you do that, I would recommend pouring acetone down the
disposal only under the following conditions: (1) that the disposal has
no plastic pipe leaving the disposal chamber, and (2) that you remove
the disposal from the sink and drain and pour the acetone in the unit
And I'd like to put in my 2 cents' worth about not putting stuff other
than water down the kitchen drain. Garbage disposals are more problems
than they're worth - all that food doesn't get ground up finely enough
and if you have any kind of low spot or belly in your sewer line, it
lays there, hardens and blocks the drain. Since I stopped using my
garbage disposal two years ago, I haven't had to have the plumber out
to auger the line...
The problem with that is, when I tried it, that I was afraid I would
break the connection to the drain pipe, or the drain pipe itself.
There is no doubt that the whole disposal was moving and the pipes
were challenged by that. I tried to hold on to the disposal while I
turned but I was alone and it was stuffed under the sink with a
cabinet around it, so no success there.
If I used the thing more often, it wouldn't gather rust. This time it
had been more than 3 months. After the first one rusted/froze shut
after 19 years, and disassembling it led nowhere, I gave up and just
replaced this one (maybe 10 years old). I too would think he could
break the paint if that was the problem.
What about the fact that most disposals have plastic tops to the food
That might take care of it.
I don't actually even intentionally grind anything up. Thbat's why I
use it so rarely. And I keep a strainer in the sink which I empty
into the waste basket. But food sneaks in and makes it hard for the
water to drain. Then I run the disposal. I think if I would remember
to run it once a week, it would last for 40 years.
I lost my own clothes washer once because for 3 or 6 months I went to
a neighbor building where I could do 2 loads at once and where there
were dryers. The Whirlpool Cool Line spent lots of time with me, but
the main bearing had rusted no-rotate and rusted in place as well, so
I couldn't even get the thing out.
I think the same thing happens with garbage disposals.
Hear. hear! I hardly use mine at all. Table scraps and veg peels,
etc. (non-meat or fat) go into the compost jar. Meat, fat, bones go
in the trash. Only thing that goes down the disposal is lemon rinds
Am still recovering from a big Thanksgiving dinner I threw 'n' years
ago, when, night before dinner, all preparations on track, I put
CELERY down the disposal! Even as I did it, a dull bell tolled in the
back of my mind. Too bad it wasn't in the front of my mind. Whole
story would make a strong man cry.. I got through the dinner next
day somehow, with a stopped-up sink... whatta nightmare!
Oooh, my sympathies.
What finally ended my wife and I using our disposal was a combination
of buying a composting unit, and my spending 2 hours Thanksgiving
morning - three hours before we were expecting both families for dinner
- disassembling the sink drain (it's complicated because of having to
move the sink when we re-did the kitchen) and fishing the hand-cranked
auger down the drain to find six feet down under the floor a clump of
shredded asparagus had blocked the line. Grrr.
Hey man I have a pretty good site with some user manuals on it and its
I use it for items I find at garage sales or e-bay that need to be
fixed. Hope this helps!
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.