What if My Garbage Disposal Is Clogged With Popcorn Seeds?

One of the most important rules for operating a garbage disposal is to never grind food remnants with seeds. In addition, you should never grind coffee grounds, eggshells or vegetable rinds that are fibrous and can expand, such as banana and potato peels. If you have empty popcorn seeds in your garbage disposal, you can attempt to remove them one by one before calling in a professional plumber.

Do not put popcorn seeds -- or any other type of seeds -- into your garbage disposal.

Safety First

Turn off the garbage disposal, and disconnect the power, which is the only way to ensure that the garbage disposal does not accidentally get turned on while you are working. Don't ever put your hand into the garbage disposal. Instead use tools such as tongs or needle-nose pliers to remove objects from the disposal.

Ask for Help

Ask a helper to hold a flashlight above the garbage disposal so that you can locate where the popcorn seeds are. Unfortunately, this is a tedious process because it will require you to remove the seeds lodged in the disposal one at a time with the tongs or needle-nose pliers.

Testing the Disposal

Reconnect the power, turn on the hot water and turn on your disposal to listen for anymore popcorn seeds rumbling around. If there still are seeds, repeat the seed-removing process. If not, continue running the hot water and grinding the disposal for about one minute.

Call a Professional

Seeds or bones of any type can ruin a garbage disposal. If you find that your disposal still is not working after picking out as many of the seeds as possible, you will need to call a professional. You may need a new garbage disposal installed.

Vera Leigh

Vera Leigh has worked as a professional freelance writer since 2008. Her work has appeared in "Learn Overseas" and "Grad Source" magazines. In addition, she received an honorable mention in "Newsweek's" My Turn contest. She has written features for nonprofits focused on literacy, education, genomics and health. In her spare time, Leigh puts her English major to use by tutoring in grammar and composition.