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I'm missing a small piece of flexible rubber that was approx 0.8" x 0.3" x 0.17".

I think it went into the garbage disposal in the kitchen sink.

After turning off the breakers, and securing my cat so he would not turn them back on out of spite, I felt around in the garbage disposal. I could not find anything... one of the downsides of actually having huge hands (as opposed to a certain individual who will not be named due to his sensitivity about this matter).

Now, when I run the garbage disposal, it doesn't sound so great. It sounds like something may be stuck in it.

Besides disassembling and cleaning everything (if that's even possible... I'm not sure if it's a sealed unit), is there anything I can do to get the garbage disposal back to it's previously happy state?

Related question, but for glass: How can I fix a garbage disposal with crushed glass in it?

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Reviewing the design of a garbage disposal here it seems very difficult for anything like a chunk of rubber to actually get jammed in the grind ring.

If you were to put something in there like a chunk of rubber (or bone), it seems likely it will bounce around and not get ground up at all. Small bits or rubber might get broken off in the ring but by the design they should be washed down the drain. I have experience with the piece of bone thing and it does, in fact, just bounce around irritatingly refusing to be ground up.

It would seem the worst things for disposals are slimy sticky things that are not water soluble. These materials could get into the grinder ring and clog it up similar to a file being clogged with paint.

So, if your piece of rubber was batted into the disposal by your spiteful cat, it is likely still in there bouncing around. Your choices are: have a child or slender-wristed lady fish it out; or remove the disposal, dump it out and possibly disassemble it to clean it out.

BTW you may want to keep the cat a little happier since you do have to sleep sometime. 😼

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  • Thanks so much. "...have a child or slender-wristed lady fish it out"... I couldn't help but think of the small handed person to whom I alluded to earlier... LOL. Okay, being serious again, I added the word flexible to the description of the piece of rubber. After reading your helpful answer, I wondered if the fact that the rubber was flexible would change your analysis at all. What do you think? May 26 '16 at 8:32
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    Some varieties of rubber float. You might achieve joy by blocking the disposal outlet and adding water to the sink. Turning the disposal on as part of this procedure is fraught, as they can develop quite a pressure at the downstream end. May 26 '16 at 16:58
  • @WayfaringStranger Clever idea. I'm guessing this rubber floats. Actually, I have another piece, and I can test that theory. Unfortunately, I think the rubber many be stuck in the garbage disposal, but your idea is intriguing and can't hurt. What's the easiest way to block the disposal outlet? May 26 '16 at 18:39
  • Yeah I think WS is on to something. Depending on the specific gravity of your material, it may be worth the effort to block the drain on the disposal and attempt to float the offending artifact free. You would have to disconnect the drain pipe from the disposal and stuff a cat or something into it. Just kidding. Maybe just use a PVC cap for the exit pipe of the disposal and then pour the water to it.
    – ArchonOSX
    May 26 '16 at 19:17

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