University of Florida

Avoid the Plumber this Thanksgiving

Keeping Your Drains Clean


The Friday after Thanksgiving is one of the busiest days of the year for plumbers, who are called on to help the victims of clogged drains and strangled garbage disposals. Kitchen and bathroom plumbing are heavily hit during the November holiday season as guests, children and “too many cooks in the kitchen” flush, pour down the drain, or attempt to grind away inappropriate materials. To keep your pipes clean during the holidays, remember these tips for reducing chances of clogging your drains.

Kitchen Sink Don’ts

  • Do not dump grease or oil down the drain.
  • Do not force too much food down the drain at one time.
  • Do not put stringy foods like celery and rhubarb down the drain/disposal.
  • Do not put heavy foods such as potatoes or pasta down the drain/disposal.
  • Do not put rice or coffee grounds down the drain/disposal.
  • Do not put orange peels, banana peels, or corn on the cob down the drain/disposal.
  • Do not put any bones down the drain/disposal.
  • Do not use the disposal as a trash can.

Bathroom Tips

  • Child-proof your bathroom (remove small tempting “flushables”).
  • Have plenty of toilet paper and remove tissue or paper towels.
  • Keep children supervised (bored kids may flush toys for amusement).

Remember to have a trash can near the sink for guests to dump their table scraps. Keep the water running for 60 seconds after flushing items down the sink, and keep the water running while using the garbage disposal.

Some foods, like rice and coffee grounds, will expand in the piping and clog the drain. Other foods, like celery, strangle the blades because they are too fibrous and do not get cut up the way they should by the disposal. Grease and oil will congeal and clog the drain, so be sure to put grease in a jar and either refrigerate, freeze, or throw away.

raw food

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