6 proven tips to keep your pipes clear this Thanksgiving

(BPT) - Thanksgiving should be a time to enjoy a delicious feast and spend time with loved ones. However, many households face plumbing issues the day after this joyous meal.

While most people call the day after Thanksgiving Black Friday, those in the plumbing industry know that day as Brown Friday. According to Mr. Rooter Plumbing, the day after Thanksgiving has historically been the busiest day of the year for plumbers, when they receive a surge of calls about clogged kitchen sinks.

Why do so many sinks clog after Thanksgiving? Cooks and guests often make common mistakes that back up a kitchen's plumbing system. Don't let a clogged sink ruin your long holiday weekend. Follow these six expert tips to maintain your plumbing so you can focus on celebrating Thanksgiving.

1. Don't stuff Thanksgiving favorites down the sink

Cleaning up after a typical Thanksgiving dinner puts a greater strain on your kitchen sink than your daily meals. The greater volume of food and the types of food of a traditional Thanksgiving meal are especially prone to clogging sinks.

For example, potatoes, rice and pasta can also wreak havoc on your plumbing. All three foods are starchy, and when they get wet, they become glue-like and clump together, gumming up your pipes and causing backups, clogs and other issues.

2. Collect and toss oils and fats in the trash

Roast turkey, gravy and other Thanksgiving favorites are rich in fats and oils. As they cool, fats and oils re-solidify, coating your drain and leading to stubborn clogs. To keep your pipes clean and clear, avoid pouring greasy substances down the drain. Instead, collect fats and oils like turkey drippings into cans or containers that you can dispose of once the grease has cooled.

3. Clean your plate!

One of the most common mistakes people make when cleaning up after Thanksgiving dinner is leaving food scraps and grease on plates and cookware that can easily clog up a kitchen sink.

Make sure to have a trash or compost bin handy, so you and your guests can quickly and easily scrape leftover food off plates before placing them in the sink for washing. Also, use paper towels to sop up leftover grease on plates. These simple steps that take a few extra minutes can go a long way in protecting your sink from nasty clogs.

4. Run the garbage disposal when you put food in, not after

If your sink has a garbage disposal, it's crucial to use it correctly to avoid a clogged drain. A common mistake folks make when running the garbage disposal is to wait until the sink is full of food scraps. However, running the garbage disposal as you put food down the drain lessens the burden on your plumbing system because it can efficiently break down waste into smaller particles that are less likely to create a pipe blockage.

Also, remember to run cold water while operating the garbage disposal to prevent it from overheating, but run hot water after to help dissolve and flush residual grease and oil.

5. Use a food catcher

A food catcher (also called a drain screen or strainer) is another simple and efficient way to prevent food particles from entering your plumbing. Your local grocery or hardware should have food catchers that fit most kitchen sink drains.

When you're done washing dishes, empty the catcher into the trash and rinse it out. This simple, effective tool easily prevents plumbing issues and can extend the life of your kitchen plumbing.

6. Call a professional

If you're already experiencing kitchen draining and clogging problems, don't wait until your guests arrive. Schedule a professional drain inspection or cleaning to keep your plumbing system working in tip-top shape. By taking care of kitchen sink issues as soon as they pop up, you can avoid Brown Friday and prevent costly plumbing repairs down the road.

Using these six proven tips, you can prevent your sink from clogging up and dampening your holiday festivities. To learn more about Brown Friday and how to take care of your plumbing, visit

January 2, 2024

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