3 Things You Should NOT Do This Thanksgiving, According to a Plumber

updated Nov 20, 2019
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Credit: Elissa Crowe

The holiday season is all fun and games until someone … clogs the kitchen sink. Am I right? Ugh. You’ve ever-so-graciously opened your home to family and friends, and had a merry evening filled with delicious food and drinks, only to end the party with a plumbing crisis. We’ve all been there. That’s why I tracked down plumber Anthony Flowers of Right Time Rooter and Plumbing (I found him on Thumbtack!) for some wisdom on what NOT to do this Thanksgiving. Note: Many plumbers charge extra during holidays. Just something to keep in mind.

Here are his top three tips to avoid a disastrous, untimely mess.

1. Never rinse plates without scraping them first.

Large chunks of food are one of the biggest culprits when it comes to clogs. That’s why Anthony Flowers recommends enforcing a strict plate-scraping policy: “After Thanksgiving dinner, keep a trash can near the kitchen sink. As dishes are being brought to the kitchen, helpers should dump any leftover food on the plates directly into the trash — especially before putting the plate in the sink.” Also, mashed potatoes and starches are especially bad because they can get gummy and cause some serious clogging.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

2. Never pour turkey drippings down the drain.

It’s not just leftover plate scraps that can cause a clog, though. Turkey gravy and grease, which are predominantly fat, are a kitchen sink drain’s Public Enemy Number One. “Once the turkey has finished cooking, the pan is filled with juices and grease, both of which which could become solid in the drain, causing it to back up.” Instead of dumping any pan drippings that you don’t use for gravy purposes, collect them in a container, let them cool, and dispose of them safely in the trash.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

3. Never throw bones in the garbage disposal.

If your garbage disposal is your best friend, we have some bad news for you: Turkey bones aren’t garbage disposal-friendly. “Sometimes turkey bones will jam between the sides of the disposal and become jammed. That’s one of the most common reasons people call their plumbers around Thanksgiving time,” says Anthony. Instead, save your bones and make stock!

Read more: How to Be a Cook Who Miraculously Finds the Time to Make (and Use) Stock