Black Friday Stinks in Some Homes as Kitchen and Bathroom Drains Clog With Aftermath

John M. Dabbs
Sink maintenancePhoto byAlbany/Albany, NY

Brown Friday - not black

Some homes are not feeling the holiday vibe today. Those smelling a bit off suffer the after-effects of drain issues from clogged drains. Plumbers in the Tri-Cities report the majority of emergency clogged drain issues are the result of people putting the wrong things down their drain. Morris Thomas of Morris & Roberts says many people mistakenly think they can use their garbage disposal as a trash can for food.

Thomas states people think they can put anything food-related into the garbage disposal, and things will be fine. On the contrary, he says people shouldn't put rice, noodles, vegetable, or fruit peelings at their disposal or grease. Garbage disposal chops foods up so they can go down the drain. These foods may get chopped, but they come back together and form a sludge or glob that can clog up the pipes. The same goes for grease - it goes in like a liquid and forms a solid once it cools down.

Roto-Rooter says Thanksgiving is responsible for more sewer or drain clogs than any other day. The day after Thanksgiving is the busiest day of the year for Roto-Rooter. Roto-Rooter speculates many homeowners choose Friday to call the plumber, so they don't have to pay the holiday plumber fees.

Roto-Rooter says almost every traditional Thanksgiving dish can be a potential clog-culprit. Remember turkey drippings? It's just another way of saying grease. Hot and oily drippings seem harmless but it congeals like candle wax once it makes its way into the pipes of your drain. Potato peels and rice get wet and turn into starchy blobs, and even stuffing converts to starch and grease to clog your drain.

Plumbers advise people to throw these leftovers into their trash can and only use their disposal to dispose of items left on plates after the majority have been scraped off into the garbage can. Doing this would allow most families to make their way through Thanksgiving without a drain problem.

Guests in the home can contribute to draining issues during the holidays. More than one slow drain could be a sign of a partially clogged sewer. It could be due to roots where you wouldn't normally notice it if it weren't for the added people using your facilities. The added flushing, washing, showers, and laundry can be the stress test on your system that allows your system to show its weak spot. You may want to have a plumber check out your lines if you notice slow draining before the holidays. This could prevent a serious issue when you have a house full of guests during the holidays.

Remember to use your garbage disposal properly. You should not use hot water thinking it will fix your drain issues. Should your disposal begin to stink from foods caught in it, try throwing a few handfuls of ice into the running disposal to break loose some of the stuck-on food particles. My grandfather used to work for the maintenance department of a local city school system. He said they'd throw handfuls of crushed rock into the school's disposal to clean them out. I do not advise this for residential systems - you may want to consult the manufacturer of your disposal, or a licensed plumber before tackling any issues of this caliber.

Remember to use your drains and disposals wisely. I hope you have a great holiday season.

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An outdoor enthusiast with a passion for travel and adventure. John is a professional consultant and photojournalist.

Bristol, TN

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