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The day after Thanksgiving is typically the busiest for family-owned Donley Service Center. Calls can be 50% higher than a typical Friday. “The No. 1 reason people call is because of clogged drains,” said Mike Donley. “People pour things down they shouldn’t and cram too much into the garbage disposal.” If you’re having guests over Thanksgiving weekend, you may want to have your drains and plumbing checked before the holiday. Often, drains are already partially clogged, and it goes unnoticed until guests arrive and the system becomes overwhelmed. 

How to avoid a holiday headache:

Think before you toss

Don’t treat your disposal like a trash can. Instead, throw leftovers in garbage or compost pile. Avoid putting starchy, stringy and fibrous waste into the disposal.

Foods to avoid dumping

in the disposal

  • Pasta and rice because they expand when exposed to water and can fill the disposal trap and gum up the inside.
  • Stringy vegetables like celery, asparagus, pumpkin and cornhusks because they can get tangled around the disposal blades. Certain types of lettuce can also stop the disposal from working. 
  • Potato and banana peels. They can create trouble two ways: They can turn into a chunky paste and cause the blades to stick, and they can slide right past the disposal and clog the drain. 
  • Pits and seeds. Peach pits, avocado seeds and apple cores should never go down the disposal. Peach pits are strong enough to dent and chip the blades.
  • Shells. Eggshells can stick to the sides and, as other disposal-friendly items are added, the shells can attach to the waste and lead to a clog.
  • Bones. They will either just spin around the disposal or if they do slip past the blades without harming the disposal, they won’t go through the pipes.
  • Coffee grounds. They attract grease, build up and create a thick mass that will clog your drain.
  • Grease and cooking oils. They can clog your drain and require professional help.