What I expected was for my family to make a huge mess when we decided to carve pumpkins, after all, are you really carving pumpkins if there’s no mess?

What I wasn’t expecting was to spend the better half of an afternoon fixing my disposal drain clog after the kids assumed the garbage disposal would be the ideal place to trash the pumpkin remains.

And indeed you are probably here because you are stuck in a similar situation. While pumpkin seeds seem like they would be easily flushed down the drain along with all your other food waste, the materials making up pumpkin innards are so slippery, slimy, and stringy that the pumpkin innards may end up clinging onto your blades, hardening, and then severely damaging your disposal. As a result, you would expect both clogged pipes and damaged disposal blades as the seed strings have a tendency to stick to pipe blades. In other words, you’ll be looking at expensing repairs you don’t really want to expense.

So, if you need to figure out how to unclog a garbage disposal, or if you’re wondering what to do with pumpkin guts, don’t worry. We’ll go over all of it right here!

How To Unclog A Garbage Disposal: Mechanical Versus Chemical


Your best bets to unclog your garbage disposal will be using the trusty ole’ plunger. Yes, those wooden handle red cup plungers should help resolve the issue. In fact, those models are made specifically for all your sink and tub plumbing needs. The ones you should use for your toilets are more ‘ball’ shaped and are specifically called a toilet plunger. Understandably, you may already have a cup plunger designated to your toilet in which case we highly advise against using for both toilets and sinks for sanitary reasons. Invest in a separate cup plunger specifically for sink and tub purposes.

If your garbage disposal is still clogged, consider a drain/plumbing snake. You can find some at the Home Depot for a little over $5. Dig deep and try to unclog from there.

Finally, you may have an issue with the loop under your sink. You get right to the issue if that’s the case. Place a bucket underneath the sink and then disconnect the slip-nut fittings on the drain trap. You can check for clogs and mend the issue as you see fit.


You have probably seen an “as advertised on tv” bottle of chemical solution that can unclog all drains. Indeed, you might consider using drain cleaners to unclog their garbage disposals; however, using such solutions may pose a risk to the overall condition of your pipes. As a brief overview, there are three main types of chemical drain cleaners: oxidizing, caustic, and acid. While oxidizing and caustic are easier to find (and acid can only be purchased and used by licensed plumbers), the level of sulfuric and hydrochloric acid may pose a threat to your pipes (and health).

In other words, they work on your pipes, but you are still dealing with dangerous chemicals. The toxicity levels of your drain cleaners can damage the pipes in the process of removing other gunk. And depending on the viscosity (or how sticky) the liquid is, drain cleaners can pose threats to you and your family. Not simply the liquid remains but also the fumes they release.

If you do decide to proceed with the chemical option, caution is advised. Research the drain cleaner you want to use and go for the more well-known brands as off-brand varieties have higher toxicity levels. It is just as important to look into cleaning and safety measures for chemical solutions as it is the effectiveness of the solution in total.


Consider dish soap & hot water. Pour some dish soap down first and then pour boiling hot water to get at the clogs. Simple yet effective. Your solutions are not always whatever’s most expensive. Additionally, you could add some lemon or lime juice to the hot water to create a refreshing scent afterward.

Maybe try baking soda & vinegar. Pour dry baking soda down the drain and then vinegar. You will notice that there will be some bubbles boiling out. You will want to cover it with a plug as to allow the solution an opportunity to get at the clog. After about 25-30 minutes, pour boiling hot water down the drain.

Consider these alternatives methods to dealing with (or using your pumpkin leftovers)

COOK: Bake, fry, whatever! Really the options are up to you. Considering that a pumpkin is technically considered a fruit (weird, I know), the ways you can use your pumpkin to make some fantastic dishes is endless.

TRASH/COMPOSE: Save your disposal the hassle and simply dispose of the pumpkin in a way that won’t strain your disposal. Especially because (again) pumpkin is a fruit, it is compostable. If you already have a pre-existing compost bin, add to it! If you don’t, maybe this is a sign it’s time to start one?


If there continue to be issues with your disposal unit after trying the above remedies, we recommend you have a professional plumber come and check out the unit.