sink full of dishes after thanksgiving, how to keep your drain healthy

How to Keep Your Drain Healthy This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving dinner is one of those holidays where diets go on holiday.

But with an abundance of food comes the increased risk of damaging and clogging your drain and garbage disposal. According to the US Chamber of Commerce, Americans will waste over 450 million pounds of food during Thanksgiving weekend, most of which will end up stuffed down your garbage disposal. We’re not telling you to stop enjoying all the delicious food that Thanksgiving has to offer. We just have some suggestions on which food you should avoid putting down your drain to keep it healthy and how you can recycle some of your thanksgiving scraps to cut down on waste.

Things to never put down your garbage disposal

  • Turkey bones – Your disposal’s grinder ring can’t handle the tough and sharp animal bones; it will get clogged and damage the blades. Think of the disposal blades like your teeth: anything you can’t chew, they can’t either.
  • Stringy or fibrous vegetables – Veggies like celery, corn husks and onions may be good for you, but the fibers from these can become tangled and jammed in the disposal motor and block the drains.
  • Rice and pasta – These foods may seem harmless at first, but they swell up when they absorb water, which can lead to clogs in your disposal.
  • Fats, oils and grease – Again, these may seem harmless at first since they’re so slick, but once they cool off, they become waxy and sticky, causing all sorts of problems in your drain.

Oils and Grease

Oils, far and grease don’t break down when you mix them with water and pour them down your sink. They work similarly to how they react with your arteries and while your drain might not have a heart attack, it’s not a healthy situation. Fat and grease can solidify and cause thick blockages in your drain, making it impossible for anything else to get through.

Instead of dumping the excess cooking oils down the drain, there are multiple ways to recycle them. Oils can be recycled into biodiesel and animal feed. Pour excess bacon fat or hamburger grease into a can and allow it to cool and solidify, then you can throw the can away without having to worry about clogging any drains. You can also check out your county’s local Division of Waste Management to safely recycle your oil and help the city keep its sewers free from backups and overflows.


Thanksgiving is the perfect time to try your hand at composting at home. The Environmental Protection Agency can help you get started, then you can add a variety of scraps from your Thanksgiving dinner into your compost bin instead of your disposal. The most common Thanksgiving items that will go great in your new compost bin:

  • Potatoes and yams
  • Vegetables
  • Cranberries
  • Coffee grounds
  • Paper plates


Rather than just throw away all the uneaten food from Thanksgiving dinner, use the leftovers to create meals for the next week or two to come! Prepare for leftovers by providing each of your guests with reusable containers at the end of the meal. Not only will everyone get a portion of the delicious meal to savor for more meals, but you’ll score major points as Host or Hostess of the Year! Keep your drain healthy and your stomachs full! Some ideas for repurposing the leftover food can include making a soup with turkey as the base, using your mashed potatoes to bake a casserole or turning your leftover bread into croutons or breadcrumbs.

The holidays are a time for gathering with friends and family and enjoying good company and great food. Follow these tips to make sure your drains aren’t as stuffed as your guests. But if your Uncle Joe managed to slip some leftover turkey bones and gravy down the drain and jammed the disposal, give us a call! Mason Plumbing doesn’t close for the holiday, so we’re here for all your plumbing needs.