MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — After all of the Thanksgiving cooking comes the cleaning as garbage disposals get a major workout.

“The day after Thanksgiving is usually our biggest day for drains, especially kitchen sinks,” said Jason Kuehn, a plumber with Dean’s Professional Plumbing and Heating. 

Patricia Lucas of Golden Valley knows that well. A few years back, she put her potato peels down the drain.

“It just totally backed up, and then, you know, it backed up into our tub,” she said.  

Keuhn says the very best way to avoid problems is to put food down the disposal slowly and always have cold water running.

“The reason you want cold water, it doesn’t allow everything to get sticky, it keeps everything solid,” Keuhn said. “It flows through the pipes rather than stick to the walls.”

One absolute no-no: Animal by-products, grease and bones.  Keuhn says over time food and grease build up in pipes “like plaque in arteries” and foods like potato or other vegetable peels get stuck.

“We’ve cut lines out and there ¾ plugged full of sludge of that nature,” he said.

He also recommends avoiding grains – like pasta, oatmeal or rice – in the disposal.

“They get sticky and they’ll adhere to the walls and basically form a glue in there,” he said.

Finally, eggshells can also be bad for the plumbing.

“If you use a lot of water, they’ll carry all the way through, but if you don’t use water, they’ll stop inside the line,” he said.


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