Your Guide to Holiday Garbage Disposal Use

Keeping Your Holiday Season Plumber-Free

The holiday seasons are quickly approaching! As you begin planning the menu, writing your shopping list, and decorating the home, we want to keep you free of unwanted guests.  No, we are not talking about your Great Aunt Ira, we are talking about your local plumber! 

Not to worry though, keeping your home surprise-free can be easy with some standard plumbing problem prevention tips.

When they do occur, our family has yours covered. Here’s what to consider this holiday season. 

Don’t Overstuff Your Garbage Disposal

Even though you may have more waste on Thanksgiving, treat your garbage disposal the same way you do every other day of the year. That means, don’t over-stuff it with pieces of turkey, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce. Make sure you aren’t using it to dispose of potato skins, bone fragments, eggshells, fats/grease, fruit pits, and seeds, or stringy vegetables, too. These are always garbage disposal no-nos!

Always Do Your Part to Avoid a Clog

Now is the time to start preparing your holiday favorites! Though your classic recipes can fill your heart, home, and stomach with warmth, they could fill your sink with problems and breakdowns. Your garbage disposal should never be mistaken for a garbage can, and many of the ingredients that make the Thanksgiving favorites so delicious can actually do some harm. T keep your blades free and ready to work, here are the items to avoid throwing down the sink: 

Bone Fragments

Any bones from your turkey are a definite no-no when it comes to your garbage disposal. Bones can cause some serious damage when they get tangled up in the blades, so any that you remove from your turkey should be put to the side and taken out with your normal trash.

Turkey Remnants

Speaking of your turkey, any oil or grease that you may have used to cook it with aren’t going to get along with your garbage disposal either, so it’s best that you just toss any and all turkey remnants into a garbage bag. This goes for all other greasy and oily foods too.


Stringy vegetables, in particular, that is. If you’ll be serving vegetables as a side dish, be extra careful when deciding which scraps will go into the garbage disposal and which will go in the garbage can – celery and asparagus, for example, are definites for the can.

Potato Skins

Serving potatoes on the side too? If you have any skins left over, these are another food item that mustn’t be put into your garbage disposal as they can cause damage as the blades start to work. This is especially important to keep in mind if you’ll be serving mashed potatoes too – as you peel off the skins, make sure they’re falling into a garbage bag and not your disposal.

Make Use of Water

 When you are required to use your garbage disposal, make sure that you have the water running during and after use – even before it’s full. Why? Sending waste down the drain without any water to help isn’t ideal working conditions for your system.

Have a Plan

If you’re in charge of the food, then it’s inevitable that you’ll have some cooking oil and fats to take care of during the clean-up process. And like we’ve said before, although it seems simple to just pour them down the drain, these are some of the most common causes of clogs. Therefore, you need to devise a plan of how you’ll get rid of them beforehand so that you aren’t tempted to use your plumbing for help.

Quick Fixes to Consider if a Garbage Disposal Issue Occurs

Though you can do your part in prevention, an issue can still occur with your disposal, and often it might just require a quick fix to get it up and running again. If a minor problem does occur, here are three things you’ll want to consider: 

  1. Garbage disposals can become clogged if there isn’t enough water flowing when dry waste is being disposed of. Should you realize that you didn’t have the water running when using this appliance initially, try turning both the disposal and your faucet back on – letting water flow freely for a few minutes may help break up the problem.
  2. Grab a lemon peel and some ice cubes and send them down the disposal. As your appliance works to grind these up, the combination of acid that is produced from the lemon peel and crushed ice will give your appliance a good scrubbing. After the process of grinding these items is complete, allow some more water to flow down the drain to really clean things out.
  3. If you know that the clog has been caused by an object that wasn’t meant to go down the drain and you can see it, use a long spoon or pair of pliers to get it out. However, keep in mind that for this approach you should be able to visibly see the item that’s causing the blockage so that you know exactly where to direct your tools.

If a General Problem Does Occur 

Your garbage disposal could be running good as new and suddenly, swish! An overflowing toilet has hit your home and changed up your day of celebrating. Whether your toilet clogs or your pipe suddenly burst, you’ll want to take immediate action. Here’s what to do when a plumbing problem hits: 

Shut off the water: To prevent anything from getting too out of hand, the first thing you should do is turn off the water, which can be done using your main shut off valve or the shut-off valve that directly impacts the fixture in question.

Make space around the affected area: It would be pretty difficult to fix the problem if everyone is busy crowding around the area, so politely ask your guests to relocate to a different room if the problem occurs in a high-traffic space, such as your kitchen. Additionally, if you have various items in the way (perhaps a table that you’re serving your food on), move them elsewhere so that your plumber can easily access the area.

Clean up what you can: If it’s a leak that you’re experiencing or an overflowing toilet, for example, and water is pouring all over the floor, grab some old towels and soak up what you can in the meantime to make the area safer – the safety of you, your guests and your plumber is very important!

Contact your plumber: Most importantly, don’t wait too long to contact your local plumber. You should always seek a professional’s help during a plumbing emergency, as they have the knowledge on how to best handle the situation in a quick yet efficient way

Safe, Friendly, and Professional Plumbing Service in Orange County! 

For anyone in Orange County, California, we at Barker and Sons Plumbing & Rooter are always available to assist with plumbing emergencies – even on holidays! We are prepared to help with plumbing problems 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, so you can always count on us.