Can I Put Thanksgiving Food Down the Drain?

October 1, 2023

Thanksgiving,Table,With,Roasted,Turkey,,Sliced,Ham,And,Side,DishesAs Thanksgiving approaches, it’s time to prepare for a festive feast filled with delicious food, family, and gratitude. While cooking up a storm and sharing a meal with loved ones is an integral part of the celebration, it’s essential to be mindful of what goes down your drain and garbage disposal. Thanksgiving food scraps can be a real challenge for your plumbing, and the last thing you want is a clogged sink or a malfunctioning garbage disposal during the holiday. In this blog post, we’ll explore the do’s and don’ts of disposing of Thanksgiving food, ensuring that your drain and garbage disposal remain safe and operational.

The Dos and Don’ts of Thanksgiving Food Disposal

Do: Scrape Plates Before Washing

Before you even think about rinsing those dirty plates, remember that scraping off any remaining food scraps into the trash is the first step in preventing potential clogs. Use a spatula or a rubber scraper to remove any solids like turkey skin, bones, or fibrous materials from your dishes.

Don’t: Pour Grease Down the Drain

Turkey, roasts, and other dishes often generate a significant amount of cooking grease. The golden rule is: never pour grease down the drain. As grease cools and solidifies, it can stick to your pipes, causing blockages. Instead, collect the grease in a container, let it solidify, and then dispose of it in the trash.

Do: Use a Sink Strainer

Using a sink strainer is an excellent preventive measure. Place a strainer in your sink drain to catch any food particles that may slip through during dishwashing. Regularly empty and clean the strainer to ensure proper functionality.

Don’t: Dispose of Bones and Fibrous Materials

Turkey bones and fibrous materials, like corn husks and celery, should never go down the drain or into your garbage disposal. These items can easily damage the blades and cause blockages, leading to expensive repairs. Dispose of them in the trash or use them for composting.

Do: Run Cold Water

When using your garbage disposal, always run cold water while it’s in operation. Cold water helps to solidify any grease or fat that may have accidentally made its way into the disposal, preventing clogs. Additionally, it aids in the efficient grinding of food scraps.

Don’t: Overload the Garbage Disposal

It’s important to remember that your garbage disposal has limits. Don’t overload it with too much food at once. Feed it small amounts of food scraps and wait for it to process them before adding more. Overloading can lead to jammed blades or clogs.

Do: Grind Ice Cubes

A helpful maintenance tip for your garbage disposal is to periodically grind ice cubes. The ice helps to clean the disposal’s blades and remove any built-up debris. You can also add citrus peels for a fresh, clean scent.

Don’t: Pour Starchy Foods Down the Drain

Starchy foods like potato peels and pasta have a knack for expanding when they absorb water, making them a common cause of clogs. Avoid sending them down the drain, and instead, dispose of them in the trash.

Do: Perform Routine Maintenance

Regular maintenance is key to keeping your garbage disposal and drain running smoothly. This includes checking for leaks, tightening connections, and making sure all components are functioning correctly. If you’re not confident in your DIY skills, consider scheduling professional drain maintenance.

Don’t: Ignore Unusual Noises or Odors

If you notice unusual noises or odors coming from your garbage disposal, don’t ignore them. These could be early signs of problems that need attention. Address any issues promptly to prevent further damage.

Do: Learn How to Reset the Disposal

Garbage disposals can occasionally get stuck, but many of them have a reset button that can be used to fix the issue. If your disposal stops working, look for the reset button on the bottom of the unit and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Don’t: Put Non-Food Items Down the Disposal

This should go without saying, but never put non-food items, such as plastic, metal, or glass, down the disposal. Even small utensils can cause significant damage. Keep these far away from the disposal area.


Thanksgiving is a time to savor the flavors of the season and create cherished memories with loved ones. By following these do’s and don’ts for disposing of Thanksgiving food, you can ensure that your holiday celebration remains stress-free. Taking care of your drain and garbage disposal is not just about avoiding clogs and repairs; it’s about maintaining a smoothly functioning kitchen for all your culinary adventures. With these guidelines in mind, you can enjoy your Thanksgiving feast with peace of mind, knowing that your plumbing is safe and operational.

Got Questions About Your Garbage Disposal? Let Us Help!

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