Stuff the Turkey, Not the Drain: 23 Tips for a Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks and is often spent with the company of friends and family members. As homeowners begin to plan their Thanksgiving get togethers, Mr Rooter of Portland wants to say thank you by sharing some helpful plumbing tips for those who are welcoming others into their home.

While Thursday will be a day full of happy reunions, delicious foods and plenty of desserts, it's important to understand the potential effect that a few extra visitors can have on a home's plumbing and drain system. In our industry, Thanksgiving is one of the most common times of the year when our professionals are called out to residential properties. Don't be mistaken, Mr. Rooter enjoys a large turkey - or tofurkey - meal just about as much as anyone. However, there are ways to prepare for all of the out-of-town relatives and excessive amounts of food scraps.

Whether your plans include hosting out-of-town relatives for the week or putting on a Thanksgiving dinner for all of your friends, these tips will help prevent inconvenient plumbing problems from occurring during an already busy time of the year.

Thanksgiving Prep


Mr Rooter of Portland offers these 10 tips to avoid a kitchen drain problem during the holiday season:

  1. Don’t put turkey skin or bones, celery stalks, onion or potato peels down the garbage disposal. During food prep, keep a trash can nearby so you can dispose of those things more easily without straining your garbage disposal.
  2. Avoid pouring grease into the drain. While hot, the grease may easily enter the drain. However, it solidifies when it cools, clogging up the drain.
  3. Throw large quantities of scraps in the trash, not the sink. It will make clean up much easier.
  4. Wipe out greasy pans and plates with a paper towel before washing.
  5. Rinse dishes thoroughly before placing them in the dishwasher. Food scraps left on plates will likely get baked onto the surfaces in the hot dishwasher temperatures.
  6. Run hot water into the garbage disposal before, during, and shortly after use.
  7. Regularly use microbial drain treatment, such as BioChoice, to help prevent grease, sludge or soap build-up.
  8. Don’t over-load the garbage disposal. If it stops abruptly while in use, turn the garbage disposal power off and press the re-set button (if available) under the sink.
  9. If you suspect a problem, don’t operate the dishwasher and garbage disposal at the same time.
  10. If the kitchen sink backs up or if you experience any other drain or plumbing problem that could dampen your holiday spirit, call Mr. Rooter Plumbing or contact us online to request a job estimate today!

Well-Stocked Bathroom


Check out these 10 tips to avoid a bathroom disaster during the holiday season:

  1. Clean soap scum and hair out of your sink and shower drains before your guests arrive.
  2. Stock up your bathroom with extra, single-ply toilet paper in easy-to-access places.
  3. Buy shower drain and bathroom sink hair traps, which will make clearing the shower of hair much easier.
  4. Encourage your guests to wait 10 minutes between showers, which allows the water from each shower to drain completely.
  5. Encourage your guests to clean the shower hair trap after each use.
  6. Place a small, conspicuous trash can in every bathroom to encourage guests to throw any garbage away rather than flushing it down the toilet.
  7. Speak with your guests in advance, or place a sign in the bathroom, about what can and can't be flushed down the toilet. You'd be surprised how many people think wet wipes and dental floss can be flushed without issues.
  8. Encourage your guests to "courtesy flush" to prevent any clogs.
  9. Keep a plunger in an easy-to-see location in case your guests need to use one.
  10. If you notice any plumbing problems before before Thanksgiving, consider calling your local Mr. Rooter to get it repaired quickly and efficiently before your guests arrive.

Water Heater

Three Whole-House Tips

Last, we offer these 3 household tips to facilitate a happy holiday this November:

  1. Turn up the water heater so there is enough hot water for everyone throughout the house. The temperature should be 125 degrees Fahrenheit or lower for safety and comfort.

  2. Educate your guests about where your main water shut-off valve is and how to use it in case of an emergency.

  3. Check your washing machine's hoses before your guests arrive. If you find any flaws, consider replacing your rubber hoses with flexible, stainless steel hoses. Alternatively, you could call our skilled Portland plumbers to get it done for you at a reasonable price.

Professional. Reliable. Local. Same Price. Any Time. Any Day.

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in November 2015 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Mr. Rooter iconAbout the Author: Steve Ferree, Mr Rooter of Portland

Steve has been a trusted Mr. Rooter owner of Mr Rooter of Portland since 1999. With over 20 years to back him, Steve has experience with a wide range of plumbing related solutions and systems. He and his team specialize in drain cleaning, sewer repair, re-piping, and more.