Drain cleaning franchises Mr. Rooter and Roto-Rooter are alerting homeowners to the dangers of washing pumpkin pulp and seeds down the garbage disposal. The companies say that while carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns is a great Halloween tradition, “it can quickly turn into a plumbing nightmare.”
"For the past few years we've spread the word that carving pumpkins in the sink is a very bad idea," says Larry Rothman, plumbing director for Cincinnati-based Roto-Rooter. "People think that when they shove the stuff down the kitchen sink drain that it's gone but in a little while the sink stops draining altogether."
"A pumpkin's stringy, slimy substance is too much for the garbage disposal to handle," says Mary Kennedy Thompson, president of Mr. Rooter Corp. Instead of breaking down like most foods, the orangey pulp will harden and clog the drain.
Rothman says it's also worth noting that Roto-Rooter gets several calls about “pumpkin guts” flushed down the toilet, usually with similar clog-causing results. "The toilet is not a better option. It just means the clog forms a little further down the pipe."
The companies offer these tips for homeowners:
- Carve pumpkins on a newspaper instead of over the kitchen sink.
- Do not dump pulp and seeds into the disposal or toilet.
- Instead, throw all pumpkin-related material and newspaper in the garbage.