Drain cleaning franchises are alerting homeowners to the dangers of washing pumpkin pulp and seeds down the garbage disposal.

It’s October, so that means drain cleaning franchises Mr. Rooter and Roto-Rooter are again 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," Larry Rothman, plumbing director for Cincinnati-based Roto-Rooter, has said. "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."

"The pulp blocks drains because it doesn't break down like most food. Instead, the orange pumpkin pulp hardens inside the pipe, clogging the drain," says Mary Kennedy Thompson, president of Mr. Rooter Corp. “Your customers’ thoughts should be on Halloween costumes, trick-or-treaters and giving out candy – not calling a plumber to clear their 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 encourage you to pass these tips on to homeowners:
  • Carve your award-winning jack-o-lantern on a newspaper away from the kitchen sink. This way no unwanted scraps creep into your drain.

  • Avoid throwing any pumpkin pulp, seeds, triangle eyes and other cut pieces into the sink or toilet. Instead, throw all pumpkin-related material and newspaper into the garbage.