One of the best parts of growing up is carving a huge jack-o-lantern for Halloween. Creating a scary or funny face, carefully cutting out the edges to form the toothy mouth– this activity is a classic American tradition and a symbol of fun and family. The first step to this enjoyable (and admittedly messy) family bonding time is cutting open the top of the pumpkin and scooping out the pulp. Some people like to roast the seeds or create pumpkin themed desserts, while others just throw the pumpkin pulp away.

Now that you have all of this slimy pulp, what do you do with it? Is your first instinct to put it down the drain? Think again.

Garbage disposals are quite durable for most food items. But there are certain things that we should never put down them, as they tend to either destroy the motor, the blades, or the plumbing shortly after. Unfortunately, pumpkin pulp is a culprit of this, and should definitely go into the trash instead of your garbage disposal. Many plumbers receive phone calls around this time of year, and the offender more often than not is this  troublesome fruit.

With pumpkin pulp’s soft texture, it’s no wonder that some people are confused as to why this seemingly perfect food waste item shouldn’t go down the disposal. Here are some key reasons why pumpkin pulp (and other pulp-like items) can cause damage to your plumbing system and beyond.

  1. Though the pulp itself can be easily shredded by the disposal blades, once it hardens in the pipes it becomes incredibly sticky. This can wreak havoc on your plumbing, causing bad drainage issues.
  2. Interestingly, pumpkin pulp does not respond to liquid plumbing solutions like Draino, in fact it only makes it worse, so likely you’ll end up having to call a plumber and paying for more repairs.
  3. If you throw pumpkin pulp down the drain, clogging won’t be your only problem. After sitting for a while, the pulp with produce a less-than-pleasant smell.
  4. Think you’ll solve your pumpkin pulp problems by flushing it down the toilet? Not so fast. Similar drainage issues happen, just further down the pipe.
  5. This is true for a lot of stringy or fibrous foods as well, including: celery, rice, artichokes, corn husks, and more. These either swell up with water, get tangled in the blades or cause drainage issues.

There are alternatives to throwing your pulp down the drain. When you finish scooping out the inside of the pumpkin, put it in a newspaper, then put it in a compost pile. If you don’t do composting, throwing it directly in the trash is best. It’s not worth the headache of having a clogged drain during the holidays.

Having a wonderful, stress free holiday season is important to all of us. The weather is cooler and we are bundled up, ready to spend time with our loved ones, dressing up in funny costumes and cooking our hearts out. The last thing we want to think about is garbage disposal and plumbing issues that could have been easily avoided. So, before you have a scary Halloween for all of the wrong reasons, step away from the garbage disposal and dispose your pumpkin pulp properly!

Your Trusted Plumber in Orange County

Since 1960, Biard & Crockett has solidified their reputation in Orange County as the plumbing experts residents have come to rely on. If you run into any plumbing issues during the holidays, our professional plumbers will set things right in no time. We look forward to serving you soon!