We all know Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, officially kicks off the holiday shopping season.

But plumbers know this day by another name – Brown Friday. It’s their busiest day of the year, due to all of the clogs and other plumbing emergencies that can happen when you have a lot of people in your house.

Sound a little gross? It certainly can be. But, with some proper planning, you can avoid a Brown Friday disaster. Here’s how.

Watch what you’re putting down the garbage disposal

A simple way to prevent the Friday after Thanksgiving from turning brown is to be careful about what you’re putting down your garbage disposal, especially when you’re doing a lot of cooking. There are seven foods that should never go down the disposal – oatmeal, fats and oils, bones, pasta and rice, eggshells, stringy vegetables, and coffee grounds.

Foods that should never go down your drain

If it’s starchy, greasy, or fibrous, a good rule of thumb is to plop it in the trash or in your compost pile. Otherwise, you’re at risk for a major clog. If you’ve cooked with a lot of oil, it’s best to wipe off your pots and pans first before washing them in the sink.

Another thing to keep in mind – when you are using your garbage disposal, run the water and turn on the disposal. The disposal’s motor can get stuck if your cram all the food in and then turn on the disposal.

Remember not to run your dishwasher if your disposal is acting up – you could make the problem worse!

READ MORE: How to Clean Your Garbage Disposal

Don’t flush that!

Kitchen clogs are much more common on Brown Friday – in fact, Brown Friday refers to the brown water that comes up out of clogged kitchen drains, rather than clogged toilets. But when you have a lot of people in your house, toilet clogs can happen, too!

A good rule of thumb to follow: Only flush toilet paper. Never flush disposable baby or disinfectant wipes, paper towels, facial tissues, or napkins. If you’re running low on toilet paper and need to use other materials, it’s best to put them in the trash can.

You, and your houseguests, should never flush hair, dental floss, medication, cotton balls, and feminine hygiene products.

Stopped up showers

Hair is one of the main culprits of a clogged shower drain. If you’re expecting to have a lot of people using your shower, we recommend using a mesh strainer to help catch hair. It’s also a good idea to space out showers by around 15 or 20 minutes if your drains are running slow (plus, you’re less likely to run out of hot water!)

If you’ve got a shower drain that’s stopped up with hair already, we recommend reaching into your pantry and pulling out some baking soda and vinegar. You can pour a half cup of baking soda, then a half cup of white vinegar, into the drain. Watch for bubbles, then let them sit for about an hour (longer if the drain is really clogged.) Then, turn on the shower’s hot water and rinse the drain.

Have a lot of guests coming in for the holidays? Now is the time to make sure your drains, toilets, and showers are working as they should. Contact us online or give us a call at 1-877-BEN-1776!