The day after Thanksgiving is most commonly associated with one specific color. Black Friday, as it’s known, is regarded to be the first day of the traditional Christmas shopping season, the day on which retailers offer special reduced prices, and scenes of mass shopping-hysteria are witnessed all over the country.

But did you know that this iconic day has another moniker? Yes, Brown Friday is the busiest day of the year for one particular profession: the plumbing industry.

According to Roto-Rooter, the largest plumbing services company in North America, calls to plumbers will jump 50% above average on the day after Thanksgiving.

What makes this Friday brown?

Before we immediately jump to toilet humor, let’s take our minds out of the gutter for a moment and look at the real reason why this is.

“The number one reason for calls is kitchen sink drains and garbage disposals,” said Paul Abrams, Roto-Rooter Service’s director of public relations.

“The number one reason for calls is kitchen sink drains and garbage disposals.”
Paul Abrams
Director of Public Relations, Roto-Rooter

Pumpkin entrails, turkey dressing, and turkey bones can cause quite the problem when thrown into the garbage disposal, according to the Houston Chronicle.

But the main offenders? Surprisingly enough, potato and onion peelings. Veteran plumber Tom Pierce explained, “They’re slippery and can form a paste [and] swell up in a pipe.”

However, problems don’t stop in the kitchen. Not only are garbage disposals used to get rid of unwanted leftovers, but according to Abrams, “There’s always someone who tries to flush things down the toilet, like turkey carcasses and things from the meal.”

Another factor that can cause plumbing chaos is the number of people you may have using the toilet and, well, what they ate.

Thanksgiving dinner is a heavy meal and this may mean people use need to use the bathroom more than they normally would. Couple this with twice the number of restroom visitors than usual, and you have a recipe for some plumbing issues. 

Clog-avoiding tips

To avoid any mishaps this year, here are some clog-avoiding tips so that your Black Friday never becomes brown. 

  1. Avoid pouring fats or cooking oils down the drain because liquid fats solidify in the pipes and create clogs. Wipe congealed grease from pots with a paper towel, and throw it away in the trash. 
  2. Never put hard-to-grind, stringy, fibrous waste into the garbage disposer (the aforementioned onion and potato skins for example, but also poultry skins, carrots, celery, pumpkin pulp, or banana peels). The disposer can’t sufficiently grind these items and they will clog your sink drain.
  3. Run cold water down the drain for about 15 seconds before and after using the garbage disposer to flush waste down the main line. Hot water can make grease solidify making it stick to the pipe.
  4. Turn on the disposer before adding food debris. 
  5. Run the dishwasher and washing machine at night or at off times to conserve hot water and maintain adequate water pressure for your guests.
  6. Don’t flush cotton balls, swabs, hair or facial scrub pads down the toilet because they don’t dissolve.

The cost for a plumbing house-call can range from $90 to $350, depending on your geographic location, so that’s another good reason to follow the advice above.

This way you can be “thankful” that you spared your pipes, and can perhaps spend those Brown Friday savings on a Black Friday sale instead.