Halloween Plumbing Safety Tips
October in Edmonton is filled with festive events that bring family and friends together. Planning costumes, decorating the house and making favorite treats are all a part of the fun. But all that celebrating can also come at a price. A few of our most beloved Halloween traditions can wreak havoc on a home’s plumbing system. Scary? Maybe. However, Always is here to help take the fear out of the season.
The number one problem that plumbing technicians encounter every October is pumpkin pulp clogging garbage disposals. But the clogs aren’t limited to disposals; sink drains and toilets are often used to dispose of pulp as well. Pumpkin pulp is a wet, sticky, stringy substance containing seeds that can harden quickly. When the pulp hardens, it turns into a gummy resin that can easily clog pipes. Once it has clogged a drain, it is difficult to remove without help from a professional.
Another, though less prevalent, problem during the season is directly related to trick-or-treating: makeup and face paint. Cotton, cotton swabs, sponges and other makeup related accessories also clog drains – and toilets. Children (and adults) using makeup for their Halloween costumes will often flush these very absorbent materials; wreaking havoc on the sewer line. In addition to the absorbent material causing problems, some face paint is oil-based and can accelerate the stoppage.
Avoid scary plumbing issues this year by reading our tips for a clog-free Halloween.
- The most important takeaway: NEVER put pumpkin pulp in the sink or toilet. Even when washing bowls and utensils covered with it, wipe them off before washing.
- When gutting a pumpkin, place all of the pulp in a large bowl. Either discard by wrapping up the mess in newspaper and throwing it in the trash or putting it in your compost pile.
- Many people bake the seeds, though repurposing the actual pulp is a bit trickier. There are recipes for pumpkin puree using the pulp – as well as variations on pumpkin bread and muffins. Read about some easy pumpkin pulp recipes here.
- Pumpkin pulp doesn’t break down like most organic materials. It is also virtually impossible to stop the blockage with a store bought drain cleaner. Draino and Liquid Plumber don’t work on pumpkin pulp, which can lead to a service call with a plumbing technician.
- Halloween makeup and face paint can always be reused next year. If you have a kit with containers of exposed makeup, put them in a Ziploc bag and store them. NEVER throw makeup into the sink or toilet.
- Cotton balls and sponges with makeup on them should be thrown into the trash. If you have a washcloth with makeup on it, be mindful of oil-based products when washing them. Consider using a bucket of warm water and liquid detergent to clean the cloth or material before throwing it in the washing machine. NEVER wash material containing oil-based paint directly in the sink.
- Also, parents with small children should make sure that they understand putting candy or candy wrappers in the toilet is not a good idea. Plumbers have seen more than a few toilets clogged with Halloween detritus over the years. Try putting a trashcan in their bedroom (if one isn’t already there) for easy disposal of Halloween trash – and the hard candy that never gets eaten!
Always hopes that our Edmonton neighbors enjoy a festive, clog-free Halloween. But if something does happen to your plumbing this season, remember that we are available 24/7 for service and repairs. Call us at 780-489-8118, even in the witching hour, to schedule an appointment.