Every year it happens, starting about a week before Halloween. Sticky pumpkin pulp and seeds from jack-o-lantern projects clogs America’s garbage disposals and kitchen sink drains. In some cases, costing homeowners hundreds of dollars to fix. Roto-Rooter, the nation’s largest provider of plumbing repair and drain cleaning services, dispatches its plumbers to help frantic customers remedy the problems.
Roto-Rooter reminds carvers that pumpkin guts should never be put down drains or into garbage disposals. “It’s slimy and sticky and dries into a hard crust that creates some of the most challenging clogs we see,” said Paul Abrams, spokesman for the Cincinnati-based company. “Plungers and liquid drain cleaning chemicals are usually ineffective on severe pumpkin pulp clogs,” he added.
To prevent Halloween-related drain disasters, Roto-Rooter warns against carving pumpkins in or near the sink. Instead, pumpkins should be placed on a bed of newspaper so carvers can easily wrap up the mess and throw it into a garbage can or compost pile. And rinsing the pulp off your hands over the kitchen sink is also a bad idea. Roto-Rooter recommends using the outside faucet instead.
But the news isn’t all bad, pumpkin seeds can be separated and roasted for a tasty treat. Or they can be air-dried and planted to grow next year’s Halloween pumpkins.