The day after Thanksgiving is typically the busiest for family-owned Donley Service Center. Calls can be 50 percent higher than a typical Friday.

“The number one reason people call is because of clogged drains,” says Mike Donley. “People pour things down they shouldn’t and cram too much into the garbage disposal.”

If you’re having guests for Thanksgiving, you may want to have your drains and plumbing checked before the holiday. Often, drains are already partially clogged and it goes unnoticed until guests arrive and the system becomes overwhelmed.

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How to avoid a holiday headache:

Think before you toss

• Don’t treat your disposal like a trash can. Instead, throw leftovers in garbage or compost pile.

• Avoid putting starchy, stringy and fibrous waste into the disposal.

Foods to avoid dumping in the disposal:

1. Pasta and Rice: Because they expand when exposed to water, pasta and rice can fill the disposal trap and gum up the inside.

2. Stringy Vegetables: Fibrous strings from celery, asparagus, pumpkin and cornhusks can get tangled up around the disposal blades. Certain types of lettuce can also stop the disposal from working.

3. Potato and Banana Peels: Peels can create trouble in two ways: they can turn into a chunky paste and cause the blades to stick and they can slide right past the disposal and clog the drain.

4. Pits and Seeds: Peach pits, avocado seeds and apple cores should never go down the disposal. Peach pits are strong enough to dent and chip the blades.

5. Shells: Eggshells can stick to the sides and, as other disposal-friendly items are added, the shells can attach to the waste and lead to a clog.

6. Bones: Bones will either just spin around and around the disposal or if they do slip past the blades without harming the disposal, they won’t go through the pipes.

7.  Coffee grounds: They attract grease, build up and create a thick mass that will clog you drain.

8. Grease and Cooking Oils: Both can clog your drain and require professional help.

Feed the disposal slowly

Turn it on before you toss in scraps. And, do it gradually to avoid overloading the disposal.

Keep water running

• Run water both during and after using your disposal.

• If you think there’s a problem with your disposal avoid using the dishwasher because it discharges into the disposal.

Watch the grease

• Avoid pouring cooking oil and fat down the drain.

• Use a paper towel to wipe off greasy pans before placing them in sink.

To keep the disposal working well:

1. Feed ice cubes to sharpen the blades.

2. Always run cold water when the disposal is on.

3. To counter odors, put lemon or lime peels or small wedges down the disposal.

Bathroom etiquette

• Never flush food down the toilet.

• Never flush cotton balls and swabs because they don’t dissolve.

• Waiting 10-15 minutes between showers can give slow drains time to do their jobs.