What’s the Difference Between Black and Brown Friday? The Truth Behind Plumbers’ Busiest Day of The Year

Get your mind out of THAT gutter—it's not actually what you think!

Black Friday vs. Brown Friday

What do you immediately think of when you hear about Brown Friday? You know, other than the large hiring event for UPS also called Brown Friday. It’s important to also note that Brown Friday is the day after Thanksgiving—so most would immediately think the obvious.

Brown Friday must be named after all those clogged toilets—right? Actually, that’s not true! Plumbers have dubbed Brown Friday the day after Thanksgiving due to the massive increase in service calls they receive. The two main issues for calls? Clogged-up sinks and jammed garbage disposals.

“[It’s] the one day that everybody gets together and makes a big family meal, brings everybody over, and of course, they make more food than anybody can eat and everybody eats more food than they probably should eat,” said Doyle James, president of Mr. Rooter Plumbing. “When they’re all done they have to figure out what do they do with the leftovers and the grease and the potato peels and everything else that goes along with all the things that they made that day.”

Plumbers receive a 50 percent increase in service calls

Mr. Rooter Plumbing, a neighborly company located in multiple locations across North America, reports they receive a 50 percent increase on services the day after Thanksgiving. Since more people are serving large feasts on Thanksgiving Day than an average weeknight, there tend to be more people pouring contents down the drain, such as grease. Some of you may be surprised to know pouring grease down the drain actually isn’t the proper way to dispose of it. However, since most people aren’t aware of this, it tends to be a common way of disposing of those extra juices. Yet when that warmed grease hits a cold pipe, it solidifies and sticks. Over time, this can cause a huge blockage issue and the grease becomes incredibly difficult to remove. Since this is a common way that people dispose of grease after a Thanksgiving meal, it tends to be a common call to plumbers the day after.

What to do with grease

James recommends putting the grease into a container of some sort and letting the juices cool off or using paper towels to soak it up before throwing it away. Waiting for the grease to cool is key so that you won’t burn a hole in the plastic bag.

While grease is one of the most popular reasons for service calls on Brown Friday, the second most popular service call has to do with—get this—potatoes and potato peels. Yes, potato peels are one of these 15 things that you should never put down your garbage disposal, so be wary of that during your Thanksgiving cleanup!

“You know a lot of people have a garbage disposal and that garbage disposal grinds everything up, and they think that as long as it makes it through it’s good,” said James. Grease and potatoes aren’t something people typically worry about around Thanksgiving, but it tends to be the highest culprit for blockages. Bones down a drain can also be a common issue, but grease and potatoes still take the top spots.

“A lot of times the drain itself already has accumulation from the use over the years,” James continued. “And then you throw the initial stuff down there that sops it right up.”

When it comes to potatoes and potato peels, James recommends composting those biodegradable products. Potatoes, potato peels, and even vegetable peelings are compostable. Composting is an environmentally-friendly way to dispose of those food scraps, and it’s rather easy to do.

Although it’s a great increase of business for the plumbing community, still be wary about what you’re throwing down the drain this holiday. Give these guys a break—they probably want to lay in a food coma the day after, too! Here are a few other ways to prevent plumbing problems this holiday season, courtesy of Mr. Rooter Plumbing.

How to avoid “Brown Friday” plumbing issues

  • Do not throw bones, fibrous foods (potato peels, corn husks, carrots, onion skins) down the garbage disposal. They wrap around the blades and damage the motor. Toss them in compost instead.
  • Dispose of grease into a container instead of pouring it down the drain. Dispose of the container once the grease has solidified.
  • Make sure the water is on when feeding the disposal food scraps. Citrus peels are great for fixing a smelly garbage disposal.
  • Wipe off greasy pans before washing them.
  • If your garbage disposal is having issues, do not operate the dishwasher.
  • If you have multiple people showering, make sure to use a mesh strainer to catch hair
  • Avoid flushing wipes, feminine products, and other non-dissolvable products down the toilet.

Now that you know the truth behind Brown Friday, here are 31 things your plumber also wants you to know.

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Originally Published on The Family Handyman