When I started to do the dishes after our Thanksgiving dinner, our sink started backing up. The garbage disposal wasn’t processing the sweet potato skins my wife had put down there. Obviously, she didn’t know that but apparently, according to Hunker, “while not overly tough or fibrous, potato peels contain a high amount of starch that can clump up and form a thick paste that clogs your disposal. Intact peels can also pass through the disposal and collect in the drain trap or other piping, creating a tough clog.” Oops.

I tried everything I could think of to unplug the sink but nothing worked so I watched a couple of videos and read some blogs. Finally, I found some ideas that I thought might work. I ran down to the car and grabbed the plastic syphon (something like one of these), still in its original packaging, that I’ve had in my trunk for years, maybe decades.

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After sucking the water out of the clogged sink, I put the dirty water in the adjacent sink after straining the chunks of potato peel. I also tried plunging it but that just made me filthy. I’m talking filthy. I showered twice in the course of trying to unclog this sink!

Finally, this advice from Iowa State University blog helped the most but it took two tries. “Pour 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain. Add 1/2 cup white vinegar and cover the drain if possible. Let set for a few minutes, then pour a kettle of boiling water down the drain to flush it. The combination of baking soda and vinegar can break down a clog and wash it down the drain. DO NOT use this method after any commercial drain opener has been used or is still present in the standing water.”

After two rounds of the baking soda and vinegar combo, the sink finally cleared right up. Lesson learned: Never put potato or sweet potato skins down the garbage disposal. For a list of foods you can and can’t put down your garbage disposal, read this Consumer Reports article.


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