You’ve just finished frying some bacon or crispying up some delicious chicken. Now, you’re left with a pan full of oily grease. What do you do now? It’s easy to just throw this nasty grease down the drain and be done with it. You may think, it’s just like any other liquid you dump down the sink, right?
The answer: definitely not.
Many people don’t know that pouring cooking oil and grease down the sink builds on other compounds within the drain, causing your pipes to get clogged — and even in the worst of circumstances, causes sewer water to back up into your pipes and sinks… gross!
Here’s how it happens:
When you pour grease or cooking oil down your sink, some of it sticks to the sides of your pipes. Imagine when you used to stick your finger in melted candle wax as a kid, and it would harden and coat your finger. This is similar to what happens to the inside of your pipes. Over time, it will eventually clog the pipe.
As for the grease or oil that doesn’t stick, it makes its way to the sewer system and into community wastewater. The grease reacts to calcium, which is found in urine and is also a byproduct of pipe corrosion. Together, the two substances create a wax-like formation called a “fatberg” (a funny name with some not-so-funny side effects). These fatbergs build in the sewer system, eventually clogging it. These clogs can become so severe that the sewer water will back up into your pipes and potentially even flood your home.
This will not only ruin your pipes and stink up your home, but it will severely damage your entire neighborhood’s sewer system. Having to write a big check as your house reeks of waste water? That doesn’t sound like a good day.
Some people have come to believe that pouring grease or oil down the drain with hot water remedies the issue by keeping the grease warm, so it won’t cool and stick to pipes. Unfortunately, this still isn’t a solution. As soon as the grease finds the cool air lower in your pipes, it will clog everything.
Many people also forget that the fat inside of dairy products, such as butter, milk, shortening, lard, and ice cream also results in clogging, the same way that grease does. Also, throwing products such as meat trimmings, coffee grounds and egg shells down the garbage disposal is both damaging to the inside of your pipes and can clog them, too.
So, what’s the best way to get rid of grease and oil?
The solution is to pour the grease into an old container, such as a can, and let the grease cool and harden. Then you can able to simply toss it out with your other trash. Be sure to wipe out the remaining grease or oil left in the pan with a paper towel, so when you wash it the remaining oil doesn’t go down the drain. If you are dealing with cooking oil that won’t harden, pour it into a sealable container and toss it in the trash as well. We suggest mixing it with an absorbent material such as cat litter or coffee grounds in case the sealable container accidentally pops opens.
There ya go! That’s how to get rid of grease and oil so you can avoid clogging your pipes and sewer — and if you ask us, it’s a small price to pay!