Grease can make even the most delightful meals somewhat of a burden. What begins as a wholesome family breakfast can leave you with an oily mess in need of disposal. So what’s your next move? Although it might be tempting, we’re here to tell you to please never pour grease down the drain.
We get it; the kitchen sink is the quickest way to rid your dishes of leftover grease. Everybody’s made this choice at least once in their home chef career. But if you’re cooking with bacon grease, duck fat, lard, or cooking oil – pouring the remnants down the drain is a good way to create future plumbing issues. Here’s why you should never pour grease down the drain.
Grease Solidifies As It Cools
It comes down to this: grease may be in its liquid state as you’re pouring it down your sink, but it can solidify in your pipes within minutes. In fact, it won’t be long before it becomes a sticky trap for additional debris.
This unfortunate fact doesn’t end at food grease either; common cooking oils like butter, coconut oil, or vegetable shortening are similar to grease in that they liquefy when warm but solidify at room temperature. You might be blissfully unaware of the problem until a drain blockage or other issue occurs.
Soap And Water Won’t Help
Don’t believe the myth: chasing the grease down the drain with hot water and dish soap may relieve an unpleasant smell temporarily and even allow oil to pass down the drain more easily, but this remedy won’t unclog your pipes.
Relying on DIY solutions like this or even running your garbage disposal will only prolong the inevitable consequences of pouring grease down the drain. Instead, opt for the prevention measure and avoid pouring grease down the drain altogether.
It’s Not Just Your Pipes That Will Suffer
When considering how to dispose of food grease in your home, consider the wellbeing of your neighbors and community.
Grease build-ups will not only cause issues in your pipes, but can extend your local sewer system and septic tank as well. The remnants of your greasy breakfast will travel down your drain and make its way to your area’s wastewater, before merging with a collection of other chemicals in addition to your neighbours’ grease.
As grease builds up and collects in a sewer, it binds with calcium to form “fatbergs”that stick to the sewer ceilings where they grow, eventually clogging the entire sewer. With time, a fatberg can cause the sewer to flow back up into your drain, which is a less than ideal scenario, to say the least.
Don’t Do It. Not Even Once.
Even if you were to occasionally pour grease down the drain, the residual grease left behind will only grow thicker each time, further coating your pipes and creating plumbing issues to contend with at a later date.
For the sake of your home, your neighbors’ homes, and your overall community – it’s important to work together to keep the sewer system free of greasy buildup.
What To Do Instead
So no, you should never pour grease down the drain. But what are the alternatives?
If the grease is still hot, we recommend pouring it into a designated jar for future cooking, or at least wait for it to solidify before scooping it out into the trash. You could also choose to leave the grease in your pan until it solidifies before wiping it out with paper towels and disposing of it in the trash.
The same goes for cooking oils: even the ones that are liquid at room temperature – like olive, avocado, or sunflower oil – should not be poured down the drain. Instead, if it’s a small amount of oil, pour it into the trash on top of absorbent paper towels. For larger quantities of oil, pour the remainder into a container and reuse it next time you’re frying.
What Else Shouldn’t Go Down The Drain
While we’re at it, there are several other grease-adjacent products that you should never pour down the drain, including: salad dressing, peanut butter, mayonnaise, cosmetic oils, and petroleum jelly. To avoid greasy buildup, refrain from pouring these down the drain and dispose of them in the trash instead.
What To Do If You Already Did
If the damage is done and you’ve been pouring grease down the drain for years, feel free to call us. Even if no drain blockage is easily visible, the grease is likely holding onto debris in your drain, clogging your pipes, and may require professional cleaning. Be sure to contact CanWest Mechanical for all your routine and emergency plumbing needs. We are here for you.