What happens when you pour cooking grease down the drain?

OK. Confession time. If we’re honest, we can all admit that we’ve put food and other items down our disposals and kitchen drain (even though we know we probably shouldn’t). Kitchen grease and cooking oils are where a big question surfaces and many people hesitate. Is it safe to put cooking grease down the drain? The answer is NO. Pouring any oil down your kitchen sink drain can very quickly clog it, creating an entirely new mess you really don’t want on your hands, along with a potentially expensive repair bill.

How does grease buildup clog your drain?

Bacon grease, oils, and other cooking greases can build up quite quickly. Many of us wouldn’t even stop to think before pouring that grease straight down the drain! When you pour bacon grease or cooking grease down a kitchen drain, it will come in contact with the pipes, which are most often cool or room temperature. Guess what happens? As the grease cools down, it starts to congeal and solidify. Continue to pour grease and cooking oil down your drains, and it will eventually harden in the pipe and clog everything up. Luckily, it’s an easy problem to avoid. 

What is the best way to dispose of cooking grease?

Grandma always knew best – remember coffee cans and mason jars full of bacon grease and drippings? These were the kitchen grease receptacles of old. Today, these are still the best way to collect and store oils and fats until ready for use in cooking, or disposal. 

Find a non-recyclable, resealable container. Let the grease cool down, and then pour the fat into the container. Once the oil has had time to cool and solidify, you can simply dispose of it in the garbage. Side note: if you put hot grease into the fridge, it will solidify a lot quicker. 

Can I pour the grease into the yard?

Many people believe that cooking grease can be useful for plants or fine to add to compost bins. While a little should be fine, note that compost bins cannot break down large amounts of fats and oils, especially when they’ve been used for cooking. Old cooking oils, fats and bacon grease can eventually make their way through the ground and end up in the sewer system, where they could potentially end up clogging it! 

What do I do if I have already poured grease down the drain?

OK. So you’ve been pouring grease down the drain, and you haven’t had any problems. Then you start to notice that your sink is not draining as fast as it used to. Here are a few ways to break up oily clogs and get the grease to move. Boil a large pot of water. Slowly pour it down the drain until it clears. If the boiling pot of water is not enough to clear the drain, try adding some vinegar into the mix. The boiling hot water will work to liquefy solidified grease and oils, while the vinegar will help dislodge grease that’s stuck to the pipes. After doing this a few times the drain should run clear, but if there is still grease buildup, then it may be time to call a plumber.