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Why You Should Never Pour Grease Down the Drain

Grease isn’t just bad for your health, but it is also bad for your drainpipes. You may have heard that it is okay to pour grease down your drain as long as you do so with hot water or dish soap. Some people believe that pouring liquid cooking oils down a drain cannot cause a blockage.

In reality, you should never pour grease down your drain. Below, we look at the detrimental effect of oil on your home’s drain. We also provide alternative methods to get rid of these substances.

What Happens When You Pour Grease Down Your Drain?

Hot grease is fluid and easy to pour down a drain. However, when grease’s temperature lowers, it solidifies, forming a clog that is difficult to remove. You may be blissfully unaware of the problem, but the time will come when the grease accumulation in your pipes causes a blockage and other plumbing problems.

If the grease doesn’t stick to your pipes but flows into the sewers, the problem gets worse. Here, oil from all the households and restaurants in the area combines. Over time, these grease formations break down to form fatty acids and glycerol.

The fatty acids bind with calcium in the sewers to form so-called fatbergs, which are soap-like compounds. When the sewer level rises, the fatbergs cling to the sewer ceilings where they grow in size, eventually clogging the entire sewer pipe.

The size to which a fatberg can grow is limited only by the size of the sewer. In 2019, a fatberg measuring 210 feet blocked a drain in the British seaside town of Sidmouth. The sewer team took more than eight weeks to dissect this massive clump of fat.

pouring oil into frying pan

How to Dispose of Grease

Any fat, oil, and grease can form a clog in pipes, even if the oil is a liquid at room temperature. But if you can’t pour it down your drain, how should you dispose of bacon grease, used olive oil, or lard?

Cooking Oil

After using olive, coconut, avocado, or sunflower oil to cook, wait for the oil to cool down. Then, use paper towels to soak up the oil before washing the pan. Throw the paper towels in the trashcan.

If you used a lot of oil, disposal using paper towels might be too wasteful and expensive. Instead, pour the oil into a glass container with a lid for future reuse. If you don’t want to use the oil again, pour it into a disposable container with a screw top, for example, a soda bottle. When the container is full, throw it away.

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Grease

Wait for the grease in the pan to cool down and solidify. Then, using a spatula, remove the grease from the pan and throw it in the trash. Use a paper towel to soak up any remaining oil or fat in the pan.

If you have to dispose of a lot of grease, pour it into a container while still hot and in liquid form. When the container is full, you can either empty it into the trash or throw the container away. Restaurants typically have a designated container for oil.

I Already Poured Grease Down the Drain

Unfortunately, many people don’t know about the problems that grease can cause in a drain system. If you unknowingly poured oil down your drain, it may be possible to get it out of your drainpipes and into the sewer system.

Pour boiling water down your drain to liquefy the grease in your pipes. While pouring the boiling water down your drain, run the hot water tap to flush the liquified fat. Because surfactant molecules allow for the emulsification of oil and water, you should also pour dish soap down the drain with the boiling water.

Hot water and dish soap may help to remove the grease from your pipes, but it will still end up in the sewer system.

Communal Effort

According to a UK sewer worker, if a water authority doesn’t address a fatberg, raw sewage can spurt from all manholes in the area. To prevent this situation, homeowners and restaurant owners everywhere should work together to keep the sewer system free from grease. Even if the grease doesn’t block your own drain, you have a responsibility to help prevent sewer problems in your area.

Contact O’Connor Plumbing

A grease clog in your drainpipe will trap all the debris and food particles from your sink and grow. Over time, a blockage will form, which will prevent your home’s wastewater from draining away.

If you have a blocked drain, O’Connor Plumbing is ready to help. We are a family-owned plumbing company serving the Greater Washington Area for more than seventy years.

Our team uses the latest technology and methods to locate and clear a clog. Call us at 1-833-RIGGO44 today to schedule a drain cleaning plumbing service.