Pouring grease down the sink drain is never acceptable. Doing so can cause major plumbing problems that can affect the entire sewer system in a home. Not only can grease cause backups and clogs, but it builds up over time and coat pipes. This coating of sludge prevents water from smoothly flowing through and continuing down the drain. Unsmooth flowing creates a plumbing nightmare for homeowners that can be very inconvenient and expensive.
Prevention begins with not pouring grease and oils down the sink drain. The key is to find an alternative to pouring grease down the drain. Since kitchens do not have the luxury of using a grease trap as restaurants do, it is up to the homeowner to develop creative methods of disposing of this plumbing clogging material.
How Grease Clogs Drains
Pouring grease down the drain will stop it up even if mixed with hot water. Many people think that hot water will send the oil further down the drain and into the sewer system, but that is a myth. Hot water only delays the inevitable. As the grease cools, it will solidify, causing the sink to clog.
It is important to remember not to pour grease down the drain under any circumstances. It will always eventually cause plumbing problems. The oil prevents water from flowing freely through the pipes and can block them entirely, thus causing a clog that can back up in the sink. Grease solidifies as it cools and creates more problems as it moves down the pipes.
All grease such as lard, bacon, shortening, and butter are solids when kept at room temperature and should not go down the drain. Liquid cooking oils such as vegetables and olive oil are just as harmful to drains. Grease and oil add flavor to foods when frying or sautéing, but are detrimental to pipes when allowed to go down the drain. Almost half of all plumbing problems are the result of indiscriminately pouring all types of grease down the drain.
HOW TO PROPERLY DISPOSE OF LEFTOVER GREASE
Leftover grease can be recycled and used in another way. Frying or baking bacon renders a lot of fat that will work well as a season for other foods. Once the grease is room temperature, move it to another container, such as a glass jar. Bacon grease must be cooled completely before storing it in the refrigerator for use later.
Liquid cooking oil such as vegetable, peanut, canola, or corn works well for recycling. Cool to room temperature before attempting to transfer to another container. Refrigerate after all oils after saving. Some pet owners like to use a small amount of grease on their pet’s food. Homeowners with gardens recognize the benefits of adding grease and oil to their compost pile. These are just some of the alternatives to pouring grease down the drain.
DISPOSE OF GREASE IN THE TRASH
It may be much easier to dump grease down the drain after cooking, but it just takes a little more effort to dispose of it the right way. Homeowners who prefer not to recycle grease and oil have another alternative. Because grease and oil leave messy pots and pans that have to be cleaned by hand or in the dishwasher before reusing them, soak up the grease or oil with a paper towel and throw it in the trash.
Disposing of copious amounts of grease or oil can still be accomplished without resorting to pouring grease down the drain. Pour grease or oil into a discarded can or jar that is non-recyclable and toss it in the trash. It may take a little more time, but these are viable alternatives to pouring grease down the drain.
HOW TO PREVENT HAVING TO DISPOSE OF GREASE
More people today are interested in cooking healthier meals and are using less fat and oil. Reducing the amount of fat in cooking helps eliminate the problem of having to dispose of used oils and grease. Broiling, roasting, steaming, and baking allow a cook to reduce the amount of oil and butter required in dishes. Many find that using vegetable stock or water in a recipe helps reduce the calories than butter or oil may add.
Lean meats and fish are much healthier alternatives and do not require as much grease or oil to prepare. Using less oil and grease in cooking reduces the grease disposal problem and helps keep drains flowing freely. Healthier food with less fat eliminates the temptation to dispose of grease down the drain.