Protect Your Pipes: The Best Way to Dispose of Fats, Oils and Grease

Learn how to dispose of grease with Home Matters expert tips for proper grease disposal.
There are lots of things that shouldn’t go down our kitchen drains — like the grease from making delicious bacon. But do you know why? After it goes down the drain, it can harden and cause clogged sink pipes and eventually clogged sewer pipes. It’s estimated that fat and oil buildups cause approximately 47% of sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) that happen each year in the U.S. Not only does this nasty sewer backup have health consequences, it can be a super pricey plumbing problem to fix.

What’s the best way to keep grease out of your drain?

Many people think that garbage disposals remove grease, but it’s not true. To avoid grease getting in your drain:

• Make sure you scrape greasy foods off your plates right into the garbage can instead of your garbage disposal. You should also use a strainer in all of your sink drains so that greasy foods don’t accidentally fall down them.

• For smaller amounts of grease, let it solidify in the pan, then throw the solid grease into the garbage can.

• Or, pour the grease into a re purposed soup or coffee can and throw it out when it’s full. Make sure to wipe the greasy pan or dish with a paper towel to soak up any remaining grease. Try to get as much of the grease and oil as possible into the trash instead of the drain.

If you make a lot of grease at one time, like when you use a deep fryer, this oil should be collected and then taken to a collection facility where it is usually accepted for free. A tallow company typically picks up this cooking oil and then recycles it.

Visit your state’s website to find a certified collection center near you.

What if you accidentally get grease in your drain?

One spill isn’t going to cause your pipes to clog. But it’s a good idea to boil some water and then pour it down the drain regularly. This helps turn the grease from a solid back into a liquid so that it will move further along the pipes. Try adding vinegar and baking soda to the boiling water. This will break the fats down and make your drains smell fresher. Ammonia is also a good solution for clearing grease away.

Related: Unclogging Your Disposal Doesn't Have to Be Draining It’s pretty easy to know if grease is starting to clog your pipes. Of course, you’ll see that the water is draining slowly. There may also be a gurgling sound as it flows through the pipes. And pay attention to any bad smells coming from the drain. This can indicate a grease clog just waiting to cause a problem.

Pouring grease down the drain can have disastrous consequences and be a real problem for the environment. So much so that the city of Dallas has started a movement called Cease the Grease to educate the community on it. Why not start a movement of your own by telling your friends, neighbors and community about the dangers of grease in your pipes? Or, simply do your part to keep the grease out of your drain. Your pipes and the city’s will thank you.

Business Insider Scott English Plumbing

AHS assumes no responsibility, and specifically disclaims all liability, for your use of any and all information contained herein.

Consumer Affairs Icon
Best Company Awards Icon
Need help?
Talk to our Shield Agents 24/7.

New Jersey Residents: The product being offered is a service contract and is separate and distinct from any product or service warranty which may be provided by the home builder or manufacturer.