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Don't Pour that Grease Down the Drain

Updated on December 30, 2011

Keep your Drain Clear

If you have ever had a clogged kitchen sink there is a good chance that Cooking Oil or Grease was the culprit. When you pour grease down your drain it solidifies and cause buildup that can slow or completely block a drain.

Drano is great for clearing clogs caused by tough built up clogs caused by grease, but why not stop the clogs before they happen by not pouring troublesome oil and grease down your drain.

Keep your Drain Clean and Clear by following these helpful tips for dealing with Cooking Oil and Grease.
Keep your Drain Clean and Clear by following these helpful tips for dealing with Cooking Oil and Grease.

Recyle Used Cooking Oil

Pouring grease down the drain is costly to both your pipes, your septic or sewer system and the environment.

Disposing your used cooking oil in the garbage will help keep your drain from getting clogged, but there are much better things to do with your used cooking oil. For starters you can easily recycle the oil. Even if you can not recycle the oil with your curbside recycling must people do not go through oil quickly enough that it isn't very often that you need to stop by the recycling center to drop off your oil.

After thanksgiving is a great time to recycle your oil. Not only may you end up with extra oil from the holiday meal, but your municipality may have special programs for disposing of oil after thanksgiving.


A new alternative to traditional recycling is to have your used cooking oil turned into Bio-fuel.

Even if your car doesn't have a flex fuel logo and can't run on E85 bio-fuel or biodiesel, it will be having some percentage of bio-fuel running through its gas lines. To reduce the dependency on foreign oil the gas in the United States has had increasing amounts of ethanol added to it. If you look at the gas pump the next time you fill up you will probably see a sticker stating that the gas you are pumping into your car contains 10% Ethanol or even 15% Ethanol.

If you have a large amount of oil to recycle you can contact your local Biofuel Center for information on how to donate the oil to be turned into Biofuel.


Now a days everyone knows that they should recycle. However, there are another 2 R's that are important for striving towards sustainability and those are Reduce and Reuse.

Cooking oil does not have to be discarded after each use. Not only is this good for the environment, it is great for your wallet. This is especially true if you are using a large deep fryer.

Depending on what you are cooking you might not want to use the oil again to cook another food. Its well known that once use use oil to fry fish, anything you fry in that oil will taste like fish.

The 3 R's Song

Collecting used cooking oil back in the original container.
Collecting used cooking oil back in the original container.

Collecting Used Cooking Oil

One of the simplest ways to store your used oil is in the container it came from. Save your cooking oil bottles and jugs so you can poor your used oil back into them.

No matter if you are reusing or recycling your used cooking oil you will want to make sure that it is free contaminants. When your pouring the oil into your storage container use a funnel and a sieve to keep any debris out.

Unless you have a steady hand you should place the container in the sink when pouring the oil to keep cleanup to a minimum. Just make sure to put some paper towels or newspaper beneath it, to prevent any oil you spill from going down the drain.

What to do with Cooking Grease

There is less you can do with solid cooking grease than with used liquid cooking oil and it can be harder to cleanup. But there are still plenty of good uses for it. Here are somethings, (other than tossing it in the garbage), you can do with the grease produced by cooking.

Make some Gravy

I'm sure anyone concerned about there health do not want to hear it, but some of the best tasting gravies are made from the the fat drippings from cooking meats.

There is a great seen in the movie Jersey Girl between George Carlin and Ben Affleck's about making gravy from grease drippings. George Carlin scolds his characters son (Ben) for discarding the drippings he planed to make gravy from. Ben of course was just trying to help out by doing the dishes, but no good dead goes unpunished and the two argue over the matter.

Gravy Poll

Do you think drippings should be made into gravy or discarded?

See results

Feed it to the Dogs

Your dogs will love it if you add a little bit of your left over cooking grease to there food. In moderation some grease is not bad for them and some believe it is actually beneficial to their health. Obviously you don't want to give them grease that's been siting around for months growing mold.

Homemade Egg Carton Fire-startes

To make a simple fire-starter pour your leftover cooking grease into an empty egg carton. You can add some shredded newspaper into the grease to act as a wick. Make sure you use the cardboard egg cartons and not one of the styrofoam ones.

Start a Fire

Grease makes a great fire starter that will work well even in the rain.

Despite the myth the danger of using water on a grease fire is not because the grease burns so hot that it can cause the water to vaporize and ignite the oxygen. It is because the oil sits on top of the water and so the water does not smother the fire. Spraying water on a grease fire is also a good way to spread the fire as it sends the grease flying around. If you ever are unfortunate enough to have a grease fire in your kitchen, just remember to stay calm and douse the fire with some Baking Soda, the kitchen product with endless uses including fighting kitchen fires.

Collecting Grease

Once it has started to solidify cooking grease can be hard to clean up. Well hard might not be the right word, since it is pretty squishy.

The Inside-Out Bag Trick

A nice and easy way to collect grease from a pan after is to take a plastic grocery bag turn it inside out and put it over your hand like a glove. When you're done you can flip the bag inside out and you have a bag containing the grease. This technique works great for a lot of other messy jobs where you need to cleanup large clumps of grease or sludge, like clearing blockages in larger pipes.


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    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Good advice and good suggestions. There is only one thing I would add. If, by accident some oil does spill into your sink, quickly squirt a generous amount of liquid dish detergent on the oil and stir them into each other. Turn on the hot water and as soon as it is really hot, rinse the oil and soap mixture down the drain. Of course if its a lot of oil a better choice is trying to soak it up with paper towels or even a hand towel. Very informative. :)

    • aperturering profile image

      aperturering 6 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      Thanks Movie Master!

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      What a great, informative hub, I love the inside out bag trick.

      Many thanks for sharing and voting up.