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Homeowners often have trouble with clogged drains, which are often caused by not getting rid of cooking oils properly. When these things go down the drain, they might not seem harmful, but over time, they can harden and cause clogs. Not only is proper oil disposal important for the health of your plumbing, but it’s also good for the earth.

At Ryan Old Plumbing, we understand the importance of maintaining healthy plumbing systems. We offer dedicated services, including emergency plumber services, to help homeowners tackle these issues promptly.

Why Cooking Oils are a Hazard to Your Plumbing

Cooking oils are a big problem for your plumbing and the environment. While they don’t appear to be a problem when hot, they solidify into a viscous goo that clings to your pipes after they cool. If this buildup stays in your drains for too long, it can block them and cause other plumbing problems.

Oils from cooking do not simply dissolve when poured down the drain or flushed down the toilet. As they move through the sewer system, they combine with other things, making clumps that block pipes and cause backups. Overflowing sewage systems pose a threat to ecosystems and water sources.

What Happens When Cooking Oil Goes Down Your Drain

Pouring cooking oil down the drain causes problems for you and everyone else in the neighbourhood. It can damage the water system as a whole.

For starters, it’s making the water source contaminated. In short, it builds up in the sewers and gets into the groundwater. It will then grow bacteria that are harmful to both plants and animals.

If cooking oils enter lakes or rivers, they can form a film on the top that keeps plants and animals from getting enough sunlight. Also, the harmful chemicals in cooking oils can damage the water, which is bad for animals. Because of how its molecules are structured, cooking oil is also extremely toxic for our plants.

When you pour used cooking oil down the drain, you endanger wildlife and cause damage to your home. Compared to other problems, it requires significantly more time and energy to handle. In short, the loss costs a lot.

When it backs up your drains, it will make your home smell bad and put the health of anyone who lives there with you at risk. Also, bugs will be drawn to it. After that, there’s the damage to the property. You will have to pay a lot to clean up and fix the pipes.

Common Mistakes in Cooking Oil Disposal

People make mistakes when trying to get rid of cooking oil because they don’t know how dangerous it is to do it incorrectly. Many people make these mistakes without realising it, which leads to water problems and environmental damage. These are some common mistakes:

Pouring Down The Sink, Toilet, Or Drain

One of the most common mistakes people make is putting used cooking oils straight down their drains. This is bad for the drains in the kitchen sink, the toilet, and the bathtub. When the oils are hot, they can flow easily, but when they cool, they harden and stick to the inside walls of the pipes, slowly stopping the water flow. This buildup can finally cause clogs that need expensive repairs.

Washing Off With Hot Water

While it may seem like you can safely pour frying oil down the drain after briefly emulsifying it with hot water, this is still not a suggested practice. In the end, the oil will cool down and harden inside the pipes, making them clog. It is best to stay away from this sort of thing completely.

Using Soap Or Detergent

Another false belief is that dish soap or detergent can dissolve cooking oils and keep drains from getting clogged. Even though these cleaners might help remove grease and grime from surfaces, they don’t fully mix oils with water. So, even if you use soap or detergent, the oils can still build up in the pipes and cause them to get clogged.

Burying It In Your Backyard

Getting rid of cooking oil by burying it in the yard is not a good idea. The oil can still get into the ground harming the environment. It’s better to eliminate it in one of the suggested ways, like recycling or taking it to a designated collection place.

Throwing Away Used Cooking Oil In The Regular Waste Bin

Throwing away small amounts of cooking oil in regular trash is possible, but this is not the most eco-friendly choice. If you pour oils into the trash can without putting them in a container that won’t leak, they could leak and spill, making a mess and bringing bugs.
Also, leaks from the garbage bags could contaminate the landfill.

Man placing recycled edible oil from a frying pan into a plastic bottle in his home kitchen. Recycle at home concept

Best Practices for Cooking Oil Disposal

To avoid plumbing problems and reduce environmental effects, it is vital to dispose of cooking oil properly. Here are some tips that homeowners can use to ensure that cooking oils are thrown away safely and correctly.

Properly Store And Then Throw Away With Other Household Trash

Most people do this since it is considered appropriate to store wasted cooking oil and later dispose of it with other household garbage. Nonetheless, you need to remember some things and follow certain procedures.

  • Before you pour the spent oil into another container for disposal, ensure it’s cool enough.
  • Put it in a plastic bottle, takeout box, or empty milk box once it has cooled enough to seal.
  • Make sure to seal the containers tightly.
  • After it’s sealed, throw it in the trash with your other food scraps.

Those who would rather not deal with used cooking oil as a liquid waste might simply freeze it. Used cooking oil takes approximately one day to freeze solid.

Instead of putting spent cooking oil in a plastic bag, consider reusing the container and putting it in the trash can. Because of their lack of durability, plastic bags pose the risk of used oil leaking out.

Recycle Used Cooking Oil

To ensure environmentally friendly and plumbing-safe disposal of used cooking oil, recycling through programs like Planet Ark Recycling offers a sustainable solution. This method diverts oil from waterways and landfills, repurposing it into valuable products such as biofuels, cosmetics, and animal feeds. Recycling with Planet Ark is straightforward: collect the oil in a container and locate a nearby facility accepting it. This practice not only protects plumbing but also contributes to a circular economy, minimising environmental impact. For more detailed guidance on proper disposal practices, visiting the Planet Ark website is recommended.

Combine With Compost

If you have any leftover cooking oil, adding it to your compost pile is a great way to dispose of it. They are great for composting since earthworms adore them, in case you didn’t know. Consequently, adding it to your compost pile is a win-win for the environment and everyone’s health.

Before you decide to compost your cooking oil, do your homework. You risk adding too much frying oil if you don’t.

Excess cooking oil can attract earthworms to the point where “hydrophobic barriers” are produced. Hydrophobic barriers limit the ground’s ability to receive air and water.

Use Strainers Or Grease Traps

Kitchen sink strainers or grease traps are essential for preventing food debris and oils from entering the pipes. Preventing accumulation and keeping these devices effective requires regular maintenance.

One way to keep plumbing problems at bay is to ensure everyone in the family knows to use strainers or grease traps and dispose of the garbage correctly.

To further safeguard against oil and grease accumulation, you might think about putting a grease trap beneath the sink. To keep drains clear and clog-free, it is essential to regularly clean and grease traps.

How To Clean Up After a Slip-Up

If you accidentally pour cooking oil down the drain, you must do something immediately.

How To Clean Up A Spill Of Cooking Oil

If you make a mistake and pour cooking oil down the drain, there are things you can do to fix the problem.

First, if you see the spill immediately, pour hot water down the drain to help break up the oil and flush it out. Another natural way to clean is to mix baking soda and vinegar and pour the mixture down the drain. This mix can help get rid of oil and grease buildup.

Let it sit briefly before running hot water down the drain. A plunger can also clear out any jams that may have formed.

When To Get Help From A Pro

But if the problem persists despite your efforts, you might need to call a plumber.

If you get clogs, smell a bad odour from the drain, or notice slow draining in several fixtures around the house, it’s time to get professional help. If you ignore these signs, you could have bigger water problems that will cost a lot to fix.

If you’re facing any of these issues, don’t hesitate to ask for immediate help with clogged pipes.

drain inspection camera services

Preventive Measures to Keep Your Pipes Clean

Clogged drains are unpleasant for everyone, but the hassle and inconvenience they cause are unpleasant. Fortunately, clogged drains are avoidable with only a few easy precautions. Keep reading to find more ways to prevent clogs and save time and money by limiting drain buildup.

Pay Attention To What You Dispose Of.

The best strategy to avoid clogged drains is to watch what you put down the drain. Take extra care not to flush foreign objects down the toilet, including hair, food scraps, personal care items, and even tiny objects.

Make Drain Cleaning A Regular Habit.

Paying close attention to what goes down the drain includes keeping the drains clean regularly. It is important to clean the strainer or stopper regularly to prevent hair and food debris from being caught in the drain and clogging it. Clean the strainer regularly, removing any food leftovers or hair from humans or pets.

Do A Leak Check On Your Pipes.

Another common reason for clogged drains is leaking pipes, so inspecting your pipes for signs of damage is wise. Clogs are the result of water pooling in pipes that are leaking. To ensure your plumbing is in good functioning condition, contact a professional plumber immediately if you notice any leaks.

Inspect Your Sewer Line.

In most cases, a problem with the home’s pipes is the root cause of a clogged drain. The problem could, however, be associated with something like a clog in the sewer system. Get a plumber to look for clogs in the sewer line if you can’t unclog the drain.

Get New Pipes.

Pipe replacement is a smart choice if your pipes are old and deteriorated. If you do this, you can be confident that your drains will be free of obstructions and functioning smoothly.

Maintain The System Regularly.

You should also regularly maintain your pipes and clean your drains. In the long run, this can help maintain your plumbing system clear of obstructions. Keep an eye on your home’s pipes and quickly fix any problems you find.

Find A Professional Plumbing Service.

Professional plumbers can help keep drains from clogging by removing waste and debris built up over time. Clogs can be fixed and stopped before they start by using heavy-duty tools and professional-strength chemicals.

Professional plumbers can also look for leaks and clogs, fix small problems, and eliminate any grease that builds up over time and causes drains to get clogged. Cleaning the drains regularly can help keep the drains clear so that clogs don’t stop the water flow.


Getting rid of cooking oils correctly is important to keep water systems working well and avoid clogs. If you don’t do this, it could cost a lot to fix and cause you much trouble.

At Ryan Old Plumbing, we provide solutions for maintaining healthy plumbing systems, including prompt emergency services when needed. Our team of experienced plumbers is committed to delivering exceptional service and ensuring customer satisfaction with every job.

Don’t wait until a minor issue becomes a major problem. If you’re experiencing plumbing issues or want to learn more about our services, visit our emergency plumber service page today. Our team is ready to assist you and provide the expertise to resolve any plumbing emergency efficiently.

Schedule a service or contact us for more information – your plumbing system deserves the best care possible.