When deep-frying the chicken, preparing crispy oily snacks, or cooking bacon, we almost always end up with leftover frying oil. You can conserve the cooking oil for later reuse. But if it’s gone dark or you don’t want to use it again, the inclination would be to dump it down the kitchen sink or flush it down the toilet.
But is it safe to dispose of cooking oil in the drain? Can vegetable, canola, coconut, and olive oils be handled efficiently by the plumbing system of your home?
Secondly, many people use oil for beauty and health purposes as well. Like oil pulling or washing their oil massaged bodies or oil massaged hair in the bathroom. So what rule applies to them?
Before we go into the details, here’s a clear response as to whether or not the cooking oil be dumped down the drain lines:
No. Don’t pour oil in the sink or the toilet. It can obstruct not just your home’s drainage system, but also the main sewer lines in the area. Oil, once poured down the drain, will either get cold and turn into its solidified state or grease the walls of the plumbing pipes and make them receptive to tiny pieces of everyday waste particles flushed down the pipes. The oil continues to pile up in the pipes, eventually creating trouble in the future. In worst-case scenarios, there could be a development of a huge fatberg that may destroy your sewage lines and drainage network. This applies to all types of Fats, Oils, and Grease (FOG).
Can You Flush Olive Oil Down The Kitchen Sink or Toilet Drain? If no, then why?
Never dump used olive oil down the drain. Though it will easily rinse off the kitchen sink clean or the first few meters of the drain pipes; at the same time, it will also be coated on the inside of the plumbing pipes. This sticky coating collects other tiny waste particle particles as they pass through the pipes, resulting in the accumulation of massive waste balls inside the pipe.
In addition, olive oil solidifies at temperatures around 37 degrees F. So in low-temperature areas, the poured olive will cool enough to solidify inside the plumbing system. In some situations, even a small deposit of olive oil would stop other items sent down the drain. These will start accumulating, leading to a huge clog.
Can You Flush Coconut Oil Down The Kitchen Sink or Toilet Drain? If no, then why?
Never, ever, pour coconut oil into the toilet or sink. Coconut oil, which solidifies at room temperature, hardens in the waste pipe and contributes to plumbing issues. In most scenarios, the dumped down coconut oil is quickly washed out of the sink and the first few meters of the drain pipes; but at the same time, the inside channels of the drainage pipes do still get coated with traces of oil. The oil congeals and with frequent disposal, the congealed oil buildup keeps growing inside the pipe, until it becomes a huge barrier in the shape of a fatberg.
Can You Flush Cooking Oil Down The Kitchen Sink or Toilet Drain? If no, then why?
Never dump cooking oils such as sunflower oil, canola oil, or vegetable oil down the drain. It is quickly washed out of the sink or bathroom toilet, but at the same time, it gets coated on the inner surface of the drain pipe in a grease-like texture. Over time, this sticky and greasy oil coating builds up and does a decent job of catching small bits of objects flushed down the drain – transforming into a huge clog at one point.
Can You Flush Motor/Engine Oil Down The Toilet Drain?
No. Dumping engine or motor oil into the sewer will not only contaminate and block the drains, but it can even leak into the ecosystem and harm wildlife. It also places tremendous pressure on water and wastewater treatment plants, since it does not decompose with enzymes and chemicals. That’s why dumping oil in the toilet is unlawful in many jurisdictions, and you could be held accountable for this offense by the local law agency.
You would better carry the used oil into a recycling center or you can also give it to the nearest gas station, which normally sells it to fuel blenders.
What If I Use Dispose Of Oil Down The Drain With Hot Water?
Any oil will get coated along the sewage pipes. Pouring hot water or a mixture of dish soap + hot water over will surely prevent the oil from being solidified and collected inside the drain pipes. Yet small traces of oil remain coated across the pipe’s interior, no matter what.
And if you keep doing this, these little traces of oil would continue to build up inside the drain pipes. It may take years; however, it may happen, and it can happen to the extent where you need to contact a licensed plumber to remove that massive obstruction from the drainage line.
Second, oil-contaminated water is challenging or even impossible to treat. This means that local waterways are also polluted.
And sometimes, while the oil may not clog your pipes, it will surely get cold and solid when in the city’s main sewer lines. The fat congeals and stuff that people are flushing cling to it, and it keeps growing and growing. Fatbergs get really big and hard at one stage and can destroy the main sewers of the area.
So while you think it’s a smart idea to pour hot water over oil, it isn’t!
Using Oil for Beauty & Health Purposes: How To Ensure Proper Drainage When Cleaning?
When using oil in your shower or tub, run hot water into the drain to keep the oil in ‘melted’ form inside the sewer pipes for efficient drainage. We suggest that you keep pouring hot water for a couple of minutes so that the oil is not re-solidified a few meters down the drain. Do this same process after oil pulling.
If you are worried about using coconut oil in your DIY bath scrubs, use fractional coconut oil instead. It is a type of oil that has its fatty acids separated by hydrolysis and steam distillation. This one modification holds the oil in liquid form, so it doesn’t solidify in your drain pipes.
How To Treat Drain Blockage Due To Oil or Grease Buildup?
In case of a drain blockage due to solidified oil buildup or grease, the following DIY formula is an effective natural way to get rid of the clog:
- Pour plenty of boiling water inside the drain. If, because of a large clog, the water does not go through, pour it in small hot boiling portions one after the other.
- Then toss 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain.
- Next, pour 1 cup of white vinegar down the drain. You’ll see bubbles. That’s great. The bubbles are helping to vacuum out the sludge trapped in your drains.
- Let it settle down for five minutes.
- At last, pour more hot boiling water inside the drain again to melt the oils and remove the obstruction.
- *Repeat the steps if needed.
- If fail, contact a licensed plumber for clog removal.
Know The Right Ways To Dispose of Used Cooking Oil
Instead of throwing the used cooking oil into the kitchen sink or bathroom toilet, here are recommended methods for the proper disposal of Fat, Oil, and Grease (FOG):
Preserve The Oil For Reuse.
If you plan on preparing deep-fried treats in the next few days or a couple of weeks, the used cooking oil can be preserved for further usage. First, strain the oil with a coffee filter or cheesecloth to extract debris and crumbs. Store it inside a sealed jar.
Remember that you should reuse oil once or twice only (for the good of your health). Otherwise, sniff it before using it. If it smells terrible, dump it away.
Pour The Oil Into a Non-Recyclable Container and Trash It.
If the oil is not usable, let it cool down and then empty it into a non-recyclable jar with a lid and dump it into the garbage. Cardboard cartons, wax-lined paper containers, and plastic-lined paper containers are the best non-recyclable containers that are suitable for this purpose. White styrofoam boxes are also acceptable alternatives.
Chill The Oil Until Solid and Dump It.
If you intend to throw it away, you must first freeze the oil. Transfer the oil into an old bowl and refrigerate it. Once the oil solidifies properly, it is ready to be dumped into the trash. Scoop it out of the bowl and garbage it.
Combine The Oil With An Absorbent Material and Discard.
Before disposal, combine the oil with an absorbent material that easily extracts fluids – something like cat litter, hay, sand, or sawdust would work well and trash it.
Send The Used Oil To Recycle Plants.
Check for an oil recycle plant near you and send your used cooking oil to them. These plants recycle the oil into biodiesel or heating oil.