What To Do With Leftover Grease And Oil

Common Plumbing Problems,

Edible grease and oil are a compulsory presence in all kitchens because of their indispensability as cooking ingredients. But the problem is not consuming cooking grease or oil but rather knowing what to do with leftover grease and, especially, how to dispose of it properly after use. Are you aware that improper grease and oil disposal can be bad for both your plumbing system and the environment as a whole?

Some Ways To Deal With Leftover Grease And Oil

Not knowing what to do with leftover grease and oil can create undesirable consequences that may eventually set you back financially. For instance, you may need the help of a plumber if the oil you poured into your drain were to clog it and obstruct the movement of water. The following tips will help:


Your trash can is the best place to dispose of leftover grease and cooking oil. Utilize the following steps to ensure proper or safe trashing:

  • If hot, then allow grease or oil to cool and become solid
  • As soon as it is cool and solidified, transfer it into a sealable container that will not leak (such as Styrofoam boxes, glass jars, and milk cartons) and then throw it into the trash
  • Alternatively, you can line a bowl with parchment paper and then pour in the used oil or grease. When it cools, remove it from the parchment and seal it in a plastic bag to prevent leakage. This option is ideal for those who do not want to throw away containers they may use for other things

After getting rid of most of the oil or grease, get a paper towel and wipe all surfaces (dishes, pots, pans, etc.) that came in contact with the oil, and then wash them appropriately in your kitchen sink. This thorough cleaning is necessary because even minute quantities of leftover grease can build up in your plumbing system over time and cause problems.


You can use your cooking oil and fats more than once as long as you cook with it the right way by not heating it beyond the smoke point and also storing it properly after usage. Here are some measures you can take to ensure you use your oil a few more times and save money on buying new oil:

  • Sniff the oil to check whether or not it is rancid
  • If the sniff test is indeterminate, rub some of the oil between your fingers. Good grease will have a smooth feel, while bad grease will feel sticky or tacky
  • Use a coffee filter, cheesecloth, or paper towel to strain the semi-warm oil in order to get rid of any food particles inside it
  • Store the oil in an airtight container and keep it in your refrigerator, freezer, or any other cool dark location

Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever. Your edible oil will become bad after a few uses. When that time comes, be sure to use the explanation above to properly dispose of it in your trash can.


Rather than just trash your used cooking oil, you can recycle it for other uses, e.g., as an alternative energy component. Some US municipalities have a recycling policy, which means that you can take your used oil and grease to them when they are no longer useful to you. When you are ready, just strain the oil to rid it of food particles, store it in a sealable container and go to the collection site and turn it in.

There is no need to refrigerate the container before taking it for recycling, which makes things easier. However, be sure to find out if the collection site you intend to use has any site-specific rules. For example, some may allow you to mix different oils and fats in one container, while others will not.

Things You Should Not Do With Grease And Oil

As noted above, the best option for grease and oil disposal is your trash can. However, many individuals often dispose of their used grease and oil in various other ways that are bad for both their plumbing systems and the environment. Check out these few tips on things not to be done with grease and oil:

Pouring Them On The Ground

A lot of people have this misconception that they can simply pour their used oil and bacon grease on the ground. These misinformed people have the impression that the ground will just swallow the grease and oil without any consequences.

Though the ground indeed absorbs the oil and grease poured into it, with time, such a practice can negatively impact the sewage and plumbing systems in that locality. It may also interest you to know that, when dumped outside, vegetable oils and animal fats can cause problems for wildlife, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Once again, ensure that your trash can is always your grease and oil disposal solution.

Including Large quantities Of Them In Your Compost Mix

There is nothing wrong with including small quantities of grease and oil in your compost. Where there will be problems, however, is adding large amounts that can clog the soil and bring about airflow, absorption, and moisture problems. Do not make animal fats part of your compost mix since their rancid odor is an invitation to vermin in addition to their ability to cause other issues that can undermine the compost.

Pouring Them Down A Drain

Never attempt to pour grease or cooking oil into a drain (such as a kitchen sink or toilet), as it will not only clog your plumbing system but can also be a part of larger clogs in municipal lines that can require thousands of dollars to fix.

At certain temperatures, grease and oil may be in liquid form, but they eventually cool inside plumbing pipes, congealing and gathering other particles in the process. If the grease collection grows over time, the free flow of water can be significantly disturbed, which can lead to water backups in your kitchen, toilet, and bathroom.

What If Your Drain Is Clogged Because Of Grease And Oil?

A blocked kitchen drain, toilet, or plumbing system can be a very uncomfortable experience. You may be wondering what DIY measures you can take if grease and oil block your kitchen sink or toilet. Well, for a start, you can place strainers over tubs, sinks, and shower drains to prevent solids from entering the drains. But once your drain is blocked, you will likely end up hiring a plumber.

Some advocate using enzyme-based drain cleaners to remove grease from PVC pipes and metals, as well as pouring white vinegar and baking soda down the drain to see if some of the grease or oil will be cleared. But note that while enzymatic cleaners are chemical-free, chemical cleaners corrode metal pipes and soften plastic ones. They also kill the useful bacteria found in septic systems. Another good option is to use drain snakes to unclog your drains.


Have you tried DIY options without success? If yes, then it’s time to invite a professional plumbing service to deal with stubborn grease, oil, or any other obstructions once and for all. If you are a commercial and/or residential operator in the Metro Detroit area, then do not hesitate to call or visit WaterWork Plumbing, expert plumbers in Detroit that will easily make your clogged drain start working again in addition to providing you with a wide range of other plumbing services.

Why Choose WaterWork?

Here are a few reasons why WaterWork is the best plumber in Detroit:

  • 24-Hour service, 7 days a week
  • Friendly and knowledgeable professionals
  • Commitment to excellent customer service
  • In-depth knowledge of the latest plumbing trends and technology
  • Budget-friendly pricing
  • Fully-licensed and insured

No need for further delays; make an appointment with WaterWork Plumbing today and free your plumbing systems from all grease and oil!