Day 3 | Safely Dispose of Cooking Grease
I’ve heard that a plumber’s rate triples on Holidays, and there’s no surprise that clogged pipes occur most often during this time.
Fats, oils and grease seems harmless, but indeed it is not.
When in liquid form, it is being beckoned by the kitchen sink. Seems like the easy solution. However, when the fat, oil or grease cools (even if you blast it with hot water on its way down), it hardens and sticks to the pipe walls. Do this over enough holidays and bam, when you expect it the least, a clogged pipe or worse yet, a burst pipe. Merry Christmas. Kids, Santa came last night and uh, the reindeer needed a bathroom break so decided to use our basement.
The simple fix is to properly dispose of your fats, oils and greases properly (and let this be a reminder as to why your doctor is trying to get you to cut out greasy foods from your diet).
New York City has taken the initiative to advise its residents on this important practice and have rendered it down (no pun intended…ok, maybe it was) to three easy to remember tips:
1) Pour your somewhat cooled fat, grease or oil in a sealed container and discard with your regular garbage.
Some easy ways to do this include pouring grease into used food containers (i.e. yogurt, margarine etc.), or even used zippered plastic bags. Other folks take used tinfoil and line a bowl with it, pour the grease into the bowl lined with foil and freeze it. Just before garbage day, take out the frozen grease package and toss it with the trash. This is not a good strategy in the summer, just sayin’. Air tight containers keep animals away.
Whatever grease container I’m using I always tie it up in a plastic bag just to be extra safe. If you have a large pan that you can’t lift or would be too awkward, use a turkey baster to siphon the grease out of the pan. If any grease spills, toss a bit of cornstarch over it (and you have gravy!) which will absorb the grease and make for a quick and less-messy clean up.
2) Before rinsing your greasy cookware and dishes, begin by wiping them off using a paper towel to absorb extra fat, oil or grease. Then, proceed to wash as usual.
This is a great tip, because incrementally we add more gunk to the system with each meal and never think about it. Obviously wait until everything has cooled to do this. We wouldn’t use a rag in this situation since the fat, oil or grease wouldn’t come out and secondly it would clog up the washing machine eventually. Paper towel is the perfect choice for this very simple and responsible step. If you want to be extra frugal, you can use crumpled paper napkins cleared from the table (it’s all going into the garbage anyway).
3) Scrape food scraps from dishes and cookware before washing, do not wash them down the sink.
I remember working at a steakhouse and we always dumped the piles of leftovers into a huge, greasy garbage can at which point the dishwasher would grab his industrial-strength scraper and remove every last food bit before placing the dish in the dish pit (yes, for those non-restaurant employees, your dishes live and die by the dish pit). It’s a great practice and can be combined with #2. If you are concerned about pesky animals getting into your garbage, place food scraps into the container mentioned in #1.
If you notice your kitchen drains smell, it is likely because you dump fat, oil or grease and food scraps down your sink. Let this be your gentle reminder!
If you follow these simple tips, you will avoid any pipes clogging and have a better ‘flow’ this holiday season 🙂