You’ve probably heard the old bit of advice to never pour bacon grease down the drain (if you haven’t, now is the time). This isn’t just about saving bacon fat for later use, but it’s about protecting your drains. And while bacon grease is one of the worst offenders, you should never put any fat or grease down your drains at all, at any time, no matter how convenient it is. Here’s why it’s important always to pour or wipe grease straight into the trash.
Grease Doesn’t Dissolve
We know it looks like grease dissolves. Grease is naturally very reactive to heat, and when heated up it starts to resemble a liquid. It can become very tempting just to pour that liquid down the drain, or heat up your faucet water so that it brushes extra grease away in seconds. But you aren’t changing the nature of the grease! As it cools down in your pipes, it will congeal back into a thick mass and linger there. Water will wash some of it away, but grease is excellent at clinging to pipes and sticking around.
Grease Mixes Easily with Other Debris
It’s bad enough that grease sticks in your pipes, but it would take a whole lot of grease to actually form a clog. The problem is that grease isn’t alone. It’s very good at mixing with other debris in your pipes, forcing them to stick around too and form clogs.
It can also get even worse. Over time, various greases and oils can mix and interact with trace amounts of calcium in water or pipes. This creates some ugly blobs of soapy fat that can do real damage the further they get down the drains.
These Gross Combinations Don’t Go Away
Grease blobs are incredibly resistant to anything that tries to get rid of them. Drain cleaner won’t do very much. Even drain snakes can struggle to find and successfully remove a grease blob (they are better suited to clumps that you can get a grip on). That means that grease you may have washed down years ago – even grease from the people who owned your home before you – could still be around, ready to cause trouble.
Repairs Can Be More Difficult Than Usual
As you can imagine from what we’ve talked about, cleaning out grease clogs can be a challenging process. It may require more time and effort than traditional plumbing clogs, which can make repairs more expensive.
It’s Not Great for the City, Either
Ultimately, grease often ends up in local sewers, where it can gather together and form massive blobs of fat. These blobs can cause widespread problems, blockages, and flooding for nearby homes, so it’s definitely not something you want to contribute to!