5 Cooking Oil Disposal Tips
Like car parts and electronics, cooking oil is one of those things that we always need but never know how to dispose of it. It doesn’t seem right just to throw it out, but you don’t want it building up layers of crud in your cookware.
Fortunately, there are several methods to dispose of cooking oil safely. Hot oil can cause burns, start fires, clog drains, and worse, so you want to be sure you follow these strategies to the letter.
There’s no need to fear the stuff that makes your veggies taste so yummy anymore with these five tips for safely disposing of cooking oil.
The Best Ways to Dispose of Cooking Oil
Cool and Store in a Disposable Container
The easiest and most common method of disposing of cooking oil is cooling it and storing it in a disposable container.
Many of us are the type who don’t want to wash a sink full of dishes after we’ve relaxed with a meal. We want to clean everything as we go and then sit down with the food. But if you’re going to work safely with cooking oil, get used to leaving that pan with oil in it alone.
Let the oil cool, and it will slowly thicken into a kind of paste that you can easily scrape into a container. Choose a disposable container so that when it’s full, you can easily toss it out.
Turn It Into Soap
There are more creative disposal methods, and that’s to not dispose of used cooking oil at all. Soap always has a significant oil component, and cooking oil is as good as any other.
But won’t that just make a bar of soap that smells like chicken and mushrooms? Not when you cut the cooking oil with vinegar and lye, and add a hefty dose of essential oils.
Cooking oil can be reused. Simply follow the steps outlined in tip #1, and when it comes time to cook again, bust out your disposable container and spoon a dollop of oil paste into the heating pan.
Use it to Feed Birds
If birds grace your backyard with their presence, you can use cooking oil to make snacks for them. Beef fat, in particular, can be mixed with flour, oats, seeds, and other bird feed, refrigerated, and then rolled into balls. Take these grease cakes and roll them once more in birdseed.
Hang those creations, called “suet cakes,” on a string or cage outside. The birds will love you for it.
Invest in a Grease Disposal System
Most restaurants that go through gallons of hot oil every day have professional-grade grease disposal systems.
These contraptions hold multiple bags of cooling oil up to 32 oz. each, making for frequent, easy disposal.
How Not to Dispose of Cooking Oil
As there are many ways of disposing of oil safely, there are at least as many unsafe ways. Here are the three most common ways cooking oil is improperly disposed of.
Pour It Down the Drain
One of the most common kitchen mistakes also causes one of the most expensive kitchen fixes. Pouring hot oil, or cool oil for that matter, down the sink, will likely result in a clog.
These aren’t the kind of clogs you can snake yourself, so to avoid a costly call to the repairman, spare the drain of your cooking oil.
Flush It Down the Toilet
Toilet pipes are a lot like kitchen pipes—they don’t like oil being poured down them. Avoid mixing oil with water whenever you can.
Pour it Directly into a Trash Can
This method of disposing of oil can be absolutely disastrous, causing fires, attracting pests, and making a mess at the waste disposal plant. If your oil has cooled enough but is still able to be poured, this method isn’t off-limits, but it’s still better to house the oil in a disposable container.
What if Oil Does Go Down the Drain?
In the event that hot oil does find its way down the drain, you have to act fast. Pour vinegar then baking soda down the drain. The fizzing effect will last about 10 minutes and clear any fatbergs that may be forming.
It’s important not to mix the vinegar and baking soda first, as you’ll waste the crucial early seconds of the reaction they have with each other. Save that for the oil by pouring them slowly and separately.
Call in the Pros
Accidents happen. In case you get to that oil-clogged drain too late, you can always call in All Dry USA’s top-grade, professional-quality drain repair services. Protect yourself, and protect your family with All Dry USA.