Cooking for the holidays? Defend your drains

Published on November 17, 2021

logo of a drain graphic

To avoid household and environmental damage as well as a costly plumbing bill, never put fats, oils and grease down the drain.

Fats, oils and grease come from meats, butters and margarine, lard, food scraps, sauces, salad dressings, dairy products and cooking oil. When these items go down the drain, it hardens and causes sewer pipes to clog. This can lead to a sanitary sewer overflow where raw sewage backs up into your home, lawn, neighborhood and streets.

Not only does this nasty mess cause health issues, it also can run into a nearby stream or river, which affects drinking water. If pipes become clogged from putting fats, oils and grease down the drain, it can be a very expensive problem to fix.

Here are tips for handling fats, oils and grease during the busy holiday cooking time:

  • Reuse fry oil by filtering and freezing it after it has cooled.
  • Small amounts of grease, such as meat drippings, can be soaked up with a paper towel and thrown into the trash. If you have a larger amount of grease, let it cool, then pour or scrape the solidifying grease into a sturdy closed-lid container, like a coffee can, and dispose of it in the trash.
  • Put oil and grease in covered collection containers. 
  • Scrape food scraps from dishes into trash cans and garbage bags and dispose of properly. Avoid using the garbage disposal.
  • Remove oil and grease from dishes, pans, fryers and griddles. Cool first before you skim, scrape or wipe off excess grease.
  • Don’t pour oil and grease down the drain. Don’t put food scraps down the drain.
  • Don’t rinse off oil and grease with hot water.

If you experience a sewer backup in your home, call the Fort Worth Water Department at 817-392-4477 before calling a plumber.

Learn more about fat, oils and grease.