Why are we not supposed to pour grease down the sink? To put things plainly, grease goes down your sink as a liquid but hardens the moment it cools. Even if you pour it as a boiling hot liquid, it only takes a couple of minutes to solidify and become a sticky glob.
Here are some tips for dealing with the mess in your pipes:
- Snake your drain
- Use homemade drain cleaner
- Pour boiling water down the drain
- Clean your P-trap
Tip 1: Snake your drain.
A snake is a tool that spirals into the drain, drilling itself into the messes that clog your drain. It acts as a cork screw that lifts everything out as it's pulled up from the drain.
Sometimes a snake fails to grab onto mushy solids like animal fat. If you have harder solids trapped in your drain as well, this will at least clear those out.
Tip 2: Make a homemade drain cleaner.
Drain cleaners are abrasive, no matter what brand. The chemicals can damage pipes over time and may be ineffective against oil and fat. Pouring baking soda and vinegar down the drain causes a reaction that breaks down fats.
You'll need to seal your drain hole(s) to create a pressure buildup that forces everything down the pipes. Keep in mind, though, that this method won’t work on severely packed clogs.
Tip 3: Pour boiling water down the drain.
A fairly quick method for reducing the mass is to boil water and pour it into the drain. The hotter the water, the more effective it is at re-liquifying the solid waste.
Adding a little dish soap to your boiling water can help loosen the contents and move things along through the pipes. It also helps keep things clear further down the line as the water cools.
The problem some people find here is that animal fat is only one thing creating a blockage. You may still need to snake the drain afterward if there are other types of debris hanging around.
Tip 4: Clean your P-trap.
If the other methods don't do the trick, your problem most likely lies within your drain system's P-Trap. There's no sugar-coating the fact that this is a dirty job — gloves and a strong stomach are recommended.
If your sink is full of liquid, the first step is to remove any water or liquids from the basin. You can use a cup or siphoning tool to transfer the water to a larger container. Transfer the liquids elsewhere for disposal. You don't have to completely dry out the basin, though some prefer to contain the mess as much as possible.
You may want a bucket of sorts placed underneath your P-Trap to catch whatever is about to fall from your pipes. Most P-Traps nowadays are simple to remove by a counterclockwise twist and pull. Clean out the grease and reassemble. Simple!
Want to learn more about your plumbing? Check out some of our other blogs:
- What Hydrojetting Is and How It Works
- Why Is My Water Bill So High?
- How Video Inspection Helps Your Plumber
About the Author: Paul Nelson, Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Central PA
Paul has been a trusted Mr. Rooter owner of Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Central PA since 1983. With over 37 years to back him, Paul has experience with a wide range of plumbing related solutions and systems. He and his team specialize in septic tank services, water softener installation, and more.