2

votes

Anybody worry about all that fat going down the drainpipe (literally)?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 25, 2011 at 12:59 PM

We are hooked to a septic system, and one time a "septic system expert" told me that fat is the WORST thing you can send down the drain. Evidently it cools in the pipes, and builds up, narrowing the passageway. (so what's GOOD for our heart is BAD for the drain pipes?). Does anyone take extra steps to mitigate fat going down the drain. We try to eat most of it, but some of it has to go.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5147)

on August 23, 2011
at 02:37 AM

Yah, fried parsnips are awesome. B4, I used to microwave them. I switched to frying w/bacon grease and I can't do without them.

C0fcb48d7da4f76fac17318efd2cd6b8

(4069)

on August 22, 2011
at 11:49 PM

Good story and nice tip about bacon grease and parsnips.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 09, 2011
at 08:46 PM

Lye is also not good for a septic tank! There are living microorganisms down there chewing up the residues- if you kill them off the whole thing comes to a stinking halt.

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on June 30, 2011
at 03:16 PM

Same as Mindi and Ambimorph. I do use hot water and a clean sponge to clean my cast iron but I definitely wipe it down first, as with all the pans I use for stove top use, with papertowels first.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 26, 2011
at 10:14 PM

Somewhat OT, but I'm the queen of that anyway, so here goes. I think having a dog is one of the most paleo things I've ever done, and I did that long before I ever heard of paleo eating. It's so clear to me that dogs and humans are a perfect pairing, and I recommend anyone who's not deathly allergic to give a good dog a good home. The mental health benefits alone are worth it, and if you train your dog, I guarantee you'll get a lot of insights into your own human relationships. I love my dog!

425aa4bfb79556ed50ea693c3edd7e13

(609)

on June 26, 2011
at 08:50 PM

Most of that lye just goes into the water and pollutes. Good plan.

C0fcb48d7da4f76fac17318efd2cd6b8

(4069)

on June 25, 2011
at 10:07 PM

Interesting about the fat stopping bacterial action and composting both in the septic tank and in the compost pile. I had no idea.

C0fcb48d7da4f76fac17318efd2cd6b8

(4069)

on June 25, 2011
at 10:02 PM

We let the dogs lick the pans and plates too, but they are tiny dogs, and get fat pretty easily, so they can't have it all the time.

34a367e60db77270bd7096dc04270fdc

(4171)

on June 25, 2011
at 08:54 PM

I've been using all purpose cleaner from Seventh Generation that works really well on greasy stuff. Here's a link http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000UXBJCU/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B0004JKPN4&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0NW7MNEMZTGR5V5PTR00

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on June 25, 2011
at 05:29 PM

Nice link, too, thanks!

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on June 25, 2011
at 05:29 PM

Lucky dogs! This, and the getting the bits off the floor from under the highchair phenomenon have nearly convinced me to get a dog.

9aa2a816c61170cc0183a68be0386ba5

(1702)

on June 25, 2011
at 02:34 PM

I pour most of my grease into a can which I place in the freezer so that it will be hard and can go in the trash. And the pipe narrowing will happen in any system. With septic, it seeps into the drain field which prevents it from being able to properly filter out the water, resulting in a backup. Use rid-x regularly and pour off the extra fat as often as possible.

  • C0fcb48d7da4f76fac17318efd2cd6b8

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9 Answers

8
Aeec781cc234fcae119d4a71532058f5

(2047)

on June 25, 2011
at 01:04 PM

I wipe the pans and dishes well with paper towels before washing them. If there's enough left to pour out, I pour it into a little dish, let it solidify, then scrape it into the trash.

Bacon fat goes into a jar in the fridge for later use...that stuff's too good to waste!

5
949d4d02ea7d1abd714cc3347c2c6854

on June 25, 2011
at 01:22 PM

When it's mostly fat, you can pour it into a dish with some ice cubes so that it hardens up quickly. Then the ice cubes melt, and you can pour them off the solid fat. We then throw the fat away if it's not bacon fat (which we do reuse). I do the same with the papertowels for a small amount of fat - for an intermediate amount, I will occasionally pour it into a plastic grocery bag and then put that in the trash.

I've been to some educational events where they told us all about the evils of fat down the drain and even gave us little plastic scrapers to use, so I try to be cautious about it.

3
C61399790c6531a0af344ab0c40048f1

on June 25, 2011
at 04:41 PM

The dogs lick out the pans and plates - sorry if this gross but they do then go in the dishwasher (the pans and plates - not the dogs) lol. But yes I have found it harder to clean up since switching from veg oils to animal fats. See my previous question: Anyone else find cooking with animal fats makes cleaning the kitchen harder?

For more Paleo hacks: http://paleohacks.com/questions/16909/anyone-else-find-cooking-with-animal-fats-makes-cleaning-the-kitchen-harder#ixzz1QJ4XU0Ko

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on June 25, 2011
at 05:29 PM

Lucky dogs! This, and the getting the bits off the floor from under the highchair phenomenon have nearly convinced me to get a dog.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on June 25, 2011
at 05:29 PM

Nice link, too, thanks!

34a367e60db77270bd7096dc04270fdc

(4171)

on June 25, 2011
at 08:54 PM

I've been using all purpose cleaner from Seventh Generation that works really well on greasy stuff. Here's a link http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000UXBJCU/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B0004JKPN4&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0NW7MNEMZTGR5V5PTR00

C0fcb48d7da4f76fac17318efd2cd6b8

(4069)

on June 25, 2011
at 10:02 PM

We let the dogs lick the pans and plates too, but they are tiny dogs, and get fat pretty easily, so they can't have it all the time.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 26, 2011
at 10:14 PM

Somewhat OT, but I'm the queen of that anyway, so here goes. I think having a dog is one of the most paleo things I've ever done, and I did that long before I ever heard of paleo eating. It's so clear to me that dogs and humans are a perfect pairing, and I recommend anyone who's not deathly allergic to give a good dog a good home. The mental health benefits alone are worth it, and if you train your dog, I guarantee you'll get a lot of insights into your own human relationships. I love my dog!

2
D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

on June 26, 2011
at 12:12 AM

I leave the fat in the skillet and cook with it. If there should be a lovely surplus, I put the surplus in a dish on the back of the stove, just as my grandmother did.

To clean the drainpipe the old-fashioned way, use 100% lye (sodium hydroxide). I buy Root-O brand from a local hardware store.

I use lye to make soap and it works well on drains, too.

Lye, water, and fat make soap! Lye is an alkali. Have you ever seen folks at a campground use salt to wipe out their skillets? Salt is an alkali, and mixed with fat, makes a bit of the chemical reaction that creates soap.

I have lived with a septic tank for several years, and have not had any problems.

All the best to you. :)

ETA: For those concerned about excess lye, here is a saponification table for calculating how much lye is needed for various fats.

http://waltonfeed.com/blog/show/article_id/165

For those who do not understand the molecular changes which occur during saponification, here is an excellent website which might be of interest:

http://www.cavemanchemistry.com/

Editing to spell out this: Saponification is the process whereby fat and an alkali are molecularly changed into soap. The fat is no longer fat. The lye (an alkali) is no longer lye. When someone does not know this, it is easy to make false assumptions about either the fat or the lye.

425aa4bfb79556ed50ea693c3edd7e13

(609)

on June 26, 2011
at 08:50 PM

Most of that lye just goes into the water and pollutes. Good plan.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 09, 2011
at 08:46 PM

Lye is also not good for a septic tank! There are living microorganisms down there chewing up the residues- if you kill them off the whole thing comes to a stinking halt.

2
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on June 25, 2011
at 02:49 PM

I'm not on a septic system but even so I try to put as little grease down the drain as possible for exactly this reason. In my case I'm worried only about the pipes and not the municipal sewage system. Like the other responders here, I pour high quality rendered fats (such as bacon fat or duck fat) into a clean cup or jar and keep it covered in the fridge and use it for cooking. Lower quality stuff I pour into a disposable cup or can and throw away. I wipe out the pan and throw away the paper towels, and if some grease does go down the drain, I make sure some soap goes with it, since the soap will help break apart the grease.

With a septic system, I think your expert is right. All of the waste that goes down your pipes sits in a big field of water and bacteria under your yard, and the bacteria break it down (essentially digests it) until it turns into benign organic matter (i.e. dirt) and is decomposed.

Any kind of fat is very slow to break down and can putrefy instead of decomposing. This can clog up your system and throw off the bacteria balance in your septic field, harming its ability to break down other wastes.

The same is true of composting. I compost kitchen scraps and yard waste, and the rule is that basically anything besides fat, oil, and chemicals/pesticides can go in there. Even one rind of fat can halt the composting action and putrefy the whole batch of compost. Sometimes in the summer when the compost is really going well, I won't worry about throwing small amounts of oil in there such as a salad dressed with oil that has gone bad, but that is about it.

C0fcb48d7da4f76fac17318efd2cd6b8

(4069)

on June 25, 2011
at 10:07 PM

Interesting about the fat stopping bacterial action and composting both in the septic tank and in the compost pile. I had no idea.

2
100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on June 25, 2011
at 01:17 PM

First, I eat as much of it as I can. Then I collect in jars what I can't eat, for frying with later. I reuse the cast iron pan without washing whenever possible: when there aren't burnt or stuck particles. Lastly, I do as mindi does and wipe with paper towels before washing. The amount getting down the drain is thus minimized.

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on June 30, 2011
at 03:16 PM

Same as Mindi and Ambimorph. I do use hot water and a clean sponge to clean my cast iron but I definitely wipe it down first, as with all the pans I use for stove top use, with papertowels first.

1
425aa4bfb79556ed50ea693c3edd7e13

(609)

on June 25, 2011
at 06:08 PM

Step 1: let pan cool

Step 2: pour/scrape grease into garbage

Step 3: wipe off any remaining big deposits with paper towel

Step 4: wash pan (or not)

Even if you are not on a septic system putting large amounts of grease down your sink is a dumb thing to do.

0
3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

on August 22, 2011
at 06:11 PM

I clogged up the pipes in my downstairs neighbor, who had to call a plumber. The plumber first tried Drano and liquid Roto Rooters. They did not work and he had to use a "snake" to punch through the grease.

I used to pour bacon and meat grease straight down the drain and this apparently clogged up my neighbor. Since then, I save all my bacon grease to fry my parsnips in. Meat grease, which is a mix of blood, flesh, and grease, I put in an old instant coffee container to dispose of later.

Never pour animal grease down the pipes. If you own the property, your plumber will charge you an arm and a leg for having to "snake" through the grease. Paleo Kitchen Basic 101.

C0fcb48d7da4f76fac17318efd2cd6b8

(4069)

on August 22, 2011
at 11:49 PM

Good story and nice tip about bacon grease and parsnips.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5147)

on August 23, 2011
at 02:37 AM

Yah, fried parsnips are awesome. B4, I used to microwave them. I switched to frying w/bacon grease and I can't do without them.

0
B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on June 25, 2011
at 07:04 PM

last week my neighbours and i had a minor flood; the floor drains backed up due to grease blockage in a common sewage line that services our street :(

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