We at Distinct Property Management run into maintenance requests about clogged kitchen sinks at least once a week and in 99.9% of the cases the cause was a build up of grease, which has turned into black thick goo. Grease is a normal substance found in the kitchen, and comes from cooking processes and food such as meat and dairy. It is a common misconception that pouring grease down the drain is okay if you run hot water and pour dish soap after it. In reality, grease should never go down the drain. Even if it’s hot and easy to pour out of the pan, it will eventually cool and solidify somewhere in your plumbing. This causes a gummy, goopy mess to form along the pipe walls, trapping other debris that flows down the drain. Over time, the resulting clogs could bring your drains to a standstill.
Even if the grease makes it past your home’s plumbing system, it continues to wreak havoc in the municipal sewer system. Some cities spend millions of dollars a year addressing damaged sewer systems and clearing out masses of solid waste—obstacles the industry calls “fatbergs,” which are named for the cooking oil and grease that hold the obstructions together. By never pouring grease down the drain, you can help prevent clogs and other plumbing problems further down the line.
Thankfully, there are measures you can take to avoid this common clog.
It may seem like an easy cleanup option, but pouring any greasy, oily, or fatty food substances down the sink is the beginning of a grease clog. This includes salad dressing, coconut oil, peanut butter, butter, lard, mayonnaise, cosmetic oils and petroleum jelly. Remove excess grease and food scraps from cookware and dishes before washing by wiping them out with a paper towel. Also, any dishes which have a bigger grease buildup should be soaked with a grease-dissolving cleaner before the washing process.
Some fatty, oily, and greasy substances will find their way into your kitchen drain regardless of how carefully you wash up. To help avoid grease clogs, intermittently run lots of hot water and grease cutting soap down the drain. Use this method frequently to breakdown any accumulating grease.
You may prefer to avoid chemicals found in soaps and cleaners. There are natural products that have been found to effectively fight grease buildup in kitchen sinks. We suggest trying a 1:1 ratio of hot water and vinegar. Sending boiling water down the drain helps melt the clog, while the vinegar eats away at debris attached to the wall of the pipe. Finish the process by sending more boiling water down the drain to clear any remaining grease.