Officials: Do not pour fats, oils, and grease down your sink this Thanksgiving

(Robert Nickelsberg)

The City of Melbourne has issued a warning before Thanksgiving celebrations begin: Do not pour fats, oils, and grease down your sink.

"Blocked drains can ruin your holiday festivities," the city wrote. "While it may seem practical and harmless to get rid of fats, oils and grease (FOG) by rinsing it off your dishes or pouring it down the kitchen sink, doing so can lead to huge problems and expensive repairs down the road."

Oils and grease rinsed down the drain can congeal and block your sewer, Melbourne officials reported. As liquid grease and fats cool, they solidify and build up inside the pipes, becoming a hardened mass that restricts the flow of sewage and clogs pipes. 

The City of Melbourne recommends the following to keep fats, oils, and grease out of your pipes:

  • Never pour cooking oil, pan drippings, bacon grease, salad dressings or sauces down the sink or toilet or into street gutters or storm drains. 
  • Recycle used cooking oil or properly dispose of it by pouring it into a sealable container and placing the sealed container in the trash. To recycle large amounts of oil and grease, such as what’s leftover from frying a turkey, contact a local recycler. Or mix clay cat litter, a little at a time, into the oil. When all the oil has been absorbed, pour the cat litter into a trash bag, seal the bag, then dispose of it in your regular trash.
  • Dispose of food scraps into the trash, not the sink. Using a garbage disposal or food grinder does not remove FOG —it just makes the pieces smaller. Place a catch basket or screen over the sink drain when rinsing dishware, or when peeling or trimming food, to catch small scraps that would otherwise be washed down the drain. Throw the scraps in the trash.
  • Scrape pots and pans or use paper towels to remove all oil and grease before washing them.

This story was written in Orlando, Florida.