Most people know how important it is to not pour used grease from cooking down their drains, but not as many people know how bits of grease can make it into the drain. Unfortunately, grease builds up over time because of its nature. Just tiny bits from your meals each week can result in a big problem over time, leaving you with a messy, smelly drain clog.
Grease is one of the most common causes of drain clogs. What do you need to know about grease accumulation, and how do you deal with a clog should one occur?
In addition to the gradual accumulation of grease, mixing it with other problems compounds the issue. The little bits of grease that build up unknowingly are mixed with the coffee grinds, egg shells, soap (especially those that contain animal fat as part of their ingredients), and other things you put into your drain, thinking there is no cause for concern. The problem is anything that comes into contact with grease adds to the problem – grease is like a sticky web that causes a big mess in your plumbing.
How Do You Remove Grease Clogs?
Despite your effort to avoid grease build-up, it can still happen. And when it does, you’ll eventually have a clog. What should you do about it?
Simple grease clogs might be fixable by flushing hot water and dish soap down your drain when you wash away food scraps. Some dish liquids will break off grease, but only if the buildup isn’t severe. If you’re trying to avoid buildup, flushing your drain with water and anti-greases buildup soaps can be helpful.
Caustic cleaners are more effective if your buildup is terrible enough to cause a clog. You’ll need to use a generous amount of a caustic cleaner to get through dense accumulation, and you’ll need to be patient – it can take an hour or more for caustic cleaners to clear a drain.
Remember that frequent use of some products meant to clear a drain can corrode drain pipes over time. If you have recurrent problems with grease clogs, you’ll need to take a different approach.
Homemade cleaners can be effective and are safer for your pipes. A 1:1 ration of water and vinegar might clear a clog. Pour the boiling water and vinegar mixture down the drain, wait a few minutes, and follow up with more boiling water.
Unfortunately, some grease clogs are bad enough that no at-home remedy will do, and you’ll need to call in a professional. Chances are you’ll get tips on how to avoid future clogs, but if not, ask for advice about what you should be doing and not be doing to keep your drains clear.