What Happens if Oil Enters the Drain?

Under normal circumstances, it’s advisable to keep food particles, grease, and oil out of the drain. These materials can bind together to form drain clogs that gradually grow to fill the drain line. At first, you may notice that the drain is draining slowly, and eventually, it may stop altogether. Prevention is better than the cure, adopting a proactive approach to keep the drain clean and clear is a great idea. But, due to a simple error or accidentally items will enter the drain that includes oil and other sticky substances. In this article, we will offer advice on what you should do if you find yourself in this situation.

What is the Scale of this Problem?

Clogged drains are one of the most common reasons why a professional plumber is called to a home. Drain clogs may be hard to move and in some cases, there is an underlying issue such as a sewer line clog that needs to be fixed. But, in many cases, it is possible to clear a simple drain clog yourself if you have some free time and a little knowledge. We will look at some drain cleaning tips in this article and it’s always worth trying them first before you call a local plumber.

5 DIY Drain Cleaning Tips

Let’s look at five drain cleaning tips. They are:

1.   Fit Drain Covers

Fitting drain covers to every drain in the home will prevent a lot of material from entering the drain. Of course, grease and oil are liquid and they will pass through. But, the materials that may adhere to these sticky deposits will not and this makes it difficult for a clog to form.

2.   Flush with Hot Water

Oil and grease tend to solidify in the drain and this is when those sticky surfaces tend to attract other waste particles, including hair, nails, food debris, and more. Periodically flushing the drain with hot water will melt these sticky materials which can reduce the risk of clog formation.

3.   Baking Soda and White Vinegar

These two ingredients are found in many store cupboards and when they are combined they create a powerful cleaning and deodorizing solution. Pour a cup of baking soda into the drain and follow with a cup of white vinegar. A fizzy chemical reaction will take place and this should be left to work for at least 10 minutes. After this time, simply flush the drain clean with hot (not boiling) water, and this process can be repeated as needed.

4.   Use a Plumbing Augur

A plumbing augur is commonly referred to as a “drain snake”. It’s an inexpensive tool that can be used to break drain clogs apart inside the drain. There are various sizes of drain snakes and having a couple in your DIY plumbing toolbox is a great idea. This tool is easy to use, the drain snake is a flexible rod with a crank at one end and a drill bit at the business end. Simply feed the augur into the drain until it butts up against the clog and then turn the handle to break it apart. This is an effective method, but it will only work if the drain clog is located closer to the entrance of the drain.

5.   A Cup Plunger

For many people, this will be the first plumbing tool they reach for if the drain is slow or it’s stopped draining altogether. This is an easy tool to use, simply place the rubber cup over the drain and move the handle up and down to change the pressure in the drain. In many cases, this will shake a drain clog loose and then you can flush it away with cold water. Don’t be too vigorous with the plunger, let the pressure do the work or you may injure yourself or damage the drain line.

How Can I Dispose of Waste Oil and Grease?

As you can see, pouring oil and grease into the drain can cause a lot of problems that you will have to deal with sooner or later. It’s important to avoid pouring oil and grease into the drain, but how do you dispose of them responsibly? If you have a local oil recycling point it’s easy to take the oil there in bottles and place them in the receptacle. Alternatively, you can freeze the oil in a container and then place it in the trash if you have no option to recycle.

What About Chemical Drain Cleaning Products?

For many people, a chemical drain cleaning product is the first thing that they will use when they encounter a slow running or clogged drain. This is understandable, the instructions seem simple to follow and it’s easy to pour a liquid into a drain. But, these products contain caustic chemicals that can burn exposed skin and damage your plumbing pipes. They are not as effective as you might imagine and drain clogs tend to return after a short time. A professional plumber will not use a chemical drain cleaner and they will always prefer a manual removal method to protect the integrity of the plumbing system. If you want to try a kinder chemical cleaning option go with the baking soda and white vinegar method we showed earlier.

In Conclusion

A clogged drain can be a real problem and kitchen sinks are especially vulnerable when oil and grease are disposed of in an incorrect manner. But, as we’ve shown, there are drain clog clearance methods that you can attempt with a few basic tools and ingredients. In many cases, these DIY approaches will work, but there are times when you simply cannot remove a clog without professional intervention. There may be an underlying cause that you are not aware of and it would be hard to identify a sewer clog without a fiber optic camera. Multiple DIY drain clearing attempts can be made, but if you cannot clear the clog it’s time to contact your local professional plumber for help.