Can You Put Olive Oil Down the Drain? Why You Shouldn’t

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Once you’ve cooked a big messy meal, it can be hard to know what to do with the leftover oil. You don’t want it leaking all over the bin and you definitely don’t want to be using dirty oil again. So what do you do? Can you pour olive oil and other oils down the drain? Keep reading to find out the unconventional ways that could in fact even make you some money!

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Can You Put Olive Oil Down The Drain?

Table of Contents

Can You Pour Olive Oil Down the Drain?

Quick answer: no, you shouldn’t.

Can You Pour Unused Olive Oil Down the Drain?

Olive oil should never be poured directly down the drain. This will lead to a build-up of the grease on the inside of your drain pipes, which really affects the drainage of your drains and can even lead to a clogged drain!

Whether the olive oil is unused or cooked, or even whatever other type of oil is being used, it will not only coat the surface of the drains but it can cause things to stick to the inside of the drain as they pass through your pipes.

Even though olive oil looks completely liquid, it can begin to solidify at any temperatures under 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius). This is particularly important to know if you live in an area with cold winters, such as Michigan. Pouring olive oil down your drains will very likely cause a drain blockage.

The cost of expensive plumbing is definitely not worth it, so I would totally recommend against pouring any olive oil down the drain.

Check out this easy video explaining even further the importance of not pouring your olive oil down the sink:

Can You Pour Olive Oil Down the Toilet?

Just like your sink drains, the olive oil will stick to the interior of the toilet pipe walls and cause them to clog. Even though the toilet pipes might be a little bigger, olive oil will still have the same effect.

It may take the toilet drain a bit longer to completely block. But naturally, your toilet will have other things passing through the toilet. The olive oil may cause this to stick to the walls of the drain. This will create a bad odor.

How to Responsibly Get Rid of Old Olive Oil

Let the Olive Oil Solidify or Freeze It

Chances are, if you were cooking with this oil not that long ago then the oil is still a little hot. If this is the case, then you can pour it into a container (one that will not melt if its super hot). Let the cooking oil set and cool in the container and it will probably turn from liquid to solid. This is natural, and the only oil that doesn’t solidify when it has cooled is canola oil.

You can choose to leave it in this semi-solid state if you’re happy with it this way. Many people will just leave it like this. Otherwise you can freeze the oil once it becomes somewhat solid.

If you are looking to reuse the olive oil for other cooking applications, then it may be a good idea to freeze the oil so it will last a little longer. It might be a good idea too to write down the date you froze the oil somewhere on the container. Then, try to use the oil within 6 months, give or take.

Move the Olive Oil to Another Container

Say you are freezing the olive oil, make sure it is in a container you are wanting to freeze it in. If it is in a glass jar or bottle, then it will not be suitable for freezing, unless the jug has been labeled that it can, or you are sure that it is tempered.

If you are not sure if the glass is tempered, then don’t freeze it. Glass expands and contracts depending on the temperature which can cause it to crack. Even though the frozen olive oil won’t make much of a mess, you don’t want glass shards all over your freezer.

Can You Put Olive Oil Down The Drain? Why You Shouldn’t

Disposing of the Oil Properly

There are two ways in which you can properly dispose of the oil, compost the used oil or recycle it.

I will explain these further below:

Composting the Oil

You can mix the oil with other left-overs. Vegetable scrapings, leaves, fruit scraps or any other organic material are is deemed compostable. Even used olive oil is considered organic material and is safe to compost.

This can be done both indoors and outdoors, making it a super handy resource for feeding your houseplants!

Recycle the Olive Oil

If gardening isn’t so much your thing, then fear not, you can always take the oil to the recycling center. You could always reach out to restaurants in your neighborhood who may have a use for the leftover oil too.

If this hasn’t spiked anyone’s interest, then you could hedge your bets. Call the local fire department or trash company. If none of this works, then just take your oil to the local recycling centers. It might be worth asking at your local recycling center if they actually recycle olive oil before making the trek down. Just call or email them for clarification.

Some parts of the country even allow for a tax reduction on recycling or donating your used olive oil. Make sure you keep this in mind, particularly around tax time!

Can You Put Olive Oil Down The Drain? Why You Shouldn’t

FAQs

Should I Pour Olive Oil Down the Drain?

No. The oil can solidify and cause massive, expensive blockage.

What Can Recycled Olive Oil Be Used for?

The recycling center doesn’t actually purify the oil and it somehow get used in cooking again – it actually gets repurposed as a biodiesel fuel source! Through blending methanol or other alcohols with the animal fats from vegetable oils such as olive oil, you can produce biodiesel.
This is a much more sustainable fuel source for the planet, and it releases much fewer greenhouse gases than conventional oil. And, because it is renewable, it burns cleanly and can be produced domestically here in America. This makes it a perfect fuel source for vehicles such as motorbikes and tractors.

So, Can You Pour Olive Oil Down The Drain?

Any sort of vegetable oil should not be poured down the drain and is a bad idea. It can be really harmful to your pipes by doing so. It could cause a blockage or even worse, a burst pipe so make sure you stick to either recycling or composting. Your pocket will thank you for it!

If you enjoyed this article then check out some of my other blog posts:

By Anna

Hey, I’m Anna; writer, editor and amateur cook extraordinaire! Food has been my life and my passion for the most of my life – it’s crazy to think I didn’t pursue a career in cooking. I’m obsessed! However, keeping cooking as an obsessive hobby has worked for me – my passion grows as the years pass by – maybe I wouldn’t say the same if it was also my day job! I hope you find cooking inspiration, entertainment and “stop and think interesting tid-bits” throughout my writing – and I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got anything you want to share. Food feeds the soul – so get eating!

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