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How to dispose of cooking oil at home?


Pouring leftover cooking oil down your kitchen sink will cause more harm than good. Instead of opting for convenience, check out this guide on how to dispose of your used cooking oil properly. 

© airdone | 123rf

Are you guilty of disposing of your leftover cooking oil down the kitchen sink? You’re not alone. From deep frying crispy fried chicken to cooking a simple meal for the family, we’re often left with leftover cooking oil that we’re not too sure how to get rid of. The simple solution is to, of course, pour it down the drain. Out of sight, out of mind, right? 

But did you know that by doing this, you will clog up the drain and consequently your entire sewer system? Not to mention, it can even pollute water resources. In 2016, Malaysia’s Klang Municipal Council spent almost RM6 million to remove clogging caused by hardened cooking oil in drains –  a costly plan to prevent flooding that could have been easily avoided if everyone disposed of their cooking oil responsibly.

So let’s do your home and the environment a favour by disposing of your leftover oil properly. In this article, we’ll take a look at what happens if you pour cooking oil down the drain and how to dispose of them in the right way. 

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Can you pour hot oil down the sink? 

You should never pour cooking oil down the drain, let alone hot cooking oil. Most oils, including cooking oil, coconut oil and butter, are in a liquid state when they’re warm or heated up. But once they’re cooled, they’ll congeal and stick to the walls of the pipes. Over time, these built-ups will clog up your kitchen pipes, especially in the sink trap – where the pipe makes a U-bend. 

Pouring oil down your toilet is also a big no-no. Similar to the kitchen sink, the oil that you pour down the toilet train will also clog up your pipes and you’re going to spend a lot of unnecessary money to get them fixed. 

Can you pour oil down the drain with hot water? 

© christingasner | 123rf

The short answer is no. You may think that running hot water down your drain right after you pour the oil will keep it from solidifying and clogging your pipe, but that’s not the case. Hot water or not, the fat content in the oil will still coat the inside of your pipes and when the water cools, it’ll congeal and form a blockage.

What do you do if you accidentally pour oil down the drain?

We get it, sometimes things happen. You could be prepping for dinner in your kitchen and knocked a bowl of cooking oil into the sink by accident. So what can you do then? Instead of turning on the tap to let the water wash the grease away, do this: 

  1. First, pour very hot water down the drain. 
  2. Next, you should pour a mixture of vinegar and baking soda down the drain. 

For maintenance, pour a mixture of vinegar and baking soda down the drain once a month to remove any built-ups and particles in the pipe. 

Got a clogged sink? Read this guide to find out how to unclog your sink the natural way

Read more: Where to recycle clothes, e-waste and other household items in Malaysia

How do you dispose of cooking oil in Malaysia?

© belchonock | 123rf

Now that you know the danger of pouring used cooking oil down the drain, let’s move on to the next part: how to dispose of cooking oil responsibly. Here are some of our suggestions. 

1. Pour it into a container 

This is perhaps one of the easiest ways out there. First, you need to let your leftover oil cool as they’re easier and safer to work with at room temperature. Then, pour it into a sealable container and throw it into the bin. 

2. Freeze it

Alternatively, you can freeze the oil to solidify it. You may use the same method as above — pour the leftover oil into a container before you pop it into the freezer to freeze it. Once the oil turns solid, you can throw it into the rubbish bin. 

3. Add to your compost

If you want a greener approach, you can recycle your used cooking oil into your home compost. However, do note that only vegetable oil — olive oil, sunflower oil, corn oil or rapeseed oil — is allowed. Avoid adding too much leftover oil at one go as it will slow down the composting process. 

4. Use it to remove weeds

Nothing ruins your beautiful garden like weeds. To get rid of them, you can either pour your leftover oil directly on them or pour the oil into a spray bottle and spray away. The weeds will be gone in a trice.

5. Sell it for extra cash

Did you know that you can sell your used cooking oil? So instead of pouring it down the drain and polluting the environment, you can sell it to places like Alam Flora and earn some money too. What a great deal right? But before you get to that, you have to prep it properly – keep it in a sealable container – before sending it to the recycling centres. They will then convert your leftover cooking oil into soaps, candles, as well as renewable energy. Find out where you can sell your cooking oil for extra money here.  

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Disclaimer: The information is provided for general information only. Malaysia Sdn Bhd makes no representations or warranties in relation to the information, including but not limited to any representation or warranty as to the fitness for any particular purpose of the information to the fullest extent permitted by law. While every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided in this article is accurate, reliable, and complete as of the time of writing, the information provided in this article should not be relied upon to make any financial, investment, real estate or legal decisions. Additionally, the information should not substitute advice from a trained professional who can take into account your personal facts and circumstances, and we accept no liability if you use the information to form decisions.

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