Reasons Not to Put Grease Down Your Drain

"Fatberg" may sound like a mean name that bullies use in kindergarten, but really, it's a term that refers to giant globs of solidified fat that are forming in the sewers of many large cities. Fatbergs are comprised of the grease that gets rinsed down the drains of homes and restaurants. Other items, from food particles to wet wipes, get caught in the fatbergs, causing them to grow even larger.

Fatbergs are more than a minor annoyance for municipalities. They can grow large enough to block entire branches of a sewer system, causing sewage to back up in numerous homes, restaurants, and businesses. Imagine everyone on your street having their toilets back up at the same time.

The best way to help fight against fatbergs is to avoid putting grease down your drain. You should also avoid flushing wet wipes down the toilet, as these easily get caught in growing fatbergs and make the problem much worse. However, fatbergs are not the only reason never to put grease down your drain. Here's a look at three others.

Your drain may clog.

The grease you pour down the drain may not even make it all of the way to the public sewer system. Especially in the winter, the walls of your drain pipes tend to be quite cool. When the grease hits these pipe walls, it may solidify, causing a clog. The clog may not completely stop your sink from draining immediately, but in the days that follow, it can grab onto little pieces of food and eventually lead to a complete blockage.

Clogs caused by grease are very tough to remove since the grease is so sticky. A good-old-fashioned plunging job is unlikely to do the trick, so you'll need to call your plumber and have them unclog your drain.

They grease can clog your main sewer line.

The big, wide pipe that carries all of your home's waste into the public sewer system is known as your main sewer line. In most cities and towns, the main sewer line is considered your property. So if anything goes wrong with it, you'll need to pay for the repairs.

It's rather common for tree roots to grow into main sewer lines, as they are often made from clay and are a good source of moisture and nutrients for the tree. These tree roots are the perfect surface for grease to cling to. Once they become sticky with grease, the clog keeps growing as it grabs onto food particles and toilet tissue. Before you know it, your entire sewer line is clogged, which means your toilets won't flush and your drains won't drain.

Clearing out a main sewer line clog is no minor endeavor. Your plumber will need to dig up the pipe and use an auger to grind away the roots and everything that's stuck to them. This costs an average of $293, with some homeowners paying as much as $900.

It's bad for your garbage disposal.

Having a garbage disposal in your kitchen sink does not make pouring grease down the drain okay. In fact, the grease is terrible for your disposal. It can create a sticky coating on the grinding mechanism, so when you put food down the disposal, it is not able to grind properly. This may cause your disposal to seize up or get stuck.

The moral of the story is: listen to your plumber and don't put grease down the drain. Doing so contributes to fatbergs and also puts your own plumbing at risk. Let grease solidify, and then dispose of it in the trash. To learn more, visit resources like