Best Practices on How to Get Rid of Oil After Frying

Outdoor event promoting cooking oil recycling with vibrant blue and green decorations, informational booths, and recycling symbols."

Wondering how to get rid of oil after frying? Proper disposal of used cooking oil is crucial to prevent plumbing problems and environmental harm. It is important not to pour oil down the drain or in the toilet, as it can solidify, clog pipes, and cause backups. This guide will walk you through safe disposal methods, storage tips, reuse strategies, and recycling options.

Quick Facts

  • Dispose of used cooking oil safely by mixing it with absorbent materials like cat litter or using a non-recyclable airtight container before throwing it in the trash.
  • Reuse your cooking oil by straining it to remove food particles and storing it properly in a sealed container, but make sure it smells and looks good before reuse.
  • Consider recycling used cooking oil at local recycling centers or composting small amounts of plant-based oil at home to reduce environmental impact.

Safe Disposal Methods for Used Cooking Oil

Science lab with students conducting experiments on recycling cooking oil, featuring a mix of blue and green colors and recycling symbols.

Let’s talk turkey—or, more accurately, turkey fryer oil. Once the deep frying is done, you’ve got a vat of used oil to contend with. Tossing it down the sink is a definite no-no; it’s harmful to the environment and a one-way ticket to Clogsville for your pipes. So, what’s the eco-friendly encore after you’ve cooked up a storm? Waste cooking oil can be taken to recycling centers, local departments of public works, or even the local fire department for proper disposal.

One savvy move is to buddy up your used cooking oil with a material that’s got a thirst for absorption. Mix in some cat litter, sand, or sawdust, and you’ve got yourself a concoction that’s ready for the bin. But before you bid farewell, let it cool off! Hot oil is not just a danger to your trash bag; it’s a hazard to anyone who handles it. After browning ground beef or any other cooking, the used oil should be mixed with absorbent materials before disposal.

If you’re more of a pour-and-store type, then a non-recyclable airtight container is your friend. Think along the lines of an empty milk carton or a takeout container with a secure lid. Once your oil cool completely, pour it in, seal it up, and send it off with the rest of your garbage.

Storing Used Cooking Oil Before Disposal

Now, let’s pump the brakes before that oil hits the trash can. Storing used cooking oil isn’t rocket science, but it does call for a touch of common sense. Here’s what you need to do to reuse cooking oil:

  1. Let your oil cool down to room temperature before it goes anywhere.
  2. Use a sealable, disposable container, like a plastic bottle or an old jam jar, to store the oil.
  3. Make sure to tighten that lid to keep leaks at bay.

Got your container? Great. Now slap a date on it. This isn’t just busywork; it’s about keeping track of your oil’s shelf life. Whether you’re storing it for a future fry-up or readying it for disposal, knowing the age of your oil is key. And while it doesn’t need to chill in the fridge unless you plan to reuse it, keeping it in a cool, dark place is a smart move.

As you accumulate more used oil, top up your container until it’s time to say goodbye. By storing it properly, you’re not just being tidy; you’re making sure every drop of leftover oil is accounted for when it’s time to dispose or reuse.

Reusing Cooking Oil

A clean and streamlined industrial setting where colorful art emerges from an oil tank, symbolizing the creative transformation of reused cooking oil.

Heard the one about the thrifty chef who reused their cooking oil? It’s no joke; it’s just good sense. Before you channel your inner recycler, take a whiff and a look at your oil. If it smells like last week’s fish fry or looks more like a science experiment than a cooking ingredient, it’s time to let go.

For the oils that pass the sniff test, straining is the next step. A fine-mesh sieve or a strainer lined with kitchen paper will catch those crispy bits that are best left out of your next culinary creation. When you pour hot oil through the strainer, make sure to store the strained frying oil in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid, and you’re set for another round of frying. Just remember:

  • The number of reuses depends on what you’ve cooked
  • Cleaner oils can take the heat up to 8 times
  • Oils used for breaded foods should bow out after 3 to 4 encores.

Mixing oils is like mixing metaphors: it just doesn’t work. Stick to one type for consistent flavor and quality, and keep in mind that what you fry can flavor your oil, adding an unexpected twist to your next dish.

Recycling Cooking Oil

A vibrant and informative image promoting the recycling of used cooking oil, showing various locations such as recycling centers, curbside collection, and illustrating the process and benefits of recycling used cooking oil into new products like fuel.

Feeling green? Let’s turn that used cooking oil into something that gives Mother Nature a high-five. Recycle cooking oil at recycling centers, which are more common than you think, and many are on standby to take that greasy burden off your hands. Waste cooking oil can also be taken to local departments of public works or even the local fire department for proper disposal. If you’ve got a local spot that accepts household hazardous waste, you’re in luck. Drop off your oil, and they’ll transform it into biodiesel, a cleaner-burning fuel that’s kinder to our planet.

But wait, there’s more! Beyond recycling centers, some cities have special programs that collect your used oil curbside or at designated drop-offs, especially around the holiday season. And let’s not forget about those neighborhood eateries; some of them will gladly take your oil off your hands or point you towards companies that can turn it into biodiesel.

Before you make the drop, however, give your oil a quick once-over. Fish out any rogue bits of food, and pour it into a plastic butter container or an old coffee can. To ensure a cleaner process, you can use a coffee filter while pouring the oil. Now you’re all set to contribute to a greener tomorrow.

Adding Used Oil to Compost

There’s a bit of a plot twist when it comes to composting cooking oil: it’s not for everyone. While most curbside compost programs would rather you leave oil out, your home compost pile might not be so picky. If you’re dabbling in the art of compost, a little bit of plant-based oil can join the party—just keep it to a cup or less.

Pour that modest amount of oil over your compost, and give it a good stir. Or, if you’re more about the clean-up than the cooking, those oil-soaked paper towels from wiping down your pan can be tossed into the compost pile too. It’s a small step, but every bit helps when it comes to waste reduction.

Solidifying Oil for Disposal

Let’s get solid—solid as in solidified cooking oil, that is. When you’re ready to dispose of that used oil, consider giving it a cold shoulder by popping it into the freezer or fridge. Once it hardens, you can toss it into the trash can without a second thought. If your freezer’s packed, you can also mix in some absorbent materials like cat litter or sawdust to turn that oil into a solid brick of disposal ease.

Ever heard of FryAway? It’s one of those nifty products that can turn your liquid oil woes into a solid mass, ready for the bin. But whether you go high-tech with a product or old-school with kitty litter, the end goal is the same: no more oil sliding around your trash bag.

Remember, this solidifying act isn’t just for show. By transforming oil from liquid to solid, you’re making sure it doesn’t leak out and cause environmental headaches down the line. Plus, solid waste sites will thank you for keeping things tidy.

Using Grease Disposal Systems

If you’re a frequent fryer, it might be time to bring in the big guns: a grease disposal system. These are the foil-lined bags and traps that make oil disposal a breeze. Think of a grease trap as your kitchen’s security guard, keeping fats, oils, and greases from wreaking havoc on your home plumbing and the local sewage system.

Installed underground and out of sight, grease traps work tirelessly to separate the good from the greasy. Water flows through while the rest gets caught, ensuring that only the clean stuff makes its way to the sewer. But don’t forget, even the best security systems need a check-up. Regular maintenance is key to keeping those traps working like a charm and preventing a plumbing nightmare.

Mistakes to Avoid When Disposing of Oil

Let’s take a moment for a little ‘what not to do’ when it comes to cooking oil disposal. First up, the drain. Pouring used oil down there? That’s a recipe for disaster, with clogged pipes and an unhappy sewage system on the menu. Pour oil down the drain or in the toilet, and it can solidify, clog pipes, and cause backups. And it’s not just about immediate problems; over time, these small pourings add up to big plumbing bills.

Toilets are not oil disposal units, either. Tossing oil in there is like sending an open invitation to clogs and unpleasant interactions with your plumbing. And let’s not even start on the havoc that hot oil can wreak in your trash can—pests, mess, and trouble for garbage collectors are just the beginning.

Then there’s your septic system. Adding oil to it is like adding kerosene to a campfire—it won’t end well. Clogged pipes, polluted waterways, and a system crying for mercy are just a few of the potential outcomes.

Tips for Reducing Cooking Oil Usage

Imagine a world where used cooking oil, especially vegetable oil, is a rarity in your kitchen. It’s possible! Start by getting creative with those recipes. Swap out the oil for some broth or water when you’re sautéing, or let the natural fats in coconut milk do the work.

Baking without oil? You bet. Here are some alternatives you can use:

  • Mashed bananas and applesauce can take the place of oil in your muffins and cakes, adding moisture and a touch of sweetness.
  • Even your salads can get a makeover with oil-free dressings made from tahini or avocado.
  • And when you do use oil, think spritz, not pour, to coat your pans with just enough to get the job done.

Non-stick cookware can also be your ally in the battle against oil overuse. With the right pan, you can cook up a storm with little to no oil, keeping your meals healthy and your oil disposal chores to a minimum.


From safe disposal to sizzling up your next meal with less oil, you’re now equipped with the knowledge you need to handle your cooking oil like a pro. Whether you’re freezing it, filtering it, or finding it a new life as biodiesel, remember that your choices have a ripple effect. So pat yourself on the back—you’re cooking up a greener, cleaner future!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I pour used cooking oil down the kitchen sink if I run hot water with it?

No, you should never pour used cooking oil down the kitchen sink or any other drain, even with hot water running. Here’s why:

  • Cooking oils can solidify as they cool down, causing clogs in your pipes. The hot water may help temporarily, but the oil will eventually congeal and stick to the pipes.
  • Pouring oil down drains can lead to blockages not just in your home’s plumbing, but also in municipal sewer lines. This can cause sewage backups and require expensive repairs.
  • Oils and greases that make it through to wastewater treatment plants are very difficult to remove and can disrupt the treatment processes.
  • Dumping oil into drains is illegal in many areas and you could face fines if caught doing so, as it is considered polluting the water system.

The proper way to dispose of used cooking oil is:

  1. Allow the oil to cool completely after use.
  2. Pour it into a sealable non-recyclable container like an old milk carton or bottle.
  3. Once solidified, you can discard the sealed container in the regular trash.

Some areas also have cooking oil recycling programs where you can take larger amounts to be recycled into biodiesel or other products. But pouring it down any drain is never advisable due to the high risk of costly clogs and environmental contamination




How many times can I safely reuse cooking oil?

You can reuse cooking oil multiple times, but there is no definitive number of times it can be reused safely. It depends on several factors:

  • With breaded or battered foods, reuse the oil 3-4 times maximum before discarding it. 
  • For cleaner fried foods like potato chips, you can reuse the oil at least 8 times, likely even more if you top it up with fresh oil. 
  • The type of food being fried affects how long the oil lasts – breaded foods degrade the oil faster than uncoated foods like fries. 
  • Frying at high heat, especially with foods that release lots of particles into the oil, will shorten the oil’s lifespan. 

Is it okay to add cooking oil to my compost pile?

It is generally okay to add small amounts of vegetable-based cooking oils like olive oil, sunflower oil, or canola oil to your compost pile, but there are some important caveats:

  • Only add very small quantities of oil, like oil-soaked paper towels. Adding large amounts can cause problems. 
  • Stick to plant-based vegetable oils only. Do not compost animal fats or oils that have come into contact with meat, dairy, etc. as these can attract pests and create odors. 
  • Too much oil can form water-resistant barriers around materials in the compost, reducing airflow and slowing down the composting process. This can lead to anaerobic conditions and odors. 
  • Make sure your compost pile is hot (120-150°F) and well-aerated when adding oils to help them break down properly. 
  • Consider the volume – a cup or less of vegetable oil is generally okay for a typical home compost bin, but large amounts like from a deep fryer are not recommended. 

So in moderation, small quantities of pure vegetable oils can be composted, but large amounts should be avoided as they can negatively impact the composting process. Recycling excess oil is usually the better option if available in your area. 





What should I do if I don’t have a local recycling center for cooking oil?

If there is no local recycling center that accepts used cooking oil in your area, here are some options for properly disposing of it:

  1. Allow the oil to fully cool, then pour it into a sealable non-breakable container like an old milk jug or bottle. Once sealed, you can place this in your regular trash for disposal.
  2. Mix the cooled oil with an absorbent material like cat litter, sand, or sawdust until it forms a solid mass. This can then be placed in a sealed bag or container and thrown away with your regular trash.
  3. For small amounts, you can soak up the oil with paper towels and throw those in the trash once cooled.
  4. Some areas allow putting solidified cooking oil in with compost as long as it’s a vegetable-based oil in small quantities. Check if your municipal composting program permits this.
  5. Consider reusing the oil multiple times by straining out food particles after each use. Vegetable oils can typically be reused 8-10 times before becoming too degraded.
  6. Contact local restaurants or bakeries – some may accept used cooking oil from residents to add to their recycling stream.

The key things to avoid are pouring oil down drains, toilets or directly onto the ground, as this can cause clogs, contaminate water sources and attract pests. With some preparation, used cooking oil can be safely disposed of in the trash. 




Can oil be recycled into anything other than biodiesel?

Used cooking oil can be recycled and repurposed in several ways beyond just making biodiesel fuel:

  1. Furniture polish and conditioner – Used oil can be mixed with vinegar to make a polish that restores and conditions wood furniture .
  2. Lamp oil – Spent cooking oil can be used as fuel for lamps and lanterns .
  3. Lubricant – The oil can lubricate hinges, locks, and other mechanisms around the house while also preventing rust .
  4. Paint remover – Rubbing used oil on paint-covered hands and letting it sit can help remove stubborn paint .
  5. Soap making – Used cooking oil is sometimes used as an ingredient in making soaps .
  6. Animal feed – Some facilities process used oil into ingredients for livestock feed .
  7. Cosmetics – Certain cosmetic products like lipsticks and moisturizers can utilize recycled cooking oils .

So while biodiesel production is a major use for recycled cooking oil, the search results show it can also be repurposed for various household, industrial, and personal care products when properly processed and refined. Recycling prevents the oil from being wasted or improperly disposed of down drains. 





Eazy Grease
Eazy Grease
Articles: 16