We all do it, we know we do. In the middle of prepping a meal or in that manic clean up after a Sunday roast; things get put down the sink we know really shouldn’t be. But there are also a whole host of other things that we may not be so aware of and they can all add up to one thing…a blocked drain!
It is important to remember that the kitchen sink is not a portal to another dimension, the things you put down there do not simply evaporate. In fact a lot of them stay very close by and for a long time!
Fats, Oils and Grease! Otherwise known as FOGs. This little band of brothers can cause untold trouble if they are casually thrown down the kitchen sink. The challenge with oils and grease is that when they are hot they are liquid so they do not seem to be much of a problem. A teaspoon full of bacon fat chucked straight in the sink doesn’t sound like much. But once it passes a few feet down the pipe it quickly cools and turns solid. This is especially critical in the winter because the temperature in the pipes are a lot lower. Also, ironically, we eat a lot more fatty hot food when it’s cold so the problem is made even worse.
What will eventually happen to all your FOGs is that they build up at one point or another and clog the drain. According to one company questioned about this, Gavin from www.thedrainguys.co.uk said a substantial percentage of all calls this year have been around FOG issues in both domestic and commercial situations.
So what should you do with your FOGs?
Well for things like fat from a roast dinner and anything meat related you should leave it to cool and then simply scrape it into the bin. For more liquid fats like cooking oil simply leave to cool and wipe round the pad with some kitchen roll. This will get most of the oil which can then be put in the bin. If you are using a deep fat fryer or doing a lot of wok deep fat frying then store the used oil and take it to your local recycling centre. There really is no reason to put any kind of fat or grease down your sink. There will be a tiny bit now and then but if washed down with lots of washing up liquid which is a surfactant and disperses it, along with hot water then problems should be avoided.
It is not just fatty things that cause issues. Pasta, rice as well and potato can also be problematic. The reason these food types are bad is because of the volume for one thing. Most households eat a lot of these types of foods and the way they are cooked means we often need to rinse and drain over the sink. It is at this moment the usual few bits of pasta get into the sink and the handful of cooked rise too! If we are boiling spuds then draining them it is all too common for some bits of potato to find their way into the sink too. So after a while you can imagine how much can end up in the drain and these starchy food types a very prone to sticking together and clogging.
How to Avoid the Problem
The easiest way to stop rice and the like going down the sink is to simply by a kitchen strainer to go over your plug. These can range from a simple addition to your existing plug or something that can be installed like this sink strainer from www.screwfix.com . You may already have one but never use it…now is the time to make amends. Also, opt for a sieve rather than a colander because it will let far less of those cheeky rice grains through!
Other Food Types
The kitchen strainer can help in other areas too. Things like seeds and pulses are often very long lasting when it comes to their life in your drain. So when rinsing this kind of food before and after cooking the strainer should catch them.
Wipe the Sink
Another great tip is not to be tempted to wash the sink out after cooking. Before you rinse, get some kitchen roll and wipe around picking up all the bits and bobs you can. Then do your rinse and you can reduce the amount of things going down the plug dramatically.
A fuss about nothing?
This may all seem a bit of a fuss about nothing but it is something the water companies take very seriously indeed. Southern Water, for example, regularly address the FOG issues on their website, and various campaigns have been launched to stop this costly problem.
Ultimately, making an effort to avoid blocking your own drain will save you money, it may take a couple of minutes more to wipe out the sink or the frying pan but it is certainly worth it!
Ultimately, making an effort to avoid blocking your own drain will save you money, it may take a couple of minutes more to wipe out the sink or the frying pan but it is certainly worth