Don’t let FOG ruin your holidays

We’re approaching the Holiday Season…Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day.  For many people, FOG is a major issue.  No, we don’t mean the fog of possible over-imbibing.  Nor do we mean the difficulty of getting to Grandma’s house because you can’t see through the murk or the mist.

We’re talking about a more insidious enemy than anything mentioned above.  FOG— Fats, Oils, and Grease are the surest way for you to have your holiday event get flushed down the drain.

There is FOG in the sewers. Originating in our kitchens, it clogs sanitary sewer systems everywhere. When poured or washed down the drain, FOG builds up on pipe walls, restricting the flow of wastewater exiting our home’s plumbing.  Over time, FOG leads to blockages that result in overflows into our homes or onto our streets, down storm drains, and into local waterways, all posing a serious risk to public health.

No one wants to deal with clogged pipes at any time of the year, but it can be an especially annoying inconvenience during the holiday season. How much better would all the guests, visits, and get-togethers be if they weren’t interrupted by a plumbing problem?  How much safer for the environment if we didn’t have overflows that were caused by FOG?

Image courtesy of City of Ferndale, WA.

So what are some of the contributors to FOG?

  • cooking oil and cooking grease
  • meat fats
  • lard/shortening
  • butter/margarine
  • food scraps
  • dairy products
  • batters and icings
  • dressings and sauces

Another culprit to FOG build-up in our sanitary sewer system is the excessive use of garbage disposals.

Image courtesy Ask HR Green.

As much as we love our customers, we hope you don’t need a visit from our licensed plumbers during your holiday! So here are a few things you can do to avoid drain line stoppages and main line clogs throughout the season.

Here are some helpful tips to save yourself aggravation year ’round and help protect the environment:

  1. Can the Grease – Pour used cooking grease into an empty, heat safe container, such as a soup can, and store it in the freezer. Once solidified, toss the can into the garbage.
  2. Scrape Your Plate – Wipe all pots, pans, dishes, and cooking utensils with a paper towel prior to washing to absorb the grease.
  3. Catch the Scraps – minimize using the garbage disposal.  Catch food scraps in your sink with a basket or strainer and toss them into the trash or compost bin.  Avoid putting stringy, fibrous or starchy waste in the garbage disposal.  Poultry skin, celery, fruit and potato peels, for example, cannot be sufficiently broken down.
  4. Make sure the disposal is running when you put food into it. Don’t wait until it’s full to turn it on.  Run cold water down the line for several seconds before you turn the disposal on to use it and for several seconds after you turn it off to help flush any residue away.
  5. If you are hosting weekend guests, it’s a good idea to wait ten minutes between showers so any slow drains have time to adequately drain.
  6. Never flush cotton balls, swabs, hair or facial scrub pads own a toilet. They don’t dissolve and will eventually cause a clog.
  7. Take care of any plumbing issues before the holidays arrive.


For any drain or other plumbing problems, please set up a service call request with us at Brubaker Inc. at 717.299.5641 or email us.

For more, read more here and here.  Want to see what FOG looks like in a pipe?  Take a peek at this picture gallery here.


1. ‘Fats, Oils, and Grease Disposal’ Ask HR Green
2. ‘Don’t Let a Clogged Drain Ruin Your Thanksgiving’ Consumer Reports
3. ‘Clogged drains at Thanksgiving: How to avoid them’
4. ‘Turkey Day Tips’ RotoRooter
5. ‘Composting at Home’ United States EPA