How to Dispose of Cooking Oil

Two Parts:Disposing of Cooking OilReusing Cooking Oil

Some of the best things are made with cooking oil--dumplings, french fries...bacon. However, though it is an essential part of making some of the most delicious food, it can be a little tricky to dispose of. One thing you absolutely cannot do is pour it down the drain (unless of course you want your drain to look like something out of a horror story). Luckily, wikiHow is here to help. Follow these steps to properly dispose of your cooking oil (and learn some fun things you can do with old oil along the way.)

Part 1
Disposing of Cooking Oil

  1. 1
    Let the pan cool. You should always let the oil cool down before removing it from whatever cooking device you were using. The length of time you choose to let it cool is up to you--you can leave it for an hour, overnight, etc. Hot cooking oil, if accidentally poured on yourself/a friend/your dog can cause severe burns.[1]
    • If you only have a small amount of cooking oil left in your pan, you can simply let it cool and then wipe it up with a paper towel. Do not ever pour oil down your kitchen drain.
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    Select the right container for the oil. You will want to use a non-breakable, preferably clean, container. Plastic containers work better than glass jars in that, as with any plastic vs. glass argument, glass will break if dropped. Having said that, Ball jars work well if you are pouring cooled oil into them as they have excellent resealable lids. On the plastic front, peanut butter jars are excellent oil containers.[2]
    • If you are not planning on donating your oil or reusing it, you can also cut the top off of a beer can and pour the oil into that.
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    Strain the oil while pouring it into the container. You do not have to do this if you are not planning on reusing or donating your cooking oil. Straining the oil ensures that no small particles of food get into your oil container and cause mold to grow.[3]
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    Donate your cooking oil. While this may sound odd, a lot of cities are now asking their residents to donate their used cooking oil. In turn, the city will make your grease into cleaner-burning biodiesel. Biodiesel is a non-toxic and biodegradable fuel that can power your car's engine and help the environment at the same time. San Francisco even uses recycled cooking oil to power some of their bus system![4]
    • There are designated drop off sites where you can donate your oil. In order to find the one closest to you, run an internet search with the line “cooking oil donation [Name of Your City].”
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    Throw the oil away. If throwing it away is the only option, let it cool in its container. Make sure the lid is on tight and then throw it in the trash.

Part 2
Reusing Cooking Oil

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    Freeze your cooking oil. After you have put your cooking oil into a container, you can freeze it. Freezing it has two purposes--it’s easier to dispose of cooking oil after its solid, and you can reuse it after it has thawed.
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    Reuse the cooking oil for another meal. Oil can be used for frying several times over, as long as you filter it between uses (which means straining it to get all the little bits of food out, among other things.)
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    Save some for rubbing on snow shovels. When you rub cooking oil on snow shovels, the snow has a much harder time sticking to the shovel (you would too if you were trying to grasp something covered in oil). This is a perfect solution for dealing with sticky, mashed potato-like snow that often shows up in the spring.
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    Consider making an oil lamp. Oil lamps are great to have when the power goes out and you’re stranded in inconvenient darkness for a day and night.
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    Make a lava lamp. As surprising as this may be, homemade lava lamps can actually be created with old cooking oil. Though not as useful as a regular oil lamps, lava lamps are still awesome.This is a fun project to do with kids and is a clever way of getting rid of your cooking oil.
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    Use the oil for shaving. Avoid the chemicals in commercial shaving creams and lotions that may dry and irritate your skin by using cooking oil instead. Keep in mind that you probably shouldn’t do this if you have a tendency to break out.
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    Check if there is a local recycling center that will take the oil off your hands.
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    Take large amounts to a local restaurant. Sometimes they have used oil/grease bins that you can throw your oil into, if you ask nicely.
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    Feed it to your livestock occasionally. Mix cooking oil with stale bread, old rice or any grain product and feed it to your pigs or chickens. They eat almost anything. If you don't have animals, take it to a farmer you know. This is illegal in some areas, though, so investigate your local laws if you choose to try this method.[citation needed]
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    Use it to make soap. You can only do this if the container only has one type of oil in it. Make sure to "clean" the oil by putting the cool, used oil into a saucepan filled with water. Let the water simmer (on medium to low heat), and stir the oil and water together gently. Anything that contaminates the oil, like bits of food, should fall out of the oil layer and into the water layer. To get the oil out, allow the solution to cool, and if need be, place the whole thing into a freezer until the oil layer is solid. Continue to "clean" it until no more food or other contaminants are seen.


  • Adding cooking oil to a compost pile will have a negative effect on the composting process, unless it's a very small amount.
  • When the oil and fat harden, you can mix them with peanut butter and bird seeds to feed the birds.

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