Martha Stewart's Paper Towel Trick For Disposing Cooking Oil Is A Must-Try

Martha Stewart knows how to handle a greasy situation — something those new to cooking, homeownership, or living independently may find a challenge. While you shouldn't pour fat, oil, and grease down the drain, you might wonder what to do with the excess that is often left over from cooking. Stewart showed off her tried-and-true method of soaking up oil in a pan on TikTok. She demonstrated her technique, narrating, "When you have a pan full of oil or melted butter, and you don't know what to do with it, and it's hot, just place some paper toweling. Let it soak up all that oil." 

"The pan will cool off, and in a matter of seconds, you have a pan that can be safely washed in your sink," Stewart continued. "No grease is going to go down the drain, and all the grease is right in this paper towel. You can just discard it." As she spoke, Stewart wadded up a bunch of paper towels and shaped them to fit the pan. She then soaked up the oil by swishing the paper towels from side to side.

The domestic goddess had at least some of her fans gushing about her practical, albeit hardly groundbreaking, approach to getting rid of the hot oil. One fan noted, "I have been doing this for years. It's [the] perfect way to handle oil." Another said, "I'm not big on using paper towels, but my friend showed me this a few years ago and [it's the] easiest way to clean up grease. Love it!" 

Martha Stewart contains discarded oil safely

Alarmingly, one fan asked in a comment on TikTok, "Is it bad to put oil down the drain?" If for no other reason, Martha Stewart's video may have helped at least one unsuspecting person stop committing the faux pas of pouring oil down a drain. For those unaware of this home maintenance error, according to environmental waste company Enva, cooking oil often solidifies in sewerage pipes, leading to expensive repercussions for homeowners and even the entire neighborhood. 

Not only can the hardened fatty deposits result in malfunctioning pipes and burst drains, but fat, oil, and grease (FOG) deposits can result in land contamination, which can pose a serious threat to the health of the public at large. One such disaster occurred in 2013 when a 15-ton "fatberg" (reportedly the size of a bus) had to be removed from a sewer system in southwest London. The Guardian reported that residents could not flush their toilets for three weeks! Stewart's solution to cooking oil disposal may (hopefully) keep your pipes clear for years.

This popular cleaning hack is nothing short of genius and helps those who need to discard oil quickly. It relies on the absorbency and convenience of paper towels and allows one to contain the mess without any other utensils becoming greasy. Best of all, your kitchen plumbing will thank you.