Coconut oil has become all the rage.
People cook with it and even apply it to various parts of their bodies, from skin to hair and nails.
At some point, you need to rinse the coconut oil off, but can you rinse off coconut oil in the shower?
Will it clog up your drains and leave you with a costly plumber’s account?
Let’s find out!
Does Coconut Oil Clog Your Drains?
Any oil will clog up your drains, including coconut oil.
Whether you are rinsing out the pot you just made island-style stir fry in or rinsing off your body in the shower, coconut oil is still an oil base and it will thicken and set when exposed to cold temperatures.
Coconut oil clogs at room temperature, and the average drain system has a temperature below room temperature.
It is a given that the coconut oil will clog.
Once it has cooled to room temperature, or when the oil has contact with cool water, its temperature will lower, causing the coconut oil to set.
Is Coconut Oil Bad for Septic Systems?
Any oil is bad for a septic system.
Those in the plumbing world call it the FOGs—fats, oils, and grease—and these are always bad for a septic system.
Coconut oil is a kind of solidifying oil, and at low temperatures, it will solidify and clog your drain.
The temperature in your drain pipes and in your septic system is fairly low since it is a damp and wet area where cool water is flushed through.
In addition, your septic tank or system probably already has a load of stuff to deal with such as hair, soap scum, and limescale.
Adding coconut oil to this mix will create great goblets of clogged oil in your septic system as the oil clings to the hair and other particles, solidifying into a nightmare for you to clean.
How to Prevent Coconut Oil From Clogging Your Shower Drain
There are a few ways to minimize the damage that solidifying coconut oil can do to your septic system and shower drain.
These are often temporary solutions if you continue to flush coconut oil down the drain.
Hot Water Is Your Friend
Since coconut oil solidifies and clogs at low temperatures, you can raise the temperature by running hot water through your drain for at least five minutes after you have showered and rinsed off the coconut oil.
Add in Apple Cider Vinegar
Coconut oil is popular in beauty treatments, and it is often combined with apple cider vinegar as the acidity cuts the greasiness of coconut oil.
If you need to apply coconut oil to your body, mix it with apple cider vinegar and some mild body soap to create a mixture that will not set in your plumbing lines or block your drains.
Rinse With White Vinegar
If you prefer to use neat coconut oil, you can still cut the fat content by adding one and a half cups of white vinegar to the hot water you pour down your drain.
The acidity in the white vinegar will dissolve any clogged coconut pieces, while the hot water will flush the oil away.
The hot water will melt the coconut oil clogs, letting the coconut oil run down the pipes without setting.
Choose Fractionated Coconut Oil
When you are buying the coconut oil you want to use, consider a fractionated oil.
This is an oil where certain fatty elements are extracted from the oil to create a non-greasy product.
Fractionated oil is more temperature resistant, and the oil won’t solidify at room temperature any longer.
As a result, the coconut oil will run down the drain without having a chance to set or clog up your pipes.
How to Wash Coconut Oil Out of Your Hair Without Clogging Shower Drain
Perhaps the easiest approach would be to wash your hair in a large basin filled with vinegar or soap before you step into the shower.
This option has the added benefit of none of the coconut oil making it into the drain.
The oil will remain in the basin, where you can collect it and dispose of it correctly.
How to Unclog Coconut Oil From Your Shower Drain
Hopefully you have been following the suggestions above, and you are on top of your coconut oil challenges.
But if your shower drain is fully blocked by solidified coconut oil, you will need to take drastic steps to melt the coconut oil away.
- Flush the clogged system with boiling hot water for at least five minutes.
- Add a mix of half a cup of white vinegar, a tablespoon of bicarbonate soda, and a good squeeze of the dishwashing liquid.
- Let the mixture clean the drain for a minute, then pour in at least 10 gallons of lukewarm water to melt the remaining coconut oil.
- If the drain is still clogged, repeat the process until the last coconut has melted and dissolved and flushed away.
Alternatives to Coconut Oil in Beauty Products
You may choose coconut oil for its nourishing properties, the fact that it helps sanitize your mouth and can be used as toothpaste, and the beauty glow that coconut oil brings.
But are there alternatives to coconut oil that won’t clog your drain?
There are a few alternatives to coconut oil when it comes to your beauty routine.
- Olive Oil
Olive oil is thinner than coconut oil and also doesn’t set at room temperature, which means it will not clog in your drains.
- Argan Oil
This fragrant oil has certainly become popular, but does it also clog drains? Argan oil is less likely to clog up your pipes and drains as it sets at a much lower temperature.
- Jojoba Oil
Since jojoba oil is thinner, it will not set in your drain as easily. Jojoba oil is as nourishing for your skin as coconut oil without the grease factor for your plumbing.
Coconut oil is not soluble in water. However, it will dissolve in chemical-based household cleaners that contain methylene chloride, like paint stripper. Ethanol and petroleum may also partially dissolve coconut oil, while the best organic solvent to make coconut soluble is white vinegar.
Since coconut toothpaste contains other foaming ingredients, it will be less likely to clog drains. However, it is still a good idea to flush your drain with hot water after brushing your teeth with coconut oil toothpaste.