A lot of grease and oil can go down kitchen sinks in restaurants. Most municipalities require that restaurants have grease traps to stop the oil and grease from entering the municipal sewer lines where it can harden and clog up the sewers. A grease trap has to be cleaned on a regular basis (the exact time intervals between cleaning will be determined by how much oil and grease is generated in your restaurant each day) to avoid them getting plugged and causing your sinks to back-up. Here is how you can clean out a grease trap.

Notes of Caution

Make sure the restaurant is closed and devoid of customers. Fumes will escape into the air once you open the top of the grease trap, and these fumes are known for their putrid smell. The last thing you want is to have customers smelling rancid grease fumes coming out of your kitchen as they may get up and leave in disgust and never come back.

Another reason to wait until the restaurant is closed is that you also have to stop using the sinks and dishwashers while you're cleaning out the grease trap. There could be a chance you won't have enough dining supplies for customers to use if you don't have enough clean plates, silverware, and drinking glasses already on hand that you can grab and use.

Grease Trap Cleaning Procedures

  1. Dress in old clothes you can throw away and put on rubber gloves.
  2. Remove the top of the grease trap.
  3. Remove the baffle in the grease trap and scrape it clean with a putty knife.
  4. Scoop out the grease inside the trap with a wide-bladed putty knife, ice scooper, or a big kitchen spoon.
  5. Place the grease into a five-gallon plastic bucket (you may need more than one bucket depending on the size of your grease trap). Make sure you have the lid for the bucket so you can close it up after you fill it with grease and oils. If you want to turn the liquid oils into a solid-like form in case the container spills, put cat litter in the container. The cat litter will absorb the oils and grease and turn them into a solid form.
  6. Use a shop-vac to remove any water in the trap. Pour the water from the shop-vac into a plastic bucket.
  7. Remove the sludge on the walls and bottom of the trap with your putty knife, and deposit the sludge into a bucket.
  8. Place the baffle back into the trap.
  9. Inspect the gasket around the top of the trap to make sure it is still in good shape. A broken gasket can allow fumes and grease to escape from the top of the trap. If the gasket is worn, you should replace it before putting the cover back on.
  10. Put the cover back on the grease trap. You are done.

For more information or advice, contact a business such as AAA Pumping Service.

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