How to clean a commercial grease trap

How to clean a commercial grease trap

How to clean a commercial grease trap

How to Clean a Commercial Grease Trap

Commercial grease traps are essential components of any restaurant or food service establishment. They prevent fats, oils, and greases (FOGs) from entering the sewer system, which can cause blockages and significant damage. However, these traps require regular cleaning and maintenance to function effectively. This article will guide you through the process of cleaning a commercial grease trap, providing valuable insights and practical tips.

Understanding the Importance of Cleaning a Grease Trap

Before diving into the cleaning process, it’s crucial to understand why regular grease trap cleaning is necessary. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), FOGs are the leading cause of sewer overflows, with over 47% of all blockages caused by grease. These overflows can lead to environmental damage and hefty fines for businesses.

Moreover, a poorly maintained grease trap can lead to unpleasant odors, pest infestations, and even fire hazards. Regular cleaning not only ensures compliance with local regulations but also promotes a safer, cleaner, and more efficient kitchen environment.

When to Clean a Commercial Grease Trap

Most experts recommend cleaning a commercial grease trap every one to three months. However, the frequency can vary depending on the size of the trap and the volume of FOGs your establishment produces. For instance, a busy restaurant may need to clean its grease trap more frequently than a small café.

As a rule of thumb, a grease trap should be cleaned when 25% of its volume is filled with FOGs and solids. This is known as the 25% rule. If the trap is not cleaned at this point, it will become less effective at trapping grease, leading to potential blockages and other issues.

Steps to Clean a Commercial Grease Trap

Cleaning a commercial grease trap involves several steps. While it’s possible to do it yourself, it’s often best to hire a professional service to ensure the job is done correctly and safely. However, if you choose to clean the trap yourself, here are the steps you should follow:

  • Prepare the Area: Start by clearing the area around the grease trap. You’ll need room to work and to place tools and cleaning supplies.
  • Remove the Lid: Carefully remove the lid from the grease trap. Some lids are heavy and may require a pry bar to lift. Be careful not to damage any gaskets or seals.
  • Measure the Grease: Use a measuring stick or a similar tool to measure the depth of the grease layer. This information is often required by local health departments.
  • Remove the Grease: Using a small bucket or a scoop, remove the grease from the trap. Be sure to dispose of the grease properly – do not pour it down the drain.
  • Clean the Trap: Once all the grease has been removed, clean the inside of the trap with soap and warm water. Scrub the sides, the lid, and the baffles to remove any remaining grease.
  • Inspect the Trap: After cleaning, inspect the trap for any signs of damage or wear. If you notice any issues, it may be time to replace the trap.
  • Record the Cleaning: Keep a record of each cleaning, including the date, the amount of grease removed, and any issues noted during the inspection. This record can be useful for future maintenance and for compliance with local regulations.

Professional Grease Trap Cleaning Services

While cleaning a grease trap can be a DIY task, many businesses prefer to hire professional services. These companies have the necessary equipment and expertise to clean the trap thoroughly and safely. They also ensure that the grease is disposed of correctly, which is crucial for environmental protection and regulatory compliance.

Moreover, professional services often offer maintenance contracts, which can provide peace of mind and help businesses stay on top of their grease trap cleaning schedule. According to a study by Grand View Research, the global grease trap market size was valued at USD 1.29 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.3% from 2020 to 2027, indicating a growing demand for these services.


Cleaning a commercial grease trap is a crucial task for any food service establishment. Regular cleaning prevents blockages, ensures compliance with regulations, and promotes a safer and more efficient kitchen environment. While the cleaning process can be done in-house, many businesses opt for professional services for their expertise and convenience. Regardless of the method chosen, maintaining a clean grease trap is an investment in the long-term success and sustainability of your business.


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