Simple Tips for Ensuring Your Restaurant's Grease Trap is Always Functioning

29 July 2016
 Categories: Environmental, Blog


A grease trap is connected to the plumbing system of any restaurant or diner, in order to catch solid waste and keep it from clogging pipes or damaging water supplies. Grease traps are usually legally required to be installed in a commercial kitchen, and there are also legal requirements for when to have it clean and emptied. In between servicing of your grease trap, you might note a few tips for keeping it functioning so you don't experience a backup and have the trap overflow, which can be messy and difficult to clean up and which can mean expensive repairs.


Be sure your bus staff knows to scrap away as much solid matter from plates and flatware as possible. This will keep grease and greasy liquids like gravy or butter from going down the drain when the dishes are cleaned. Never have the bus staff just unload a tray of dishes into the dishwasher, even if this means extra time for clearing and washing.

Use hot water

You never want to use hot water to clean out the trap itself; the grease might melt a bit and drain away, but this can clog the drain as the grease solidifies in the pipes. You can, however, ensure you're using the hottest water possible when rinsing and washing dishes after they've been scraped. This will allow those last traces of minute grease to be dissolved; this residual grease isn't large enough to clog the pipes, but it won't get rinsed away if you're using cold water just to save money on your utility bills.

Measure often

Don't rely on your legal schedule of grease trap cleaning to tell you when it needs servicing; measure the solid matter in your grease trap often, even every day if needed. Use a dowel and insert it all the way into the trap and then swirl it around slightly so the grease clings to it. You can then note how deep the solid matter is from the level on the dowel. This will tell you if you need the trap cleaned long before your normal schedule, and this will ensure the trap is never overloaded. 

It can also be helpful to keep a record of the depth of solid grease. You might note that it seems to get more full during certain days when you're offering certain dishes with more grease or butter, for example, so you know when to check it again for a possible overflow.