Grease Trap Cleaning Tips for Restaurant Owners

Running a successful restaurant involves more than just serving great food and providing exceptional service. Restaurant owners also need to be diligent in maintaining the cleanliness and functionality of their kitchen equipment. One important piece of equipment that requires regular maintenance is the grease trap. In this blog, we will discuss the importance of grease trap cleaning for restaurant owners, the different types of grease traps, their efficiency and design, installation tips, and when to consider replacing them. By following grease trap perth cleaning tips, restaurant owners can ensure the smooth operation of their kitchen and avoid potential plumbing issues and health hazards.

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Understanding Grease Traps

A grease trap, also known as a grease interceptor, is a vital component in commercial kitchens. It prevents grease, oils, and fats, including bacon grease, from entering the sanitary sewer system, which can otherwise lead to blockages and sanitary sewer overflows. Grease traps work by intercepting kitchen wastewater and separating the grease from the water. They consist of a system of baffles, located inside a grease interceptor tank, and internal plumbing pipes, which slow down the flow of water, allowing the grease to rise to the top and solids to settle at the bottom of the trap.

What is a Grease Trap?

A grease trap, also referred to as a grease interceptor or modern grease interceptor, is a device installed in commercial kitchens to intercept greasy substances and prevent them from entering the sanitary sewer system. In a busy commercial kitchen, large amounts of animal fats, oils, and grease are produced during food preparation and cooking processes. If these substances are allowed to flow freely into the drainage system of a large building, they can cause blockages, sewer overflows, and significant public health risks, ultimately leading to a poor customer experience. When considering installation of a new grease interceptor, it is important to assess whether the existing location can be reused or if a new location is necessary, especially when dealing with large modern grease interceptors that may be difficult and expensive to excavate and remove. This is the first step in ensuring the proper functioning and maintenance of your grease trap and providing a great customer experience for your patrons.

Grease traps are an essential component of the plumbing system in commercial kitchens. They are designed to separate grease, oils, and fats from the wastewater generated in the kitchen, ensuring the proper functioning of the sewer lines. Grease traps are typically located between the kitchen plumbing system and the sanitary sewer system, intercepting the wastewater before it enters the sewer collection system.

How Does a Grease Trap Work?

Grease traps work by slowing down the flow of kitchen wastewater, allowing the grease, oils, and fats to separate and float to the top of the trap. The design of the trap includes a system of baffles and internal pipes that guide the flow of water, promoting the separation process. As the wastewater enters the grease trap, the grease, oils, and fats rise to the surface, creating a layer of grease. Heavier solids, such as food debris, sink to the bottom of the trap, forming a layer of sludge.

The bottom of the trap is designed to allow the water to flow through, while the grease and solids are retained. This liquid capacity of the grease trap ensures the storage of grease, preventing it from entering the sewer lines. Grease traps are designed to keep the grease levels below the outlet level, preventing the grease from reaching the sewer system. Once the grease trap is full, it needs to be professionally cleaned, also known as grease trap pumping by a pump truck, to remove the accumulated grease, oils, fats, and solids.

Importance of Grease Traps for Restaurants

Grease traps play a crucial role in maintaining the safety and efficiency of commercial kitchens. They not only protect the sewer system from blockages and overflows but also contribute to the overall kitchen safety and environmental health. Let’s delve deeper into the importance of grease traps for restaurants and the significant impact they can have on kitchen safety, environmental sustainability, and the proper functioning of septic tanks.

The Role of Grease Traps in Kitchen Safety

Kitchen safety is of utmost importance in any restaurant, and grease traps play a vital role in ensuring a safe working environment for kitchen staff and reducing the risk of kitchen fires. When grease, oils, and fats enter the drainage system, they can accumulate over time, creating blockages and posing a significant fire hazard due to chemical reactions. Animal fats, in particular, are highly flammable, and if they come into contact with high temperatures, they can ignite, leading to catastrophic kitchen fires.

By intercepting the grease, oils, and fats, grease traps prevent the buildup of these substances in the drains, reducing the risk of blockages and kitchen fires. Maintaining grease traps through regular cleaning and maintenance prevents a mat of grease from forming, which could obstruct the flow of wastewater and compromise kitchen safety. Proper grease trap maintenance ensures a clean and efficient kitchen, providing a safe working environment for the kitchen staff.

Environmental Implications of a Poorly Maintained Grease Trap

In recent years, there has been increasing awareness of the environmental impact of wastewater, particularly waste water that contains high concentrations of grease, oils, and fats. Improperly maintained grease traps can have significant environmental implications, posing a threat to the sewer system, water bodies, and public health.

Identifying Different Types of Grease Traps

Grease traps come in different types, each with its own design and functionality. Restaurant owners should understand the various options available to them and select the most suitable type of grease trap for their specific needs. Let’s explore the different types of grease traps, including manual grease traps, automatic grease traps, and gravity grease traps, and understand how different types of grease interceptors work to make the best possible decision for your food service facility. For more information on how to select the best grease trap for your food service facility, click here for a free guide that walks you through, step-by-step, the pros and cons for each type of grease interceptor and how to choose the one that will work best for you. For additional resources and answers to common questions about grease traps, check out our helpful resources section.

Manual Grease Traps

Manual grease traps, as the name suggests, require regular manual cleaning to remove the accumulated grease, oils, fats, and solids. Cleaning a manual grease trap involves physically removing the grease using specialized equipment, such as a big dipper or grease scoop. The frequency of cleaning depends on the flow rate and the amount of grease produced in the kitchen.

Manual grease traps have been a traditional yet effective method of grease removal in commercial kitchen settings. They are typically made of stainless steel, capable of handling high temperatures, and can be customized to accommodate the specific flow rate and capacity requirements of the kitchen. Proper maintenance of manual grease traps ensures the efficient functioning of the system and prevents clogs and sanitary sewer overflows.

Automatic Grease Traps

Automatic grease traps, also known as automatic grease removal units, offer a more efficient and hands-free solution for grease removal in high-volume kitchens. These traps incorporate automatic systems that remove the grease without the need for manual intervention. Here are some key features of automatic grease traps:

  • Equipped with sensors that detect the grease levels and trigger the grease removal process
  • Utilize automatic scraping systems or automatic grease skimmers to remove the grease from the trap
  • Occupies less space compared to manual grease traps, making them suitable for kitchens with limited storage space
  • Continuous monitoring of the grease trap is necessary to ensure the system is functioning properly, and grease removal is efficient.
  • Automatic grease traps offer the convenience of automated grease removal, reducing the need for manual cleaning and improving the efficiency of the grease trap system in high-volume commercial kitchens.

Gravity Grease Traps

Gravity grease traps, also known as gravity grease interceptors, rely on the natural force of gravity to separate grease from wastewater. These traps operate on a simple principle, where the lighter grease floats on top of the water, allowing the heavier solids to sink to the bottom of the trap.

Efficiency and Design of Grease Traps

The efficiency and design of grease traps play a significant role in their functionality and the overall kitchen operation. Factors such as grease levels and trap design can impact the efficiency of grease traps, including their higher grease storage capacity. Let’s explore the various factors that affect grease trap efficiency and how to select the right basic design for your restaurant’s grease trap.

Factors Affecting Grease Trap Efficiency

Several factors contribute to the efficiency of grease traps, ensuring effective removal of grease, oils, and fats from the wastewater. Here are some key factors that can affect the efficiency of grease traps:

  • Efficiency standards: Grease traps must adhere to specific efficiency standards set by regulatory bodies to ensure effective removal of grease.
  • Grease levels: The amount of grease present in the wastewater significantly impacts the efficiency of grease traps. High grease levels may require more frequent cleaning and maintenance.
  • Hydromechanical grease interceptors: These grease interceptors, which combine hydromechanical principles with gravity, are designed to enhance the efficiency of grease removal.
  • Understanding these efficiency factors and choosing the right grease trap design can ensure the efficient removal of grease, maintaining a clean and safe kitchen environment.

When Should You Consider Replacing Your Grease Trap?

Like any equipment, grease traps have a lifespan and may need to be replaced over time. Upgrading to new designs and modern plastics can offer improved efficiency and durability compared to early models. Here are some signs that indicate it may be time to consider replacing your grease trap:

  • New designs and modern plastics: If your grease trap is an early model or made of outdated materials, upgrading to new designs and modern plastics can offer improved performance, easier maintenance, and increased longevity.
  • Reduced efficiency: If your grease trap is no longer effectively intercepting grease, allowing it to flow into the sewer system, it may be an indication that the trap needs to be replaced.
  • Increased maintenance issues: If you experience frequent blockages, leaks, or other maintenance issues, it may be more cost-effective to replace the grease trap rather than continually investing in repairs.
  • Insufficient capacity: If your food service facility has expanded, and the grease trap’s capacity is no longer sufficient, upgrading to a higher capacity trap may be necessary.
  • Regular inspections and maintenance can help identify issues with the grease trap and determine the right time for replacement. By upgrading to modern and efficient grease trap designs, restaurant owners can ensure the best performance and avoid costly plumbing problems.


Proper maintenance of grease traps is crucial for restaurant owners to ensure kitchen safety and environmental responsibility. Understanding the types of grease traps and selecting the right design are key steps in this process. Regular cleaning and maintenance, whether done professionally or DIY, are essential to prevent issues and ensure efficient operation. Knowing when to replace a grease trap is equally important to avoid potential hazards. By following these tips and tricks, restaurant owners can uphold hygiene standards, promote sustainability, and safeguard their business operations effectively.