Commercial kitchens have the capacity to produce an astounding amount of food—and an astounding amount of waste, including fats, oils, and greases (FOG). These kitchens are in use all day, and in some cases, all night as well, which only emphasizes the need for everything to be in working order.
Regular maintenance and proper disposal of food waste are essential because not maintaining the kitchen properly can lead to sewage backups, damaged equipment, and additional problems including:
- Bacterial growth: Both improper cleaning and the creation of bacteria-friendly surfaces lead to the growth of harmful bacterial, viral, and fungal pathogens such as mold. Clogged drains, for example, trap food that can foster the growth of E. coli.
- Bad odors: Greased-up drains and old food all contribute to rancid smells. These smells can travel out of the kitchen and drive away customers as well as make kitchen workers feel ill.
- Damaged equipment: Backed-up drains increase the risk of sewage overflows throughout the facility. Clogs, especially if the clogging material hardens, can damage pipes, and equipment that hasn’t been maintained will not work as well.
- Health hazards: Besides creating foul odors and sewage backups, greasy equipment and floors increase the risk of falling or burning oneself if the grease is hot. Outside the restaurant, these clogs, including the “fatbergs” that can form in city sewers, can expose the public to sewage overflows. A fatberg is a large, hardened lump of FOG stuck in a public sewer; think “iceberg” but made of kitchen grease.
Cleanliness Means Efficiency
Maintenance for a commercial kitchen is a constant and ever-evolving task. By keeping the facility clean, a restaurant or other organization that uses a kitchen makes it easier for workers to run the place efficiently and safely. Drains, pipes, and traps work better when they are not clogged with FOG and debris. And the effect even influences employees; if they know their place of work is clean and safe, then they will often do a better job.
Regular cleaning and maintenance makes the facility look better. Proper cleaning and maintenance also keeps the facility in good standing with local and federal health and safety codes, such as those set by OSHA, the FDA, and Massachusetts Title V.
How to Prevent Backups
Cleaning a commercial kitchen involves shift-based, daily, and weekly tasks, as well as additional periodic tasks like inspections. After each shift, workers should clean grills, line and prep areas, slicing equipment, and cutting boards; they should also empty the trash and stock clean rags and sanitizing supplies. All uniforms that are not going home with the workers (e.g., aprons) should immediately go into the laundry pile.
Daily cleaning includes washing hood filters and can openers and changing foil or other disposable equipment linings. Weekly tasks include cleaning the coffee machine (if there is one), cleaning ovens and sinks, deliming sinks, cleaning drains, and sharpening knives.
Central to keeping drains clear is preventing clogs from building up in the first place. At the very least, these steps will slow down the formation of problems; however, you should still have drains and grease traps cleared regularly anyway.
- Always wipe food scraps off plates and other dishes or cookware into the trash or a food waste recycling container—don’t try to rinse them down the drain. This includes oil; that needs to be wiped off with paper towels, too.
- Never pour any oil or grease, or greasy foods, into the drain. Cooking oil should go into a container where it can harden and go in the trash.
- All outdoor storage containers for oil and grease need to be covered. This prevents outdoor debris from falling in and contributing to clogs.
- Try not to use garbage disposals. Not only can they trap bits of food and increase the risk of clogs, but food that goes into garbage disposals can still create problems down the line.
- Keep grease traps and the areas they are in as cool as you can. Heat makes greases and fats liquefy and mix, which contributes to the formation of FOG clogs and fatbergs.
- Set a regular schedule for grease trap inspection, which you can do yourself; grease trap cleaning, which you can hire a professional pumping and drain company to do; and septic cleaning and inspection, which you must hire a professional to do.
Schedule Your Maintenance Services Today
Service Pumping & Drain Co. offers drain and septic services to keep your commercial kitchen clean and compliant. We can perform hydro jetting to clear out pipes, drain and grease trap cleaning to prevent backups, and septic cleaning to ensure there are no obstacles in any drain line that could create backup issues in your facility.
For more information about our services, contact us to discuss your situation and needs.