How Often Should a Grease Trap Be Cleaned Out – 2024 Guide

Grease traps are one of the most vital parts of every kitchen. These devices keep the restaurant clean. They keep the odor away from the customers, and they provide additional protection when it comes to fire hazards. However, these parts need to be cleaned just like every other type of equipment, and if you don’t do that regularly, you risk shutting down your kitchen, losing all your licenses, and losing all of your customers. In this article, we are going to give you more information about the grease trap cleaning process, and we will tell you how often you should do it in order to keep your employer and customers safe and to ensure the success of your kitchen.

Why do you need to clean it?

Before we get to when you should clean out this piece of equipment, let’s first talk about why this process is important. As you already know, these units are filled with food waste, and in time, all the food will start to rot away. This means that there will be a terrible odor, and in time, stray animals and pests are going to start to appear.

All of these things will affect the way your restaurant looks and the way it is perceived by customers. If you walk by a kitchen, and there is a bad smell coming out of it, or if there is an unpleasant odor in front of it, chances are, you are never going to walk into the place.


In addition to this, if don’t remove the food waste, it will damage the unit itself. Note that when the food rots, it produces different chemicals that are going to damage different parts of the trap, and you are going to have a hard time cleaning it.

The longer the food stays in these units, the more likely it is that it is going to block the device and you won’t be able to clean it. If this trap is close to your kitchen, your employees will be feeling the bad odor all the time, they will start complaining, and in time, you will start losing valuable team members.

Note that these are just the basic things that will happen if you don’t maintain this unit regularly, and the longer it stays full, the bigger the chances are of diseases, bacteria, and viruses that will affect everything in your restaurant.

Signs your grease trap needs to be cleaned

Now that you know why you need to do proper maintenance of the grease trap, let’s talk about how you should know that the cleaning out is due. Note that the things we are going to talk about are just some of the signs you should do it, and if you notice any of them, you should do it as soon as possible.

Sometimes we don’t have the knowledge on how to do it, or we just don’t have the time, and on websites like, you can learn how a professional cleaning service can help you out with the task without any further delay.


The biggest sign is an unpleasant smell. As we mentioned before, when food starts to rot, it will start releasing a bad odor, so if you can smell the trap even from inside the restaurant, you need to clean the unit as soon as you can.

Another huge sign that the trap is full, is the drainage clogging. If you cannot drain your equipment and if it has a hard time using the devices inside the kitchen, chances are, the main drainage unit is clogged.

If you can notice that there is grease in different parts of the kitchen, places that grease should not appear in, chances are, the main unit is clogged. The oil will start escaping through the pipes, and it will appear pretty much everywhere. This includes the guest bathrooms, and you risk losing customers because of it.

Another sign that the cleaning out is due is if you can notice any outflow in the manhole. This could happen at any time, and the manhole can start spilling out in the streets. You can get a lot of penalties and fees if this happens, and you can even lose your licenses. This is one of the worst things that could happen if you don’t maintain your equipment, and you should never allow for this to happen.

How often should you clean it?

The last thing we are going to talk about is when you should do the maintenance so you avoid any of the bad things that could happen.

Experts suggest that you should pay close attention to how full the unit is, and you should never let it get filled to the maximum. The best way to ensure that nothing bad will happen is to clean it out when it is about one-quarter full, and you should never let it get more than half full.


You should also clean it out if you haven’t done it in a long time, even if you don’t use it that often. Some kitchens work slowly, and there aren’t too many customers every day. This does not mean that you should wait for it to get one-quarter full, and you should maintain it regularly just to make sure that you avoid any complications and issues.

Lastly, if you notice any of the warning signs, you should get to work as soon as possible. If you don’t know how to do it on your own, you can always consult with a professional service and get things done in the nick of time.

Always take proper care of the equipment in your kitchen, and know that the more attention you pay to it, the better your business is going to be. There are a lot of hazards that come from a clogged and unmaintained trap. Never let it stay uncleaned for a long time, no matter how often or how much you use this unit. You can always schedule regular maintenance with a professional cleaning company, and you won’t have to worry about it or deal with it on your own. By doing this process, you will ensure the satisfaction of your customers, clients, and employees.

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