Grease Trap Cleaning

Regular cleaning is key to keeping the grease trap in good working order and preventing unpleasant odors, backups, and clogs. The frequency of cleaning depends on the volume of FOG generated by the kitchen, the size of the grease trap, and how the kitchen uses the grease trap. This article will discuss the importance of grease trap cleaning, the best practices for cleaning a grease trap, and some tips for maintaining a grease trap in between professional cleanings.

What is Grease Trap?

A grease trap is a plumbing device designed to intercept and separate grease and oil from the wastewater before entering the sewer or septic system. The grease trap is typically installed in commercial and industrial kitchens, such as restaurants, hotels, and institutions, to prevent grease and oil from clogging the sewer lines and causing blockages or backups.The purpose of a grease trap is to protect the sewer or septic system from blockages and damage caused by grease and oil and prevent pollutants from entering the environment. 

Importance of Grease Trap Cleaning

Regular cleaning of grease traps is essential for maintaining the proper functioning of the drainage system in commercial kitchens, preventing backups and clogs, reducing unpleasant odors, and protecting the environment. Grease traps separate and retain fats, oils, and grease (FOG) from the wastewater generated by commercial kitchens before entering the sewer system. Still, as the grease trap captures more and more FOG, it will eventually require cleaning to maintain its effectiveness. Cleaning frequency depends on the volume of FOG generated by the kitchen, the size of the grease trap, and how the kitchen uses the grease trap.

grease trap

Benefits of Having a Clean Grease Trap

There are several benefits to having a clean grease trap:


  • Improved Drainage: A clean grease trap allows for proper drainage and prevents clogs and backups in the kitchen; this will help to keep the kitchen running smoothly and avoid any inconvenience shutdowns.
  • Odor Control: A grease trap not cleaned regularly can produce unpleasant odors. A clean grease trap eliminates the source of the odor and keeps the kitchen smelling fresh.
  • Compliance with Regulations: Many municipalities have regulations requiring commercial kitchens to have their grease traps cleaned at regular intervals. Regular cleaning ensures that the kitchen complies with these regulations.
  • Environmental Protection: Grease trap cleaning is essential for preventing FOG from entering the sewers and polluting the environment. By keeping FOG out of the sewers, grease trap cleaning helps to protect local waterways and the overall environment.
  • Cost Savings: Keeping the grease trap clean at regular intervals helps keep the system running smoothly, reducing downtime and maintenance costs. This will save money in the long run as repairs and replacements cost more than regular cleaning.
  • Better Performance: A cleaned grease trap will work at an optimal level, as it will be free of blockages; this will help in better kitchen performance and will lead to better productivity.
  • Easier to Maintain: A grease trap cleaned regularly is easier to maintain as the grease and debris won’t accumulate and cause significant problems.

Types of Grease Trap

Several grease traps are used in commercial and industrial kitchens to intercept and separate grease and oil from the wastewater before entering the sewer or septic system.

  • Gravity Grease Traps – This is the most basic type of grease trap and relies on the principle of density difference to separate grease and oil from the wastewater. They are typically large, rectangular tanks that are installed underground.
  • Automatic Grease Removal Devices (AGRDs): Also known as automatic grease interceptors, these traps use mechanical or electrical means to separate grease and oil from the wastewater. They typically have a large holding capacity and may require less frequent cleaning.
  • Passive Grease Recovery Devices (PGRDs): These are smaller than AGRDs and gravity traps and are typically used in smaller kitchens. They rely on the principle of buoyancy to separate grease and oil from the wastewater and usually need to be cleaned more frequently.
  • Hydromechanical grease traps use mechanical means such as disks or blades to separate the grease; they are typically more compact and efficient than traditional gravity traps.
  • Enzymatic Grease Traps: These are the latest technology in grease traps which use enzymes to break down grease and oil into smaller particles. They produce less waste, require less frequent cleaning, and can be installed in a smaller space.

It’s important to select the correct grease trap that best fits the needs of the kitchen and facility. Factors such as kitchen size, the volume of wastewater, and local regulations can all play a role in determining the best type of grease trap to use. 

How Does the Size of the Grease Trap Impact the Frequency of Cleaning?

The size of the grease trap can impact the frequency of cleaning because it affects how much FOG the trap can hold before it needs to be cleaned. Larger grease traps have more capacity to retain FOG and, therefore, can go longer between cleanings, whereas smaller grease traps will fill up more quickly and require more frequent cleaning.

How Often Should Grease Traps be Cleaned?

The frequency of cleaning a grease trap depends on several factors, including the volume of FOG generated by the kitchen, the size of the grease trap, and how the kitchen uses the grease trap. Grease traps should be cleaned every three to six months. However, some municipalities may have different requirements. Additionally, if a kitchen generates a high volume of FOG, it may be necessary to clean the trap more frequently. A kitchen with a lower FOG volume can go longer between cleanings.

Grease Traps

Can Grease Trap Cleaning be Dangerous?

If not handled properly, grease trap cleaning can pose some dangers to the person cleaning it and the surrounding environment. The hazards include slips, trips, and falls from working in wet and slippery areas, fire hazards from flammable materials, hazardous materials such as chemicals that might be present, the potential dangers of working in confined spaces, and the heavy lifting required for the task. These hazards can be mitigated by hiring a professional and experienced grease trap cleaning service familiar with the proper safety procedures with the appropriate equipment and training. The service will also ensure that the cleaning process is done in a manner that is safe for everyone involved and the environment.

How Long Does a Grease Trap Cleaning Typically Take?

The time required for cleaning a grease trap can vary depending on various factors, such as the size of the trap, the amount of FOG it contains, and the method used for cleaning. A small grease trap that is cleaned manually might take around 4-8 hours, while a larger grease trap or one cleaned with specialized equipment might take longer, possibly several days. It’s important to note that some grease traps have to be cleaned more frequently than others, and the grease trap location and accessibility might also impact the cleaning time.

What Happens if the Grease Trap is Full?

If a grease trap becomes full, it can result in several problems, such as blockages and backups in the drainage system, reduced effectiveness, health hazards, environmental damage, legal issues, and extra costs. An overfull grease trap will not be able to properly separate the FOG from the water, allowing it to pass into the sewage system and causing blockages and backups. This can also lead to unpleasant odors, health hazards due to the attraction of insects and rodents, and environmental damage to local waterways. It also may result in penalties for not complying with local regulations.

Can you Provide Different Cleaning Frequencies Depending on my Grease Trap Needs?

Yes, a reputable and experienced grease trap cleaning service should be able to provide different cleaning frequencies depending on your grease trap needs. They should also consider local regulations and the grease trap manufacturer’s recommendations for the appropriate cleaning intervals. It is also essential for them to offer regular maintenance plans and be flexible in adjusting the plan as per your grease trap usage.

Why is it Important to Hire Professionals to Clean a Grease trap?

Professionals have the proper training, equipment, and personal protective gear to safely handle and dispose of the waste material; they are familiar with the regulations and can ensure compliance. By hiring a professional, the cleaning process is done quickly and efficiently, which can minimize disruption to your business operation and liability insurance to mitigate any potential damage or accidents while they are working on your property.

Grease trap cleaning is an essential task that must be performed regularly to ensure the proper functioning of commercial kitchen drainage systems. Our team is knowledgeable about the appropriate safety precautions, has the necessary equipment and training, and is aware of local regulations to ensure that the grease trap is cleaned correctly, safely, and in compliance with the rules. With our services, you can rest assured that the grease trap will be adequately maintained, preventing backups and clogs, reducing unpleasant odors, and protecting the environment. Contact us today to schedule your grease trap cleaning service to keep your kitchen running smoothly and your drainage system free of blockages.

(702) 347-0738