The grease trap is one of the most important pieces of equipment in home and commercial kitchens. It collects grease, fats and other waste products that are generated while cooking and keeps your oven or cooking range from getting clogged. Despite its importance in cooking, the grease trap often gets neglected for maintenance. Many people don’t even notice the grease trap until it fails. It is also a big culprit in kitchen fires. Although accumulated grease is not a fire hazard, it can burn when exposed to fire due to the presence of oils.
In this blog, we review when and how often you should clean the grease trap in your kitchen to keep everything in a safe and working condition.
The 1/4th Rule
There is an internationally recognised 1/4th rule of cleaning for grease traps. The rule states you should clean the grease trap when it is filled up to 1/4th of its total capacity with FOGS (fats, oils, grease and solids).
This rule applies to every grease trap for all types of ovens and cooking ranges. The total capacity of the grease trap does not matter. When the grease trap is full to about a quarter of its total capacity, you should get it cleaned to maintain the effectiveness and efficiency of the grease trap. Otherwise, oils and grease will begin to flow out from the trap through its pipes. When the grease trap is not collecting waste very efficiently, it starts to fill up to about the half-way mark. It also becomes more susceptible to spilling and fires.
Monthly and Quarterly Grease Trap Cleaning
Depending on the size of your grease trap and frequency of cooking, the grease trap will probably reach the 1/4th mark in one to six months.
If you are running a commercial kitchen at a restaurant with lots of barbecue items, you will reach this point sooner, maybe within a month. If your grease tray does not fill up that quickly, then it may not reach the 1/4th mark even after three months.
As per estimates, three months is the cut-off time for the grease trap to reach this mark. Still, you should clean it out every three months even when the tray is less than 1/4th full.
Watch Grease trap cleaning video here
Reduce the Build-Up of Grease
You can improve the efficiency of your grease trap and keep it from filling up quickly by cleaning it daily. At the end of the day’s cooking, get your staff to scrape everything off the trap. This precaution will save you from a lot of hassle later.
You may also want to adjust the frequency of grease trap cleaning based on the season and day. Restaurants get more customers during the weekends or certain seasons so you can instruct your staff to make sure it is cleaned when you do more cooking. On days when you don’t do a lot of cooking, you may be able to get by while only cleaning the trap every other day.
Follow Local Grease Trap Cleaning Laws - FOG Programme
Regulatory authorities may also mandate grease trap cleaning and have their own set of instructions. You will probably want to pay attention to what the local food authorities want and adjust your grease trap cleaning schedule to fit local requirements. Visit FOG programme in Diblin city council website for more details.