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Family-Owned Restaurants: Why You Shouldn't Clean Out Your Own Grease Trap

If you're a family-owned restaurant owner who wants to save money on expenses, you may choose to clean out your kitchen's grease trap yourself. Although it's possible to clean out a grease trap yourself, it may not be a good idea that you do. Grease traps contain toxic fumes that can be harmful to your health and the health of your employees if you inhale them. Grease spills can also place the staff at risk for costly slip and fall accidents you may need to pay for through your company's insurance. These problems may cost your restaurant more money in the long run. Here's why you shouldn't clean out your own grease trap and why you should hire a professional contractor instead.

Why Isn't It Good to Clean Out a Grease Trap Yourself?

Your grease trap collects FOG from the dishwashers, floor drains and sinks through an inlet pipe connected directly to their plumbing pipes. The water that enters your grease trap may contain bacteria from raw meat, your customers' utensils and plates and the flooring. The contaminants combine as they flow through the plumbing pipes and enter the trap. Small particles of food can rot once bacteria mix with them. All of these things form gases and strong, toxic odors, including sulfur, that may become hazardous to your health when you breathe them.

In addition to the issues above, if you don't clean out the grease trap thoroughly or properly, toxic odors may back up into your restaurant's plumbing pipes and create problems for your patrons while they eat. Even if the rest of your restaurant is clean and presentable, some patrons may choose to avoid your establishment because of the noxious odors.

If you accidentally spill greasy water on the flooring during the cleaning, some employees may inadvertently slip and fall on the grease as they walk by and become injured. The injured employees may require valuable time off from work to get well. Even when placed in water, oil doesn't dissolve. Oil contains chemicals or molecules that can't bond with the molecules of water. Instead, the oil floats on the water's surface, which is how your grease trap separates the FOG from the water that passes through it.

The best way to avoid any of the problems of cleaning or maintaining a grease trap yourself is to hire a professional grease trap cleaning company to do it for you.

How Will a Grease Trap Contractor Clean Out Your Trap?

A company may use a variety of safe methods to clean your grease trap, including pumping out the trap with large machinery, such as a pumping truck. The truck uses special hoses to suck out the grease and water from the trap. The pump may also remove the solid waste that settles at the bottom of the grease trap. Leaving solid waste in the trap may encourage additional bacteria to grow after the contractors clean the trap.

A contractor may also wash out the inside of the grease trap with environmentally safe products. The products may contain professional grade cleansers that break down bacteria and other contaminants upon contact or within a specified time frame. In any case, the chemicals help eliminate the odors that rotten food and germs produce in the trap.

A grease trap contractor may remove and clean the baffles or dividers inside the trap. Because baffles separate FOG from water, they can build up with gunk over time. The fats, oils and grease may backflow into your plumbing system and damage it. If the baffles show any signs of damage, a contractor may suggest that you replace them immediately to avoid issues in the future. 

You don't need to worry about discarding the FOG collected by the pumping truck. A contractor may discard the FOG in a special recycling center, or they may empty it in a landfill designed for FOG. A grease trap contractor may explain how they discard your FOG when you contact them.

For more information about cleaning your grease trap, contact a contractor today.