5 Signs Your Restaurant Grease Trap Needs Cleaning


If you own a busy restaurant in North Carolina, then you’ve probably had your fair share of grease-trap related experiences.

Often time, these experiences are not good. A big reason for that is maintenance. Poorly maintained grease traps can lead to a lot of issues.

  • Drainage clogging.
  • Unpleasant Odors.
  • Increased fire risks.
  • Lost revenue due to closure.
  • Health issues for your staff members and customers.
  • Not to mention the high repair costs that follow.

In order to avoid any of these issues, you must maintain your grease traps regularly.

So, when did you last clean your traps? Or better yet, what are the signs that it is time to schedule a grease trap cleaning?

Well, this post covers a few common indicators that you need to clean your trap. If you find yourself dealing with any of the following, seriously consider hiring a grease trap cleaning service.

5 Signs Your Restaurant’s Grease Trap Needs Cleaning

Everyone enjoys saving money, and restaurant owners are no exception. A great way to save is to ensure you consistently care for your grease trap.  That means cleaning them before or as soon as you start to notice the following signs.

1. When your restaurant’s drainage is clogged or slow-moving.

If you ask any grease trap expert, they’ll tell you that poor grease trap upkeep is the main causes of clogged drains. So, why does this happen?

As grease, oil, and fats accumulate in your grease trap they start to solidify. Over time the trap starts to get full of dense grease.

Normally, when you look into the trap you can see into it, however, when the trap is full excess grease stiffen at the top, forming a cap.  

With all that grease and dirt buildup it becomes hard for water to flow through the drain, leading to slow waste movement.

Clogged drains can lead to many other problems. Worst case scenario, it can result in you temporarily closing your restaurant.

So, if you notice that it’s becoming a bit more difficult for water to drain down your drainage system, get your grease trap and drains cleaned a.s.a.p.

Grease interceptor clogged

2. When grease is 25% or more the total liquid depth.

Experts recommend that your grease trap is cleaned if the solids and grease are more than 25% of the wastewater depth. It’s at this range that grease trap cleaning is both economical and unchallenging.

If the container is filled with a surplus of fats, oil, and grease, important processes and functions may be interrupted or slowed down in your restaurant’s kitchen.

In fact, cleaning a grease trap that is 25% full is an EPA rule; for health and safety reasons.

To prevent surpassing the minimum, you should establish a concrete restaurant maintenance checklist. If not, you’ll be left with a lot more problems.

3. When there’s a foul smell coming from the kitchen.

Unexplainable odors are also clear indicators of grease traps that require cleaning. These are the smells that don’t disappear, even after you take out the garbage or clean the restaurant’s kitchen.

Grease trap odors are often the result of the accumulation of oil, food waste, sludge, and grease over a long period of time.

Therefore, if you notice a stench that doesn’t seem to leave even after you eliminate all possible causes, you should consider cleaning out your grease traps.

4. When it’s simply been too long.

Sometimes, the only sign you need is time. So, when was the last time you got your grease trap cleaned?

If you have trouble remembering or it’s been more than three months (90 days), then it may be time to have it cleaned.


Best practices dictate that grease trap cleaning should be done at least once every three months. However, if you run a busy restaurant, you may have to clean it more frequently; once every month.

By doing this, you not only avoid grease-trap-related issues, but you also operate your restaurant within the EPA and Health Department standards for grease trap cleaning.

5. When you find grease in unusual places.

Lastly, the presence of grease around your restaurant kitchen can also be a sign that your grease trap needs maintenance.

You might be wondering, “how could that possibly happen”?

Well, if your grease trap clogs, the extra grease may be forced to escape through the easiest exits. That may include sinks, sewer pipes, water lines, and so on. And when that happens, you’ll have grease in all of the wrong places.

Therefore, if you notice this sign, you should check whether your grease trap is the cause. If it is, then you’ll need to clean it; as well as any place where grease deposits are found.


Generally, keeping your grease traps in good health is beneficial to you. You won’t have to worry about bad odors or risking your employees/clients’ health.

Moreover, maintenance is always cheaper than repair. Clogged grease traps can close down your North Carolina restaurant for days. That means losing good clients and revenue. Not to mention the fact that it’s always an expensive fix.


In summary, don’t take any chances. Make sure you clean your grease traps regularly and properly. And if you don’t have the necessary tools or skills, you should consider hiring a professional grease trap cleaning company to do it for you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *