A smelly drain in your home is one thing, but if the drains in your restaurant smell, it can hurt your business. The smells coming from your kitchen sink drains can waft into your dining room, mask the smell of your entrees and disgust patrons. Luckily, there are simple things you can do to eliminate and reduce odors in your restaurant's kitchen drains.
1. Use baking soda to neutralize odors
Baking soda naturally deodorizes a range of smells. Its antiseptic nature means that it kills germs in your drain, and if you have acids in there, the baking soda will tap into its effervescent qualities and neutralize the acids.
To clean your drains with baking soda, simply throw about a cup of baking soda into each drain. Don't use the sinks for about 20 minutes while the baking soda does its thing. Then, pour about a gallon of hot water down the drain to wash away the baking soda, germs and odors.
2. Try white vinegar
In a restaurant, vinegar shouldn't just be used for dressing salads and poaching eggs; it should also be used for drain cleaning, too.
If baking soda doesn't get rid of the odors in your drain, you may have a clog. Any bits of food that get into your drain will catch on that clog, and as it rots, a smell will come from your drain.
To get rid of the clog easily without using a commercial clog remover, try a bit of white vinegar. Mix two parts vinegar with one part borax and one part salt. Pour it all down the drain, and wait for the clog (and odor) to disappear.
3. Avoid acid-based commercial cleaners
Although you can use natural acids such as vinegar on your drains, you should avoid commercial acid-based drain cleaners unless you consult a drain professional first. Unfortunately, acid can eat through the coating on some pipes causing them to corrode.
In particular, if you have old pipes coated with tar, the acid will eat through the tar. If the tar is removed, it makes it harder for things to run through the drains, causing more smelly backups.
4. Put a lemon in your garbage disposal
If you think the odor is coming from the garbage disposal in your kitchen, try running it more regularly. Tell your dishwashers, busboys, line cooks and anyone else who washes dishes or scraps old food into the sink that they need to run the garbage disposal more often. Ideally, it should be run every time someone uses the sink.
Running the disposal more often helps to get odor-causing food particles out of it. However, if you still have smells wafting out of that drain, try throwing a lemon into your disposal once in a while. The natural acids help to "scrub" old food off the blades of the garbage disposal, and the lemon juice creates a pleasant odor.
5. Clean your grease trap regularly
In a commercial kitchen, grease almost always gets in the drain. Even if you are super vigilant about donating your used cooking oil to biodiesel drivers or even if you always dispose of your grease in a sealed bucket in the dumpster, bits of grease from frying pans or even residue on plates will get into your drain.
Old grease smells gross, and it can also block your drains, causing other smelly items to build up there. To prevent this from happening, make sure you have a grease trap. Required by law in most areas, grease traps prevent grease from getting into the main plumbing and drainage system, but if you don't clean them, they will smell. In addition to cleaning your grease traps, consider cleaning your drains as well.
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