Your restaurant floors may have begun clean enough you could eat off of them, but that was a long time ago. These days, the floor is so caked in grease you worry about someone getting hurt and suing your establishment.
What does it take to get your kitchen floors sparkling again? That’s what we’ll explore ahead, recommending products and steps to clean the floor and maintain its shine for a long time.
The Risks of a Greasy Restaurant Floor
From the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA to Germany’s Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Norway’s National Institute of Occupational Health, and the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, health agencies exist worldwide to make workplaces safer.
Flying in the face of those regulations with a greasy kitchen floor in your restaurant is illegal and dangerous for these myriad reasons.
Slips and Falls
As grease accumulates, it becomes a greater slipping hazard. The surface of the floor is coated in oil, kind of making it like walking across ice. Your employees can lose their footing at any point, becoming unsteady and then falling to the floor.
The risk is even more elevated considering restaurant employees oftentimes rush into the kitchen to deliver orders and send food to tables.
What kinds of injuries can happen in a slip and fall from a greasy restaurant floor? At the very least, bruising and soreness. Depending on how the employee lands, they can fracture or break a bone or several.
Then, there’s the risk of food and supplies landing on the employee. If they’re burned by a scalding hot drink or meal, that increases their injury severity.
The employee can turn around and sue your workplace, citing unsafe working conditions, and would have a good chance of winning.
Higher Rates of Vermin
Does your restaurant have high marks for cleanliness now? Those might not stick if you allow grease to continue building up on your kitchen floors unchecked. Vermin such as mice and other rodents find the oil smell (and taste) quite appealing.
One mouse is bad enough in a restaurant, as it could lead to a citation for cleanliness. If you have a whole horde running around back there, your restaurant could be temporarily or even permanently closed. It’s not worth the risk!
Many restaurant kitchens have floor drains, usually for water and other fluids to exit. Grease is not designed to go through plumbing systems, as it can stick to the inside of the pipes as it accumulates, shrinking the pipe radius.
When water tries to pass through, it may be unable. A blockage could result in an overflow in your kitchen or even a burst pipe. The repair costs from water damage can be in the tens of thousands of dollars depending on the severity.
Grease is not only tough to clean, but also very flammable. Kitchens always have controlled fires going, but all it takes is one ember landing on the floor and whoosh, the whole kitchen could go up in flames.
Clean restaurant floors: the Top Products to Degrease them
You can see why you can’t neglect a greasy restaurant floor, but how do you restore it to its former glory? Here are some methods to try.
As a name like degreaser implies, this product can cut oil and grease from your floors in a jiffy. Degreasers are also useful for removing fingerprints and cutting fluids from your kitchen so it’s a cleaner, more professional place.
Fill a mop bucket with water (seven liters) and degreaser (300 milliliters). Ensure the water is warm.
Then, grab a mophead and clean your kitchen floors. The degreaser will cut through the layer of grime, leaving your floors looking spotless and feeling safer to walk on.
You might need a hard-bristled brush for especially stubborn grease stains, getting down on your hands and knees and scouring away at the oil.
Granted, baking soda only works for mild grease stains, but it’s an option, nonetheless. You need a cup of water and three tablespoons of the baking soda, mixing until they form a paste. Next, put the paste over the grimiest parts of your floor.
Rub the paste around circularly, then clean the baking soda residue away with water. Avoid using baking soda on chrome or metal, as it’s abrasive enough it could leave permanent scratch marks.
Another solution for mild kitchen grease is vinegar. The newer the grease stains, the better the vinegar will work.
You need four parts water to one part vinegar. Use white vinegar for its efficient cleaning power. Pour some of the mixture onto the stain, allow it to soak, and then rinse the area with water.
Degreaser + Enzymatic Cleaner
The last solution is among the most effective. You can begin with it to save time or use it as a last resort. It’s up to you.
Enzymatic cleaners will destroy grease, especially when used in conjunction with a degreaser. A bio-enzymatic product and degreaser will make enzymes that remove grease and break it down.
DIY vs. Professional Restaurant Floor Cleaning – Which Is Better?
While most commercial kitchen cleanup jobs are DIY-able, there are some scenarios in which you should consider hiring the pros.
For example, if you have years of grease buildup, even enzymatic cleaners might not be effective enough to take care of it. You could try bleach, but a degreaser and bio-enzymatic cleaner combo really is your best bet to combat grease on your own.
If nothing is working, you should consider hiring a team of professionals.
Here are the benefits of that choice:
- Saves you time you don’t have to spend cleaning yourself
- Expert-level service
- Technicians know the right cleaners for the job
- Will remove all the grease and gunk the first time
- Can do the job faster than DIY due to more experience
- Then again, there are these issues to consider:
- More expensive
- Some services only specialize in general cleaning
- Are you still thinking of degreasing your restaurant floor yourself? Here are some pros of making this a DIY project:
- Less expensive to do it yourself
- Can ask other staff to help to make it go faster
- Most cleaners are easy to procure and mix
- Knowing how to degrease your floors makes it easier to maintain them going forward
- Keep in mind it won’t all be smooth sailing. You could run into these issues:
- Inexperience makes you take longer
- You will have to shut down the kitchen while cleaning
- You might have to go over the area again to remove all the grease
How Much Do Professional Restaurant Cleaning Services Cost? How Do You Choose the Right One?
The prices of professional restaurant cleaning vary depending on the complexity of the job, the square footage, and the labor required. Costs start as low as $20 an hour up to $150 per hour.
As you consider hiring professional restaurant cleaners to degrease your floors (and get the rest of the establishment in excellent shape), let these tips guide your choice.
Determine Your Budget
How much can your restaurant afford to spend on professional cleaning services? That’s a question only you can answer based on your earnings and other expenses.
Restaurant cleaning services are not created equally. Some specialize in specific types of cleaning, such as degreasing, while others offer generalized services. Select the specialists to ensure a cleaner restaurant.
Decide on Your Service Frequency
You might choose to hire a cleaning service just this once, which is fine if you’re in a rush. However, your establishment will benefit more from regular cleanings, unless you have the time and availability to do it yourself while juggling restaurant management.
Have an Interview
Before making a hiring decision, it helps to meet with the cleaning team. During this interview, you can ask them more in-depth questions about their services, including how they would handle specific scenarios, like a grease-coated floor.
You can also ask for their certifications. Pro-level cleaners should be happy to show you their experience and expertise through certs, so reconsider hiring one that wants to keep this information under wraps.
Pro Tips for Keeping Your Restaurant Floors Clean
Given how busy a restaurant kitchen is on any average day, your clean floors will not stay shining and spotless for long. However, these tips will help the area maintain its cleanliness for longer, keeping the kitchen a safe place for cooks, waitstaff, and dishwashers to work.
Set Up a Cleaning Schedule
Ideally, you should thoroughly clean surfaces daily, but that’s not always possible. At the very least, schedule cleaning once a week. If you hire third-party cleaners, you won’t have to remember when cleaning day is, as they will come to your restaurant and take care of it for you.
However, you should still keep a schedule of when they come so you can anticipate the next cleaning.
If you decide to keep cleaning the restaurant an in-house job, may I also recommend making a schedule so you don’t bypass cleaning day in the hustle and bustle of running a restaurant?
Have Trash Bins Available
The easiest way to prevent grease from accumulating on your restaurant floors is to give your team a place to safely dispose of it. Trash bins or a specialized sink are two great ideas for removing grease safely and responsibily.
Of course, providing these services is one thing, and keeping them accessible is another. Every week, or perhaps twice a week, empty the bin so your staff can continue using the grease removal methods you’ve set up.
Clean Stains Immediately
Whether a pop of grease or a food spill, you should not let these messes last long on the floors. The stains can set in, making what would have been an otherwise fast and easy fix much more time-consuming and labor-intensive.
When cleaning a sector of your restaurant kitchen (or the main dining floor), use plastic signs and cordons so none of your employees accidentally walk into the cleaning area and slip and fall on the wet floors.
Check Your Drainage System
A drainage system backup is a risk for more than the grease stains. If it leaks, it could ruin your restaurant. You might have to shut down for months as you get the building repaired for water damage, not to mention what it will cost you.
Make it a habit at least once a month to familiarize yourself with your drainage system and how well it’s working.
Ask Your Team to Do Their Part
You can’t be the only one cleaning the restaurant. You’re outnumbered by the in-house staff and will never be able to conquer their messes. Instead, ask everyone to join in when they can, cleaning messes as they happen and spending a few extra minutes after their shift to tidy up.
Teach Proper Cleaning Techniques
Of course, an employee’s cleaning habits are only as good as their abilities. If they don’t know how to properly clean, they could make matters worse or fail to effectively put a dent in grease or other kitchen messes.
It’s worth teaching your staff briefly how cleaning items work and how to maximize their effectiveness.
A greasy restaurant floor is more than an eyesore. It can invite rats, increase dangerous working conditions, and elevate fire risks.
Don’t chance it. Whether you choose to do it yourself or hire a professional service, you owe it to.your restaurant staff and customers to keep the kitchen clean!
Also read: HOW DO YOU CLEAN A COMMERCIAL HOOD FILTER?