Slips and falls are the number one accident problem in commercial kitchens. Slips and falls are also a leading cause of workers’ compensation claims. 85% of worker’s compensation claims are attributed to employees slipping on slick floors.
Greasy kitchen floors are a major contributor to this problem. Commercial kitchen floors present special challenges and require unique care to provide a safe and clean walking surface. In addition to an increased risk of injury and higher insurance premiums, dirty and slippery floors can lead to negative sanitation and safety reviews, both of which can easily ruin a food operation’s reputation.
Grease is one of the most common stubborn soils commercial kitchens experience and it is also one of the most difficult soils to remove.
Grease is frequently left behind from improper mopping procedures or the use of a dirty mop and/or bucket. A mop and bucket that has already been used to clean greasy floors may have grease trapped in the fiber or left behind in the bucket. If they are not properly cleaned, you may be making your floors worse by using it.
Traditional commercial cleaning products and processes are not tough enough to cut through grease. Grease is often left behind, soaking into the grout and remaining on the floor. The combination of grease and hard floors creates a slippery and potentially dangerous situation in the kitchen.
Grease which is not properly removed can be tracked into public areas where customers could also be impacted. Aside from creating hazardous conditions and a dirty appearance, your kitchen floor can also become a breeding ground for bacteria if it is not properly maintained. It is best practice to mop your floors every day, during off-hours.
In this article, we will go over the best process to clean and remove grease from your facility’s floor.
Using a clean mop and bucket is critical to ensuring you are not re-soiling your floors during the cleaning procedure. A previously soiled mop will spread grease and oils around, further intensifying the slipperiness of floors.
Preparing to Clean
It is important to begin any cleaning procedure with the proper tools, commercial cleaning supplies, janitorial cleaning equipment, and personal protective equipment (PPE).
Required Materials, Cleaning Supplies, & Equipment:
- Degreaser appropriate for cleaning animal fats and grease (protein grease is different than petroleum-based grease)
- Bio-Enzymatic Cleaner and Degreaser
- Wet Mop & Bucket with Wringer
- Floor Squeegee
- Deck Brush
- Wet-Dry Vacuum
- Wet Floor Sign
Always begin any cleaning procedure by putting on the necessary personal protective equipment.
Place wet floor signs outside of the area to alert employees that there is cleaning in progress and could be dangerous if they enter the area.
Prepare the floor by removing any matting or fixtures in the area.
Pro Tip: Cover or remove any food contact items such as bins, pots, or pans from lower shelving that could become contaminated by the cleaning procedure.
Step 1. Remove Debris
Begin the cleaning process by sweeping and removing all large debris from the area.
Step 2. Prepare the Chemical Solution
There are several different types of degreasers. Each type of degreaser is formulated to remove specific soils.
Best results will be achieved with the use of a bio-enzymatic cleaner and degreaser.
Bio-enzymatic cleaner and degreaser is a commercial cleaning product that contains non-pathogenic (pathogenic are bacteria that cause disease) bacteria to target soils and odors. The bacteria in bio-enzymatic cleaning products do not pose health risks.
Pro Tip: Grease is an organic soil, meaning it comes from something living. Grease is best removed with the use of the bio-enzymatic cleaner and degreaser. To remove grease, bacteria in the cleaner and degreaser produces enzymes that break up the grease. Then the bacteria in the cleaner eats the broken down waste as a food source.
Always dilute the product according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
If you are not using a bio-enzymatic degreaser, choose a degreaser that is formulated to clean animal fats and grease (protein grease is different than petroleum-based grease).
Pro Tip: Degreasers are more abrasive than all-purpose cleaners. Damage can occur if you are not following the manufacturer’s recommended procedures.
You should always make sure you are following the manufacturer’s guidelines for proper product use, dwell time, and product removal. Read the entire product label before applying the solution.
Step 3. Apply Degreaser
Apply diluted solution liberally to the floor using a clean wet mop. You should use overlapping strokes to ensure you have not missed an area.
Degreasers work most effectively when given the proper dwell time. The longer you let a bio-enzymatic cleaner and degreaser dwell, the more effective it will be.
The typical degreaser needs to sit for at least 10 minutes. Refer to the product label to find the recommended dwell time.
Step 4. Scrub the Floor
Grout is very porous and allows grease to easily penetrate the surface, causing stains.
A byproduct of using a bio-enzymatic cleaner and degreaser is that it will help whiten stained grout with continued use. The bacteria and enzymes in bio-enzymatic cleaners and degreasers can penetrate the small pores of the grout and work to remove embedded grease.
Pro Tip: If grease is trapped in grout lines (or for increased scrubbing productivity), you can use a Doodle Scrub to deeply penetrate the surface.
If the floor is heavily soiled you may need to scrub the floor again.
Step 5. Remove Solution
If your floor has drains, squeegee the dirty solution into the drain.
Using a bio-enzymatic cleaner and degreaser is also beneficial for your drains. When you squeegee the product into the drain, the enzymes will continue to “eat” the organic soils in the drain to help prevent the drains from clogging.
If your floor does not have drains, use a mop and bucket or wet/dry vacuum to pick up the solution. Make sure you are using a clean mop and bucket to ensure you are not spreading grease around, negating your hard work.
Using a wet/dry vacuum will allow you to remove the most amount of solution, lowering the risk of slip & fall accidents.
Make sure to remove as much solution as possible.
Step 6. Allow Floor to Air Dry
Allow the floor to air dry or use an air mover/floor blower to accelerate the drying process.
Do not allow employees to enter the area before the floor is dry. Employees who enter the kitchen before the floor is dry can track remaining chemical, soil, and/or water out to common areas, which can create slip & fall situations with guests and can damage floors.
Pro Tip: We recommend performing this procedure during off-hours to minimize the risk of employees entering the area while the floor is still wet.
When the floor is dry, remove wet floor signs and open the kitchen.
Step 7. Perform Proper Mop Cleaning Procedures
Using a clean mop and bucket is critical to a successful cleaning procedure. After your cleaning procedure, properly wash and store your mop for future use.
If you do not properly wash your mop and bucket, you will have leftover chemical and/or soil residues which will resoil the area on your next cleaning procedure.
Synthetic wet mops are typically machine washable. Follow manufacturer’s guidelines to properly and thoroughly wash your mop without causing damage to the fibers.
Not all mops are tolerant of the same commercial cleaning chemicals or wash procedures. Depending on the mop material it will have temperature tolerances for machine wash and dry cycles.
Thoroughly scrub the inside and outside of the mop bucket, leaving it tipped to dry.
Keeping your facility’s kitchen floor free of grease is critical to ensuring you are protecting the safety of your staff and lowering the risk of worker’s compensation claims.
A combination of the right commercial kitchen floor cleaner and cleaning process is critical to removing grease from your kitchen floors.
Imperial Dade offers a variety of commercial cleaning supplies and janitorial cleaning equipment solutions for your entire facility, including degreasers for your kitchen floor. We can supply your facility’s needs whether you’re located in the United States, Puerto Rico, or the Caribbean.
If you have a question about which degreaser will be best for your facility, let an Imperial Dade Specialist help you sort through the options.