Effective Drainage Tips in Commercial Kitchens

When plumbing issues arise in commercial kitchens, they can be an enormous pain for owners, managers, employees, customers and plumbers alike.


Here are a few ways to avoid the headache of drainage issues.  

  1. Design during build
  2. Sloping & Retrofitting
  3. Maintenance
  4. Employee awareness & training

Design Prior to Build

If you are planning and designing a new commercial kitchen , it is critical to plan your plumbing and drainage that is suitable for functionality and cleanliness for years to come. By installing an effective drainage system initially, your back-of-house will be safer, cleaner, and easier to maintain cutting back on costs and risks.

Sloping & Retrofitting

Sloping is one of the most important aspects of an effective drainage system. You could have the perfect drain but without the proper sloping, it will never work as intended.

Sloping DOs:feature-flooring-5
  • Do plan during the proposal stage
  • Do place drains at the lowest point in strategic areas (i.e. dish rooms, prep area, low-traffic areas, some will require more sloping)
  • Do install to make drain edges that are even or lower than the floor
Sloping DON'Ts:
  • Don’t allow gaps between floor and drain. This will lead to leaks underneath the floor
  • Don’t wing it; create a drainage & sloping plan that is efficient & effective

Sloping and pitching should ensure water does not build up and flows away from walls and equipment directly down the drain. Sometimes a full retrofitting is required to dig trenches for drainage yet some flooring companies can help to achieve the desired results without disrupting the entire space.

If searching for a quick solution that addresses your needs, consider:
  • an installation that can go directly over your existing floor
  • an installation that includes sloping and pitching in the preparation phase
  • less disruptive options to save time and money


By implementing systems that maintain existing drains, you can reduce hazards and safeguard the equipment and production quality.

To maintain your existing drainage:
  • clean filters, grease traps regularly
  • clear drains every month or two
  • limit amount of food debris and grease that enters drains
  • use bio-cleaner (an enzyme that will eat away at a clog)
  • save time and money by keeping a plumping toolkit on-site (snakes, bio-cleaner, plunger)
By using preventative maintenance, you can:
  • mitigate the risk of bacteria, mold, mildew growth
  • alleviate the possibility of water damage and standing water
  • lessen chances of bug infestations
  • make following food safety management systems easier & more effective during operation
  • make cleaning easier and faster
  • reduce the risk for slips, trips, and falls

Employee Awareness & Training


It is important to make employees aware of how to aptly use drainage systems to complete daily operational tasks that will ultimately lessen risk and hygienic concerns.

Employees should:

  • limit amount of food debris and FOGs that go down drain
  • use drainage systems to make food storage, prep, washing, production, and disposal easier and faster
  • use food and employee safety management systems to reduce risks
  • clean drains and floor regularly in prescribed ways

If managers are able to initiate best practices training, they will help to diminish risk, ensure cleanliness and save their kitchen from damage and decline.


Learn more about quick, non-disruptive solutions that provide sloping, durability, and water-resistance for your commercial kitchen.

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“FOG: Fats, Oils & Grease From the Pan to the Can.” Baltimore City Department of Public Works, 2016, publicworks.baltimorecity.gov/sites/default/files/FOG_Manual_2016.pdf.

Mitchell, Jackie. “Kitchen Drainage.” Foodservice Consultants Society International, 7 Oct. 2013, www.fcsi.org/foodservice-consultant/worldwide/drain-brain/.

Robson, Stephani K.A. “One Good Turn: What Every Operator Should Know About Restaurant Plumbing.” The Scholarly Commons, Cornell University School of Hotel Adminstration, 2013, scholarship.sha.cornell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1183&context=articles.