Maintaining Your Restaurant to Prevent Grease Fires
Cleaning Table with Rag

As we’ve discussed in the past, kitchen fires – specifically commercial grease fires – are a common means of destruction in the restaurant setting. Preventing grease fires in your commercial kitchen starts with just that: preventing grease buildup. In addition to cleaning cooking equipment and filters, you should also get into the routine of properly cleaning the grease buildup in rags, aprons and any other linens used by your employees. Below we touch on various tips to prevent grease fires in your restaurant kitchen that will keep your business running smoothly.

Related reading: [White Paper] Identify & Eliminate Restaurant Fires

How to Remove Grease from Rags & Linens

  • If possible, you should consider a commercial laundry vendor whose equipment specializes in grease removal. This will ensure the safest and potentially most convenient way to minimize the associated risks.
  • If you wish to clean and store grease-laden linens in-house, only use a commercial-grade appliance capable of grease extraction that also uses laundry detergents that are specifically designed to clean grease-laden linens. Standard washers, dryers, and detergents are not capable of effectively removing grease from linens.   
  • Pre-soak towels to remove as much oil as possible before washing.
  • Remove materials from the dryer as soon as the full drying cycle is done (including the cool down portion). Refrain from leaving them in the dryer for long periods of time, especially overnight.
  • Properly maintain washing and drying appliances to remove grease buildup.

How to Properly Store Both Clean & Dirty Linens

All greasy linens should be placed in a metal container with a tight-fitting metal lid secured immediately after usage. Store clean and dirty linens separately in metal cabinets or containers with a tight-fitting lid. By keeping lids closed, you are putting a barrier between the rags and additional oxygen should spontaneous combustion occur. It’s important to ensure that even ‘clean’ rags are stored with a cover because there is a chance that the grease will not have been completely removed.

If any disposable towels are used, make sure to remove them from the building and into an outside dumpster to avoid potential risk to your workplace.

Streamline Your Restaurant Linens Program

It’s important to emphasize the risk posed by grease buildup in all places of the kitchen, including rags and linens. Make sure you and management monitor and enforce the proper cleaning and storing of these linens. Proper maintenance of the kitchen takes time, so make sure you build in the time to allow for your employees to adhere to safety standards. After all, your restaurant kitchen should be a well-oiled machine, NOT a well-oiled grease fire.

Find more precautionary practices by reading our Risk Control blog series or contact your local Society agent with any coverage-related questions for your restaurant

Additional Resources


As a mutual insurance company, we operate and exist for the benefit of our policyholders. For more than 100 years, Society has been helping businesses overcome the unexpected with comprehensive coverage packages and outstanding claims handling, underwriting and risk management.

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