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How to Properly Clean Commercial Popcorn Machine

Jun 10th 2022 - Monica Cunanan

How to Properly Clean Commercial Popcorn Machine

Popcorn machines are always present in concession stands, snack bars, and movie theaters. , and popcorn machines are a big source of revenue for movie theaters. They produce food that is always in demand so that your customers can walk away happy. After a busy day, you need to clean your popcorn machine to avoid grease buildup, food contamination, and any other harmful problems. It's important to keep your popcorn popper clean because it's both sanitary and it makes your food taste better. After you close up shop for the day, a clean kettle is essential for continuing your business.

How Often Should You Clean Your Commercial Popcorn Machine?

Daily cleaning is done to ensure sanitation and Deep cleaning using heavy-duty cleaning solutions and kettle cleaner are used every few weeks to remove carbon deposits. These are stubborn, greasy, black deposits you find on popcorn machines after you've used them for a while. There are two ways to clean off the carbon deposits:

  1. Add cleaning solution and boil
  2. Cold Cleaning your popcorn machine using a cleaner/ degreaser
  3. Using Vinegar

Make sure to always follow your manufacturer's manual for specific instructions for the machine you're using. If you own Winco popcorn machines, check out this comprehensive guide to find out the detailed cleaning instructions.

Steps for Daily Kettle Cleaning

Of course, cleaning the popcorn machine isn't just about keeping the kettle clean. To achieve an attractive, professional appearance for your entire unit, clean it regularly. A clean popcorn machine will also help keep your delicious popcorn. You can avoid chewy popcorn by keeping your popcorn hot.

Step 1: Switch off the machine and let it cool down. CAUTION: never use ice or water to cool it down because this can damage the kettle and its electrical components.

Step 2: Empty popcorn from the machine

Step 3: Using a Stainless Steel Cleaner, Clean and Sanitize the kettle and other accessories. CAUTION: never submerge the kettle into the soapy water since this can damage it. Avoid oven cleaners or abrasive materials since they can damage your kettle.

Step 4: Wipe grease off of glass and cabinet using a damp cloth and soapy water. You may also use a degreaser for any stubborn deposits. Never use cleaning products containing ammonia, as they could damage plastic doors.

Regular Cleaning is important to avoid carbon buildup. However, we cannot avoid this buildup especially if you are using your machine intensely to accommodate customers.

Deep Cleaning: How to remove heavy grease buildup

Batches of popcorn will definitely result in a buildup of grease on your popcorn machines. Luckily, there are cleaning solutions available specifically for commercial popcorn makers. You may use the Boiling Method or the Cold Cleaning Method. Make sure to consult our equipment manual and popcorn cleaner instructions to ensure that you are using the correct method.

Boiling Method

This deep cleaning method pertains to using a cleaning solution that will be boiled in the kettle.

Step 1: Switch off the machine and let the hot kettle cool down

Step 2: Empty popcorn from the machine

Step 3: Pour liquid cleaning solution into the dirty kettle. CAUTION: never submerge the entire kettle in water since this can damage it along with its electrical components. Avoid oven cleaners or abrasive materials since they can damage your kettle.

Step 4: Switch on the machine back and heat the kettle until the solution boils.

Step 5: Turn off the heat and let the kettle cool.

Step 6: Remove cold kettle from supports.

Step 7: Pour the solution into a safe disposal location. 

Step 8: If there is grease buildup on surfaces, wipe down the Interior & Exterior with a damp, soft cloth or damp paper towel. Follow through with a dry microfiber cloth or dry paper towels.

Step 9: Repeat step as necessary especially if stubborn grease buildup on machines is still present.

Cold Cleaning Your Popcorn Machine

This is our most recommended way to deep clean your kettle. Using cleaning products that don't require heating chemicals is safer. It also keeps the outside of the kettle clean and shiny, which is visually appealing for your customer.

  • Turn off your heater, motor, warmer, and light switches. Turn off your machine for at least 30 minutes before cleaning. You want your machine to be completely cold.
  • Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands.
  • Disassemble your popcorn machine: Remove the kettle from the hanger, taking it off entirely from the inside. Lift up and out of the drop pane on the door. Remove the trays from the machine.
  • Place your kettle on an even surface. Never soak in a sink.
  • Spray the inside and out of the kettle with the Cleaning solution. If you are using the aerosol version, shake it well before spraying. Do not spray like hair spray. You want to lay a smooth layer of carbon off on the kettle, inside as well as outside. If you're using the gel version, put it on both the inside and outside surfaces of your kettle.
  • Let the carbon off rest for 20 minutes, then scrape it off with a spatula. 

  • With clear, warm water and fresh rags, remove the residual carbon from the filter. Wash your soft cloth in clean water and wipe away any remaining carbon from the soft cloth. To be sure that all of the chemicals have been removed from your skin, repeat a couple of times.
  • With a clean towel, wash the kettle. Use a dry cleaning cloth to dry.
  • Clean up the glass and doors using a non-ammonium-based cleaner. You can use soapy water for this.
  • If there is grease buildup on surfaces, wipe down the Interior & Exterior with a damp cloth. Follow through with a dry microfiber cloth or dry paper towels.

Deep-Clean Using Vinegar

A great alternative for effective cleaning

If you use your machine frequently, You don't need to clean out the oil from your popcorn maker after every use. You can make several batches of buttery popcorn without cleaning it in between. Make sure you don’t let the oil in the kettle sit for too long, or it can go rancid. If you use your popcorn machine infrequently, then you should clean it each when you use it. You don't have to purchase the cleaning solutions mentioned above because you can actually use vinegar! 

  • Step 1: Mix one part of vinegar with two parts of warm water to clean the kettle. You can place the solutions in a spray bottle.
  • Step 2: Use a clean cloth and wipe the vinegar solution on the kettle until the grease is gone. Then, use a clean, damp cloth to wipe the kettle. CAUTION: Acid can actually cause metals or rubbers to corrode. If you use vinegar for cleaning your popcorn machine, you should wipe it off with a cloth and warm water.
  • Step 3: Wipe down all of the insides of the machine with a clean, damp cloth and vinegar. It will clean and remove grease and fingerprints from the entire machine. CAUTION: Vinegar doesn't do well at cleaning glass, plastic, or rubber, but it does well at cleaning metal. Acid can actually cause metal or rubber items to corrode. If you use the vinegar mixture to clean your popcorn machine, you should always wipe it down with a rag and water after.

Your popcorn Machine is ready to go!

Once you clean your popcorn machine, you'll be able to use it again the very next day. Keep an eye out for any issues with your popcorn popper and fix them immediately. It'll keep you clear in case you need to use a, but it'll also keep your machine running strong and pass health inspections.

Popcorn machines in concession stands, movie theaters, convenience stores, and are among the leading drivers of profits for equipment, so it's worth investing in them. Cleaning your popcorn maker will improve the flavor of the popcorn, pop the kernels faster, and extend the life of the machine. So make sure to properly clean and sanitize it.

Getting Popcorn Machine for Your Business?

Popcorn machines are crucial for operating concession stands, snack bars, and movie theaters. Here at Culinary Depot, we are eager to help you find the right popcorn machine and necessities for maintenance.

Visit our online store or contact us today for more information.