If you own a restaurant or work in one, then you know how important cleanliness is in running the establishment. Aside from compliance with labour health and safety laws, keeping things spick and span is also crucial in providing stellar customer service.

As such, it’s a good idea to hire restaurant cleaning services to ensure that the entire place is spotless and properly disinfected—especially the kitchen, where all the food and drink preparation happens.

That said, it also pays for restaurant owners and workers to learn how to handle cleaning tasks on their own. After all, it’s not efficient to have the professionals come in just to mop up spills or wipe sauces off the counters.

Keeping Grease of the Grills

One of the things that every restaurant owner or worker needs to learn how to clean thoroughly is the grill. It’s one of the biggest grease and grime magnets in the kitchen, no matter what you cook on it.

Fortunately, there are many ways to keep grease off the grills. One of the most popular methods is to use a grill brush, with bristles made from tough materials like nylon or brass. The problem with this is that, aside from requiring the use of potentially toxic cleaning products, the brush’s bristles may inadvertently come off during the cleaning process. This creates a health risk, which can result in injuries and infections.

If you want something safer and also much cheaper solution for cleaning your restaurant’s grills, you can take a look in your pantry. You probably already have a steady supply of it!

Burger Add-On and Grill Cleaner in One: The Onion

Yes, you read that right! You can use an onion to clean your restaurant’s grill and other greasy cooking appliances. The reason behind this is simple: onions are naturally acidic; they’re also very watery. When these two properties combine, they can break down oils, grime, and other similar residues.

To use an onion or two in cleaning your restaurant’s grills, it’s best to heat up the grill first to loosen the grease and bits of food debris stuck to the grates. Then, slice the onion in half and use it to scrub the grates. It doesn’t matter what kind of onion you use, although the larger ones are better so you can cover more of the grill’s surface.

After cleaning, you can wipe the grill with a clean cloth to make it shine. You can also let the grill sit as is for added onion-y flavour to whatever you’re going to cook next. As a bonus, onions also have antimicrobial properties that give your grills an extra level of clean.

Do note that this cleaning method produces better results if you don’t wait too long in between cleanings. In fact, you may want to do this every day before you close down the kitchen. This prevents the build up of grime, so you’ll have an easier time degreasing the grill.

Other Cleaning and Maintenance Uses of Onions

The humble and flavourful onion also has plenty of other cleaning and maintenance uses in and around the restaurant, as well as in the home. Here are some examples:

Cleaning Pots and Pans

In the same way that they can degrease your grills, you can also use onions to clean your pots and pans. Simply cut an onion in half, wipe it on the inside of the pot or pan, then pour warm water in it to soak; make sure to leave the onion in to let it work its magic.

Then, after a few minutes, wash the pot or pan as usual with dish soap. You’ll end up with a sparkling clean, bacteria-free cooking utensil. You can also use the same method for spatulas, ladles, and other kitchen instruments.

Removing Mild Rust From Knives

If your kitchen and utility knives are looking a little worse for wear with rust, you can simply stab them into a couple of onions. After a few minutes, remove the knives from the onions and apply some oil on them, then wipe off with a clean cloth.

This rust removal method is also effective on other metal objects, such as scissors, tongs, and whisks. Obviously, you can’t stab these into onions like knives, so simply use the cut-and-scrub technique.

Driving Insects Away

Is your kitchen becoming a haven for insects like ants and cockroaches? You can use a variety of cooking ingredients, including onions, to create an effective and eco-friendly insect spray. Here’s how:

  • Prepare 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, 3 to 4 onions (depending on the size), about 2 tablespoons of cayenne pepper, and 1 litre of water.
  • Blend these ingredients until properly pureed.
  • Mix about 2 to 3 tablespoons of soap flakes into 7 litres of water.
  • Mix the pureed ingredients with the soap solution.

Transfer the final mixture into spray bottles and use it to drive away insects.

Get Rid of Unpleasant Odours

A kitchen usually emits a combination of delicious smells. However, over time, the odours might accumulate and start to become rank rather than fragrant. This can be solved by placing some onion slices in a bowl of warm water, then leaving the bowl in the room to let it absorb the odours overnight. Remember to close the doors and windows!

This also works for a variety of smells, say burnt food or even a fresh coat of paint. If your restaurant’s kitchen is a large one, place multiple bowls of onion and warm water in different areas.


As you can see, the onion is more than just a spice. It can also be a trusty companion in keeping a restaurant’s kitchen clean and hygienic.