How to Clean A Fast Food Drive Thru?

Some of the hardest places to clean are the high traffic areas such as fast food drive thrus and parking spaces. The top end of high traffic parking spaces and the stopping points found on drive thrus can be particularly challenging to get and to keep clean. These areas can be so difficult because of the concentration of hydrocarbons, oils and greases that collect in these places. The grease, oil and dirt that accumulate in these areas can, even after a short time, permeate the substrate material causing it to become stained or even begin to break down altogether, not to mention the ongoing slipping hazard it poses. Therefore it becomes imperative that these areas are cleaned on a regular basis.

drive thru before

The first key to getting these areas clean is the utilization of an industrial strength degreaser, such as Tough Stuff. It is vital to have a good emulsifier in order to break free the hydrocarbons from the substrate material, be it concrete or pavement. Pretreating, in high concentration, the worst effected areas, is most effective for providing the optimum cleaning result. This can be accomplish by simply applying your degrease at full strength through a one to three gallon spray jug. Once the pretreated areas have had a sufficient amount of dwell time, another key to breaking up the oil and grease is to add hot water under high pressure to the equation. For the best results, you should typically apply almost 200-degree water at three to four thousand PSI. It will take a mobile/commercial pressure washer like that of a Landa MHC, at the least in order to get this kind of performance.  Once the pretreatment has had sufficient time to set up and you have a good performing pressure washer, it is now time to “down stream” some degreaser onto the rest of the area to be cleaned. A down stream soap injector allows you to automatically dilute the degreaser and apply it evenly across the whole area to be cleaned. This is important so to maintain a uniform look to the area to be cleaned. It also is important, in order to keep an even appearance to the final result that you take care when you begin pressure washing and maintain even strokes and distance from the surface as you wash. If this becomes too difficult, you might want to consider using a circulating surface cleaner. Landa offers a base model called the cyclone that does a great job and connects up to almost any pressure washer with the specs mentioned before.

drive thru after

Cleaning drive thrus and parking spaces does not have to be avoided. On the contrary, it is a lucrative opportunity for the contract cleaner that has the right equipment, chemicals and procedure to follow.

Happy Cleaning,

Fred Boothman III

2 Comments
  1. Pounds Per Square Inch (PSI)A pressure washer’s PSI rating is the maximum amount of force (pressure) discharged by the pressure washer. The higher the PSI, the more cleaning power available and the more things you will be able to clean. See chart below.

  2. There is no shortage of areas to clean in a restaurant – in addition to the cleaning tasks mentioned above; ducts, signage, dumpster areas and the parking lot all need consistent cleaning. Such an array of surfaces that need to be cleaned frequently demands a cleaning solution that is easy to use, flexible and affordable. This is why a pressure washer is a necessity for those in the restaurant business. The ability to hook up a pressure washer and start cleaning within minutes is invaluable – particularly a cleaning solution that offers so much flexibility due to the number of attachments that can be used. Here is a list of the most problematic areas in a restaurant and our recommendations on how to clean them.

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