What does a trip to the movies, a day at the ballpark, and walking around a festival all have in common? They are all made even better with a delicious box of buttery popcorn! Popcorn is a great profit generator, but it is important to keep the popcorn machine in your operation working in top condition by regularly and properly cleaning the machine. 

If you are a foodservice provider with a commercial popcorn machine, you may be wondering how to clean a popcorn machine. By regularly cleaning your commercial popcorn machine, your popcorn will taste better, and your machine will last longer with less maintenance needed. Learning to get into the habit of properly cleaning the machine is essential to the continued growth of sales. Let’s review the best way to clean your commercial popcorn popper.

How to Clean A Popcorn Machine

Learn how to clean your popcorn machine by following these steps: 

  • Turn off all light and heating switches 
  • Unplug the machine 
  • Allow the machine to cool to keep operators safe – these poppers run at extremely high temperatures! 
  • Remove the kettle and wipe it down with a sponge or damp towel, but remember to never submerge in water to avoid damaging the electrical components 
  • Wipe all glass with an ammonia-free, food-safe glass cleaner 
  • Wipe metal surfaces with a damp towel, including the kettle. For intense messes in the kettle, see more in-depth steps for cleaning below. 

Very important note: for any surface that touches food, clean it with a food-safe cleaner 

Benchmark 11087 – Silver Screen 8 oz. Popcorn Machine


This Benchmark 11087 has the following features:

  • Stainless steel cabinet and food zone, illuminated case
  • Drawer for unpopped kernels, drop serving panel
  • 20″Wx17″Dx30″H, 61 lbs.


Many foodservice providers aren’t sure the best way for how to clean a popcorn machine kettle. If grease has built up to a degree that will not come off with a few wipes, it may be necessary to “boil-out” the kettle to get it clean once again: 

  • Use specific cleaner formulated for kettle cleaning and about two cups of water 
  • Bring to a boil, then turn off and unplug the unit 
  • Empty the liquid into a container after the amount of time indicated by the kettle cleaner 
  • Rinse and wipe 
  • The Benchmark USA 43001 kettle cleaning kit makes this process easy!

    Benchmark USA 43001 – Kettle Cleaning Kit

    $44.49 /Each

    Commercial Popcorn Machine Cleaning Kit Features:

    • Kettle Cleaning Kit
    • Chemical cleaner
    • Steel wool
    • Scraper
    • Rubber gloves
    • Sponge and instructions

    Commercial Popcorn Machine Safety:

    Cleaning your popcorn machine without using proper safety precautions can cause serious harm to operators. Remember these points as you clean your commercial popcorn machine: 

    • Do not allow any employees under the age of 18 to clean the kettle due to extremely hot temperatures that it reaches. 
    • Wear protective gloves while cleaning in order to keep bare hands from coming in contact with the cleaner.  
    • Use an ammonia-free cleaner so that there is no lasting damage caused which can happen to a variety of plastics and metals. And store in a safe location away from prep area to prevent spills and direct contact with product 

    Safety Zone GNPR-BK Powder-Free Nitrile Gloves, XL, Black, Case of 1000

    $38.69 /Case

    Features of The Safety Zone GNPR-BK -Powder-Free Nitrile Gloves Include:

    • Made of durable nitrile
    • Powder-free for easy removal
    • 100% free of allergens, including latex and silicone

    Use an ammonia-free cleaner as the best route for how to clean the inside of a popcorn machine. Use this chemical so that there is no lasting damage caused which can happen to a variety of plastics and metals. And store in a safe location away from prep area to prevent spills and direct contact with product.

    Commercial Popcorn Machine Popcorn Tips:

    We won’t mess with your science for creating the perfect batch, but we did want to give some tips for serving five-star popcorn: 

    • Pre-packaged kits make it easy to have the perfect amount of corn, oil, and salt and will create consistency among shifts.
    • Store popcorn in a sealed container at room temperature to avoid chewy popcorn. 
    • Vegetable oil cannot withstand the heat required to make popcorn and can lead to smoke and fires. Use coconut, palm, canola, sunflower, peanut, or soy oils for a suitable oil for popping. 
    • Scoops made specifically for popcorn make it much easier to fill bags.

    Central Restaurant 42030 Popcorn Scoop


    Features Include:

    • Aluminum popcorn scoop with Black heavy duty handle
    • Perforations allow unpopped kernels to escape back into popper, not into serving bags. Dishwasher safe
    • 5″Wx73/4″D blade size. 11″WxLx11″H overall.

    Now, rest assured that your popcorn machine can properly pop a delicious snack for guests and will continue to work as good as new! In the need for popcorn supplies? Central offers popcorn kits, scoops, bags, and more from a variety of vendors to help your operations flow without a hitch. 

    FAQs on Commercial Popcorn Machines

    1.    What is the best cleaner to clean a popcorn machine with?

    Specifically for a commercial popcorn machine, you’ll want a cleaner that can cut through grease and remove any built-up residue. A mixture of warm water and a mild detergent can work great.

     2.    Do you have to clean a popcorn machine after every use?

    Yes, it’s crucial to clean a commercial popcorn machine after every use to ensure food safety and maintain the quality of your popcorn. Even if it appears relatively clean, residue can accumulate over time and affect the taste and texture of your popcorn. Check out our commercial popcorn cleaning kit to make this a breeze.

     3.    Are popcorn machines easy to clean?

    If you want to learn how to clean a popcorn machine, it can luckily be relatively straight forward. However, the ease of cleaning may vary depending on the model and how well you maintain it. Regular cleaning, which includes wiping down surfaces, removing grease and debris, and cleaning out popcorn remnants, can make the process easier.

    4.    Can you put a popcorn maker in the dishwasher?

    Generally, it’s not recommended to put a commercial popcorn machine or any electrical appliance in a dishwasher.

    5.    How do you clean a greasy popcorn machine?

    Cleaning a greasy commercial popcorn machine requires a bit more effort, but it’s essential for maintaining the machine’s functionality and hygiene. Skim through the rest of this article on how to clean a commercial popcorn machine.


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