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How to Clean a Popcorn Machine

How to Clean a Popcorn Machine

Last updated on 11/17/2021

Popcorn machines are a major money-maker for concession stands, snack bars, and movie theaters. They produce food that's constantly in demand to make sure your customers can walk away from your business satisfied. But when you're finishing up after a busy day, you also have to make sure you clean your popcorn machine to prevent grease build-up, food contamination, and other harmful problems. Keeping a clean popcorn popper is not only sanitary, but it also helps your food taste better too. It may take time after you've closed down for the day, but a clean kettle is essential to continued business.

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How to Clean a Popcorn Machine Video

Here is a video demonstrating how to clean a popcorn machine.

Cleaning Your Popcorn Machine

freshly made popcorn in popcorn machine

Before you start the cleaning process, make sure all of the light and heating switches are turned off, and unplug the machine. Let the kettle cool for at least 30 minutes before you attempt to clean it. During that time, you can mix your Kettle Kleen concentrate with water to create the cleaning solution. To clean your popcorn machine, follow these easy steps:

  1. Pour liquid cleaning solution into kettle.
  2. Plug machine back in and turn on kettle's heat until solution boils.
  3. Turn off heat and let kettle cool.
  4. Remove kettle from supports.
  5. Pour solution into safe disposal location.
  6. Using a rag, wipe down the rest of the kettle.
  7. For stubborn soils, repeat steps as necessary.

Cleaning the cabinet is the next step:

  1. With the kettle out of the way, wipe down the floor plating inside the cabinet and remove the crumb tray.
  2. Clean those as needed with a metal-safe solution.
  3. As those dry, wipe down the windows and frame of the unit with a material-safe cleaner and towel. This will quickly remove any splotches or stains that the popper picked up during the day.

With your cabinet, kettle, and plating clean, you're ready to reassemble your unit. Once it's all back together, you're done!

Popcorn Machine Cleaning Safety and Preparation

bucket of popcorn

When cleaning your popcorn machine, it's important to recognize a few safety steps and precautions.

First, don't allow any employees under the age of 18 to clean the kettle. Because this part of the machine is responsible for popping kernels, it gets extremely hot. Only experienced operators should touch it.

Next, make sure to wear protective gloves at all times. This will prevent your bare hands from coming into contact with the cleaner.

For best results, use a cleaner that does not contain ammonia. Ammonia can leave lasting damage on a number of common foodservice surfaces, including different forms of plastic and metal. We recommend using Carnival King Kettle Kleen to sanitize your popper to make sure it's ready for your next busy day. It's formulated for maximum cleaning potential without harming surfaces or leaving contaminating residue.

Last, keep your cleaner concentrate in a safe place away from the machine as you're working. It's easy to bump and knock over a bottle, so it's best to store unused supplies somewhere safe when cleaning.

Popcorn Machine Use After Cleaning

After cleaning your popcorn machine, you can go back to making popcorn the very next day. Make sure to keep up with the daily cleaning and maintenance of your popcorn popper. Not only will it keep you clear in case of a health inspection, but it'll keep your machine running strong for a long time.


Popcorn machines are one of the leading drivers of profits at concession stands, movie theaters, and convenience stores, so it's worth it to properly clean and sanitize your equipment. Cleaning your popcorn machine will improve the flavor of your popcorn, pop the kernels more efficiently, and lengthen the lifespan of the machine.

Related Resources

Popcorn Kits Guide

It's easy to pop fresh, buttery popcorn when you have an all-in-one popcorn kit ! These kits take the mixing and measuring out of making popcorn, so you can quickly make batches of movie theater-quality popcorn. There are many benefits to using a popcorn kit in your popcorn machine . Unsure which size kit works best with your popcorn popper? This guide will help determine which popcorn kit is right for you! There's no doubt that popcorn is a profitable concession food, and these popcorn kits make it easier than ever to increase sales and produce golden, flavorful popcorn for all of your patrons! Our featured brand, Carnival King, offers excellent all-in-one kits for popping delicious popcorn with quality kernels, oil, and salt seasoning in

Types of Popcorn and Popcorn Machines

Popcorn is an easy way to boost impulse sales at your concession stand, movie theater, or convenience store. Because of its low costs for both supply and labor, this delicious, time-honored snack food offers one of the highest profit returns in the concession foods industry! Choosing the right kernels, seasonings, and popcorn poppers are all important considerations for the success of your business.

Concession Stand Food Ideas

If you develop the right menu, opening a concession stand is a low start-up cost way to join the foodservice industry. Whether you're looking to revamp your existing concession stand menu or generate one from scratch, we've developed a comprehensive concession stand food ideas guide filled with healthy items, profitable snacks, pre-made concessions, and spruced-up concession stand fare to help you sell what people want to buy. Shop All Concessions Supplies Click any of ideas below to read the section that interests you: Most Profitable Concession Stand Foods Healthy Concession Stand Food Ideas Pre-made Concession Stand Food Ideas Store Bought Snack Ideas Cooked-to-Order Concession Stand Food Ideas Preparing Concessions On-Site vs Off-Site M

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