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How to Clean a Greasy Cooker Hood

cooker hood cleaning guide

There’s nothing like the smell of a home-cooked meal, but sometimes, cooking smells can be overpowering and linger around for hours. That’s where a cooker hood comes in – extracting smoke, steam, and greasy fumes, making kitchen air much cleaner.

Cooker hoods work hard, and in the process build up lots of dirty grease and grime, particularly on their filters. Because the grease that forms on the filter grill is sticky, it catches dust particles, hairs, and other debris. This build-up of gunk can restrict airflow, drastically affecting performance.

Here are a few steps you can follow to clean your greasy cooker hood and filters with ease, to maintain clean airflow.

Cleaning the Filter of Your Cooker Hood

There are two main types of cooker hood – vented and recirculating. The former draws dirty air into the cooker hood and vents it outside, much like the way a vented tumble dryer expels airflow outside of the building. The latter – a recirculating cooker hood – is the most common type in the UK, and works by drawing air through two filters and recirculating the filtered are back out into the kitchen, instead of outside.

Regardless of the type of cooker hood you have, the filter needs to be cleaned. Although, it’s even more important for recirculating hoods as the air is being blown back out into the kitchen, so the filter needs to be kept clean and clear.

The Grease Filter

cooker hood grease filter removal

All cooker hoods come with an in-built metal grease filter. This is what enables the cooker to catch grease from bubbling pots and frying pans, simmering away on your electric cooker. It’s the first stage in the filtration process of the cooker hood.

The accumulation of grease on the metallic filter is not just unsightly but can also lead to a foul smell in the kitchen. Since the grease filter is directly above your cooker, if any direct grease drips off or flakes of dirt fall off, it’s going to land directly into your pot of cooking food – yuck!

Thankfully, cleaning a metallic filter is simple. All you need to do is remove the filter from the hood (simply unclicks) and pop it into the dishwasher. Set on a high-temperature cycle with some powerful cleaning dishwasher tablets, and the filter will come out looking new.

If you don’t have a dishwasher, you can put the filter in a tub of hot water and scrub with a degreaser. Alternatively, you can go the natural way by filling a baking tray with boiling water, then adding some vinegar, baking soda, and salt. Next, submerge the grease filter in the water and allow it to steep for 10 minutes before wiping it down and rinsing off.

Be sure to let the grease filters dry fully before operating the cooker hood, pat dry with a dishtowel.

Some cooker hood grease filters use disposable paper or fabric to trap grease and dirt, instead of a metallic mesh. This paper is cut to size and needs to be replaced when the indicators is activated.

You should aim to clean your cooker hood metallic filter (and paper grease filters) at least once every 2 – 3 months, maybe more often if you indulge in a lot of frying.

Carbon and Charcoal Filters

clean carbon extractor filter

For recirculating air cooker hoods, the second stage of filtration is done by a carbon or charcoal filter element. These are designed to absorb and remove cooking odours from the air that passes through them, by a process known as adsorption.

These filters cannot be cleaned, they require changing every 6 – 12 months, depending on how often you use them. You will need to contact your manufacturer for the correct carbon or charcoal filter for your cooker hood, as they are all different and made specifically to fit your particular cooker hood model.

Cleaning Cooker Hood Lights

Although your cooker hood does a great job of soaking up those dirty cooking gases, you can still get a build-up of grease and sauce splashes on the light bulb casing. These lights create nice ambient lighting in your kitchen at night and help to aluminate your cooker or hob, allowing you to clearly see what you’re cooking, boiling, or frying.

Cleaning these lights requires just a wipe over with a damp cloth to keep them shining clear and bright.

Cleaning the Cooker Hood Exterior

Most cooker hoods have a stainless steel or brushed metal exterior housing. Like any appliance in the home, dust will settle along the top, and any grease and steam that the cooker hood fails to extract will turn any settled dust into a messy coating of grime.

To keep the exterior of your cooker hood clean, use a damp microfiber cloth soaked in warm water and use a stainless steel cleaner spray. These non-abrasive cleaners will break down and remove dirt, giving a streak-free finish, and leaving a protective layer.

Any glass on your cooker hood should be cleaned in the same way – with a warm microfiber cloth and glass spray cleaner. Alternatively, use disposable glass cleaning wipes.

How Do You Know It’s Time to Clean Your Cooker Hood

Although regular monthly check-ins are recommended to maintain your beautiful cooker hood, sometimes you can identify signs that scream it needs cleaning.

If your hood has become visible unable to extract steam and gases from the kitchen even at the highest setting, chances are the filters are heavily clogged.

If you hear some unusual noise from the fans while using your cooker hood is running, there is a fair chance that grime has accumulated in the insides, which will require investigation and cleaning.

One of the biggest culprits in spoiling your cooker is frequent frying. The grease emanates from hot oil sticks to cooker filters and chokes them completely if overlooked for a long time.

So cutting down on fried food or switching some of your cooking to an air fryer or halogen oven can make a big difference and save you the hassle of removing the grime. It will also lead to a healthier diet.

Alternately, doing small amounts of work every day will definitely save you a lot of hassle.

Make sure to wipe your cooker hood after every intense cooking session to avoid huge grime accumulation.

Keeping your cooker hood clean and hygienic will ensure your kitchen looks fresh. Checking the hood periodically and not procrastinating when it shows obvious stains and grease will prevent you from making a big sticky mess of your cooker and kitchen.