Why a Clean Kitchen Hood is Essential
A clean kitchen hood improves ventilation and prevents fire hazard. Grease buildup is flammable and clogs filters, reducing efficiency. Studies show that improper or no kitchen hood cleaning can increase the risk of fire by over 34%. According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking is a leading cause of home fires and injuries, with ranges or cooktops accounting for 61% of home cooking fires.
A filter clogged with grease cannot effectively ventilate and poses serious risks. Professional hood cleaning services recommend deep cleaning filters at least once a month in commercial kitchens and bi-weekly in residential kitchens “Filters should be taken out and either washed in a dishwasher or soaked in degreaser and scrubbed before re-installation,” says Chris Lavely of Grease Lightning, a nationwide US vent hood cleaning company.
In addition to fire safety, a clean kitchen hood also improves indoor air quality by properly venting smoke, grease, moisture, and odors. Buildup of these pollutants over time in ductwork and the hood can lead to “Sick Building Syndrome.” Regular professional deep cleaning of the entire hood system is required to ensure safe and efficient operation.
Step 1: Prepare Your Kitchen for Cleaning
Before beginning any cleaning task, preparation is key. For a kitchen hood cleaning, start by turning off power to the hood at the circuit breaker to avoid risk of electric shock or fire hazard from wet components. Allow all parts to cool completely if the hood was recently in use.
Next, remove all detachable parts like grease filters, grease cups or drip pans, fan blades, and the mesh filter over the fan. Have your cleaning supplies ready in a caddy or bucket to transport around the kitchen. You will need:
- Degreaser or commercial vent hood cleaner
- Abrasive sponges or scrubbers
- Metal polish
- Dish soap
- Spray-on oven cleaner (for stubborn, baked-on messes)
- Scrub brushes
- Mini vacuum (for hard to reach areas)
- Clean rags and paper towels
- Protective gloves
- Safety goggles (recommended)
For stuck-on filters or parts, fill your kitchen sink with the degreasing solution and let them soak according to product directions before scrubbing. Rinse all parts with water and dry completely to prevent re-deposition of grease during cleaning and to allow you to tell which areas still need work.
Ventilate and protect! Run an exhaust fan and open windows to maximize ventilation. The cleaning process can stir up grease, grime and fumes. Consider wearing an air mask or respirator in addition to protective gloves and eyewear. Clean your kitchen hood on an empty stomach – the smell may be unpleasant!
With the hood power disabled and all detachable parts removed, you are ready to scrub down the interior of the ventilation unit. Start from top to bottom using the abrasive sponge and degreaser for stuck-on messes. Vacuum up debris with the mini vacuum as you go.
Step 2: Remove Grease and Dirt Buildup
With the hood power disabled and detachable parts removed, you can now focus on scrubbing down the interior of the unit. Use the degreaser or commercial vent hood cleaner and abrasive sponge to loosen the built-up grease and grime. Scrub in small sections, vacuuming up debris with the mini vacuum as you go.
For stuck-on messes in hard to reach areas like the back wall of the hood or fan enclosure, make a paste from baking soda and water and apply with a scrub brush. Let it sit before scrubbing off. For stubborn baked-on grease, use an oven cleaner according to directions and scrub off once loosened. Wear gloves and goggles and ventilate well, as oven cleaner fumes are harsh.
The fan blades and motor also need to be cleaned. Vacuum and wipe down blades. For grease-clogged motors, it is best to have a professional vent hood cleaning service inspect and clean to avoid damage. They have the proper training, tools and access to fully clean motors.
Use degreaser and a scrub brush on all screws, vents, knobs and catches in the interior of the unit. For mesh or baffle filters not suitable for soaking, spray them down with degreaser and scrub off as much caked on grease as possible. Rinse everything with water when done scrubbing and dry with rags to prevent grease drips as you reassemble the parts.
Finally, with the interior scrubbed down and debris removed, wipe the outside of the range hood to remove grease splatters and residue. Use a metal polish or stainless steel cleaner to shine and protect the surface. Re-install all parts and test to ensure proper reassembly before turning the power back on. Run the fan for 10-15 minutes to fully vent everything out.
With regular maintenance cleaning the range hood in this manner every few months, or more often for heavy cooks, you can keep your kitchen ventilation system working safely and efficiently for many years. For deeper cleans, though, it is best to schedule a professional vent hood cleaning service with specialized tools to access hard to reach areas.
Step 3: Clean the Filters and Ducts
With the interior of the range hood scrubbed down, it’s time to focus on the filters and ductwork. For most residential range hoods, there are two types of filters: metal or aluminum grease filters and charcoal filters. Grease filters trap grease and larger particles. Charcoal filters help reduce odors before air is vented outside.
Remove and inspect filters. Grease-clogged filters are a fire hazard and reduce ventilation, needing replacement. Saturated charcoal filters also need replacement to be effective as odor reducers. If filters seem dirty but operable, soak the metal grease filters in the degreaser solution. Scrub off built-up grease and grime before rinsing and drying completely.
For disposable charcoal odor filters, these will need to be replaced according to product directions. Be sure to note filter sizes to purchase the correct replacements. Installing new, fresh filters ensures proper and safe operation of your range hood.
In addition to filters, the ductwork also collects grease and debris over time. Use a vent or duct brush, available at most hardware stores, to loosen this buildup. Either brush down through the top of the duct or feed up from the bottom vent, capturing falling debris in a vacuum or bucket below. Duct cleanouts located in adjacent cabinets, attics or basements also allow access to duct interiors for cleaning.
Once all filters have been cleaned or replaced and ducts brushed out, reassemble your range hood by replacing the metal filters, charcoal filters (if applicable), fan blades, grease collectors and any other parts previously removed. Turn the power back on and run the fan to check that it is properly reassembled and all parts are moving and functioning correctly before considering it cleaned.
With filters cleaned or replaced and ductwork cleared, your range hood ventilation system should now be working as good as new. Keep up with regular maintenance – inspecting and cleaning filters monthly, cleaning the hood interior and exterior bimonthly and having ducts professionally inspected and cleaned annually. Quality maintenance is key to efficient and safe operation of your kitchen range hood.
Step 4: Polish and Shine the Hood
With the interior grease and grime removed, filters cleaned or replaced and ductwork clear, your range hood should now be functioning properly. For the exterior surfaces of most hoods, a polish or specialized stainless steel cleaner helps protect the finish and keeps surfaces shining like new.
For stainless steel hoods, use a stainless steel polish or cleaner. Apply with a microfiber cloth, rubbing in small circles to buff out any scratch marks or water spots and leave a streak-free shine. For stubborn stuck-on messes, make a paste from baking soda and water and scrub lightly with a non-abrasive sponge or scrubber before polishing. Avoid using harsh chemicals, abrasive cleaners or paper towels which can damage the stainless steel finish.
For non-stainless hood finishes like enamel or powder coating, check manufacturer recommendations for suitable cleaners. In many cases, a commercial enamel or metal polish, or even a natural oil like coconut oil can help condition and shine painted, plated or powder coated hood exteriors. Apply sparingly with a soft cloth and wipe away excess.
Once the exterior of your range hood has been polished and is shining like new, you have completed the necessary steps for a deep clean and tune-up. Re-install any remaining parts like filters or grease collectors and turn the power back on to ensure all is properly functioning. Run the fan for 10-15 minutes to completely vent any chemical smells from the cleaning products.
With your sparkling clean range hood in place and fully functioning once more, your kitchen ventilation system should now be working safely and efficiently. Keep up with regular care – running the fan after cooking, checking filters monthly, cleaning the interior and exterior bimonthly and having professional duct inspections annually. With proper maintenance, your kitchen hood can operate well for many years, keeping your kitchen fresh and preventing hazard. Your deep cleaning efforts will pay off with a hood that both looks and works like new!
Maintenance Tips for a Clean Kitchen Hood
To keep your kitchen hood clean and functioning properly after a deep clean, follow these maintenance tips:
Run the hood fan for 10-15 minutes after cooking to prevent grease buildup. The heat will help grease to evaporate and get pulled into the filtration system. Check and clean filters at least once a month or if performance seems reduced. Grease-clogged filters are a fire hazard and decrease efficiency.
Clean the exterior and interior surfaces of the hood bimonthly or more often for heavy cooks. Use a degreaser and scrub away any splatters or splashes before polishing exterior surfaces with a stainless steel cleaner or polish. For stuck-on messes, make a paste from baking soda and water and scrub.
Have ductwork professionally inspected and cleaned at least once a year. Over time, ducts can collect grease,grime and even small rodents or insect nests – all fire hazards. Only professional duct cleaning services have the proper training, tools and access to fully clean ductwork.
Call a professional vent hood cleaning and inspection service if any part of your hood system is inaccessible or shows signs of reduced performance. Excess noise, vibrating, visible dirt or grease buildup inside the motor housing are signs your hood may need servicing by a professional. Proper maintenance helps ensure safe, efficient and long-lasting operation of your kitchen range hood.
With regular care and servicing, a clean kitchen hood ventilation system significantly improves both kitchen safety and comfort. Keeping hoods, fans, filters, ductwork grease-free and clear of debris prevents fire hazard, improves indoor air quality and helps keep your kitchen fresh. Maintaining your range hood is effort that pays off with a high-functioning and long-lasting system.