Extractor Fan Cleaning – The Ultimate Guide

A kitchen extractor fan is designed to draw smoke, steam, unpleasant smells and grease away from the kitchen when cooking. Traditionally cooker hoods and extractor fans in kitchens are placed above the cooker to keep the kitchen, smoke and odour free when using the hob or stove. This blog will help you learn how to clean all different extractor fans, including how to clean a stainless steel cooker hood.

Cooker hood with someone pressing a button

Just like your oven, regular cleaning of your extractor fan is important to prevent clogging, which can be a fire hazard (more on this below). So, when it comes to cleaning your kitchen extractor fan, you may decide to roll up your sleeves and complete the clean yourself, or you might consider a professional cleaning service. If you decide to tackle the cooker hood clean yourself, here is our ultimate guide on how to clean an extractor fan in your kitchen. 

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What Do I Need to Clean My Extractor Fan? 

Due to their location, kitchen extractor fans become coated in sticky grease over time. However, you don’t need to use toxic chemicals to remove this grease. You can opt for household products and natural cleaning methods for your kitchen extractor fan.

To clean an extractor fan, you will need:

  • Bicarbonate of soda
  • Boiling or hot water
  • Household degreaser (dishwashing liquid)
  • Soft cloths (microfibre or similar)
  • Baby oil for stainless steel (optional)
  • Household glass cleaner or white vinegar

How to Clean Extractor Fan Filters?

The filters are an essential part of any kitchen extractor fan. Typically the cooker hood will have an aluminium mesh filter, however, some extractors have paper filters. Mesh filters can be removed and cleaned in hot soapy water, but paper filters must be replaced when they become saturated with grease.

Extractor fan cooker hood filters

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Ideally, you should clean aluminium mesh fan filters every 3 months to prevent a grease build-up and keep the cooker hood working efficiently. Paper filters can last between 3 months and a year, depending on the amount of food cooked on the stove.

All Ovenclean specialists carry stock of replacement lamps, universal seals and a range of extraction filters for most kitchen extractor fans. So if your filters are past their best, contact Ovenclean for a deep clean and replacement.

Find out more on how to clean extractor fan filters here.

How to Clean Extractor Hood Surface?

Just like kitchen cupboards, over time the outer surface of a kitchen extractor fan becomes coated in a greasy residue. The build-up of grime is caused by the location of the fan but can be easily removed at home or by a professional.

Before you begin cleaning the extractor fan in your kitchen, ensure the stove and extractor fan are turned off and cold.

How to Clean Stainless Steel Cooker Hood

  1. Create a natural solution of bicarbonate of soda and boiling water.
  2. Then use a soft sponge to gently scrub the hood with the cleaning solution.
  3. Rinse your sponge with warm water and repeat until the majority of the grease is removed.
  4. Then add a little dishwashing soap to a soft cloth to remove any remaining grease.
  5. Rinse the cloth and repeat as necessary.
  6. Finally, dry the cooker hood with a clean dry cloth.

Top Tip: Once the exterior of the hood is clean, apply a small amount of baby oil with a microfibre cloth. The oil will give a smooth shiny finish and help to prevent fingerprints.

Glass Cooker Hood Cleaning

  1. If possible, remove the glass from the cooker hood, check the manufacture manual to see if this is possible.
  2. Place the glass on a flat surface with an old towel underneath ready for cleaning.
  3. If the glass cannot be removed, cover the stove with a cloth to avoid stove stains.
  4. Similar to stainless steel cleaning method, create a solution of bicarbonate soda and hot water.
  5. Gently scrub the hood in a linear motion with a soft cloth until all the grease is removed.
  6. Create a shiny finish to the glass with a household glass cleaner or white vinegar.
  7. Replace the glass if necessary.

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How to Clean the Light-bulb Casing on an Extractor Fan?

Most kitchen extractors and cooker hoods have a light to brighten the cooking area. This light and its casing are likely to get very dirty, due to their location above the stove or hob. You can clean the bulb casing by removing the cover and leaving it to soak in warm soapy water for 30 minutes. Then remove the sticky grease by scrubbing with a soft sponge.

How Often Should I Clean My Extractor Fan?

To keep your extractor fan in good working order, we recommend cleaning it every 6 months or hiring a professional cleaner twice a year. Not only will a regular clean keep your extractor fan working efficiently, but it can also reduce the risk of fire and improve general kitchen hygiene.

Kitchen Extractor Fan Fire Safety

One of the most important reasons to regularly clean your kitchen extractor fan is to reduce the risk of a potential kitchen fire. It’s very common for fires to start in kitchens simply because the cooker hood fan is blocked with grease and grime. The fan then overheats due to a lack of airflow and sets on fire.

Extractor Fans and Kitchen Hygiene

Extractor fans are designed to suck away fumes, odours and grease in a kitchen, but a dirty uncared-for extractor fan can sometimes do the opposite, leaking the grime back out onto the stove below making your kitchen very unhygienic.

Professional Extractor Fan Cleaning

If your extractor fan needs a professional touch, then Ovenclean can restore your extractor fan to its former glory. All Ovenclean specialists have been fully trained to ensure all extractor fan and hood cleaning can be carried out as safely and efficiently as possible to get your kitchen back to its best in no time. Ovenclean specialists use a ‘no-added caustic’ cleaning system, meaning your kitchen is safe, hygienic and free from harmful fumes. Plus, you can use your extractor fan immediately after a professional clean.

No matter how much grease your cooker hood has built up over recent use, our cleaning experts are on hand to help out. You can contact your local Ovenclean expert for a no-obligation free quote to get the extractor fan in your kitchen cleaned. Either call 0800 840 7127 or click here to request a quote online today.

Does a Kitchen Extractor Fan Have to Vent Outside?

The short answer to this is not necessarily, the longer answer involves looking at the different types of extractor fans that can be used in a kitchen and which of them do need to vent outside and which don’t.

The first type of extractor fan that can be used in a kitchen is called a Vented Extractor Fan which are very common in UK kitchens. These fans extract odour, fumes and grease from your kitchen’s air and using a duct installed in the wall expel them.

The second type of extractor fan, a recirculating extractor fan, is slightly different in that it is made to be used when running ducting through a wall isn’t possible. A recirculating extractor fan extracts the odour, fumes and grease in your kitchen’s air in the same way as a vented system but the air is then filtered, purified and expelled back into the room.

The final and newest type of extractor fan is called a downdraft extractor fan and they are usually placed behind your cooker. They actively draw odour, fumes and grease from your kitchen’s air before using similar recirculating and expelling to the other fan types to purify and filter the air in your kitchen.

So as you can see from this summary, were you to choose a vented extractor fan for your kitchen you would need to have it vent outside, whereas if you were to choose either a recirculating or downdraft extractor fan you won’t need to vent it outside.

What Does an Extractor Fan Do in a Kitchen?

A kitchen extractor fan extracts odour, fumes and grease from the air in your kitchen primarily. If your extractor fan is also a recirculating or downdraft type fan it will filter, purify and expel the air back into your kitchen with the odours, fumes and grease removed.

Is a Kitchen Exhaust Fan Necessary?

A kitchen extractor or exhaust fan is typically installed above or near a cooker unit to extract odour, fumes and grease from the kitchen’s air. A kitchen exhaust fan isn’t necessary to be installed in your kitchen by law, however, many people do choose to install them.

Many people choose to install exhaust fans or extractor fans in their kitchen to improve the air quality and the fan does this in various ways. Kitchen exhaust fans have a fan built-in that is used to remove unwanted cooking odours, excess condensation, heat, and fumes, improving the air quality in your kitchen.

Which Type of Exhaust Fan is Best for a Kitchen?

Which type of exhaust fan or extractor fan is best for your kitchen will depend on the requirements and your kitchen space. If you’re looking to remove odour, grease, smoke, and moisture from the air in your kitchen than most fans will fit the role but whether you’re able to accommodate venting in your kitchen space will define whether a vented or one of the recirculating/downdraft type fans is best for you.

A vented extractor or exhaust fan extracts odour, fumes, and grease from your kitchen’s air and uses a duct installed in the wall to expel them. In contrast to this recirculating and downdraft-type fans still extract the odour, fumes, and grease in your kitchen’s air but the air is then filtered, purified, and expelled back into the room, avoiding the need for vents or ducts.

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