Your kitchen hood can be easily overlooked when cleaning. However, this is an area you definitely should be cleaning to keep your home safe from germs, bacteria, and fire hazards. The hood itself can be easily cleaned if you make a regular habit of it, although it may require some harsher chemicals than your regular surface cleaner at first. Then, depending on what type you have, you can easily clean or replace the hood’s filter on a less frequent basis.
How often should you clean your kitchen range hood
If you cook daily, the inside and outside of the hood and the filter should be cleaned monthly. If you aren’t a frequent chef, seasonal cleaning will be sufficient. Always plan to clean the filter after preparing a holiday feast even if you don’t clean the rest of the hood.
As the fan and suction draw the grease and food particulates up into the ductwork, they naturally cling to the surfaces. Cleaning is essential to not only make the hood look and smell better but to also prevent a house fire. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), cooking is the leading cause of injuries in residential fires and the fourth leading cause after carelessness, smoking, and electrical problems of all residential fires. The statistics are even more dramatic for commercial kitchens. When a pot or pan is left on the stovetop for too long, flames can appear and may leap up into a greasy range hood causing extensive structural damage.
A good way to test the vent on your device is to cut a small square of newspaper and hold it over the vent. If the newspaper is sucked up and held in place, your vent hood should be fine.
Every specific model of range hood is unique. If you are having difficulty diagnosing issues on your own, try looking up the model number of your unit. This way you’ll find information about common problems that will occur with your particular model.
Ways to clean your kitchen hood
Clean the air filter – the air filter is the part of your vent hood that removes particulates and smoke from the air before pushing it outside of your house or recirculating it. There are two kinds of filters: a metal filter and a charcoal filter. Both of these kinds of filters can be easily removed for cleaning or replacement.
If you have a metal filter, simply remove it, and then put it in a small bin or appropriate container filled with enough degreasing solution to cover the filter completely. Once all the grease has been dissolved, give it a thorough wash in warm, soapy water. For good measure, put it in the top rack of a dishwasher. Before re-attaching it, make sure it is completely dry.
If you have a charcoal filter, the removal process will be much the same. The only difference is that you can’t clean one of these filters. It is a good idea to replace a charcoal filter annually, or whenever it begins to lose effectiveness.
Clean the range hood itself – this process is rather simple. Make sure you have the unit turned off and your stove top is not hot or turned on. A household cleaning spray or degreaser will be perfect for regular clean-ups. Just remember to use a non-abrasive variety. Do not spray the cleaner on to the light bulb or any other electrical components.
Clean the vent – you should check the vent leading from your hood to outside on a regular basis. Grease can sometimes build up in this vent, impairing functionality and potentially causing a fire hazard. If the grease is building up in this part of your vent, it is important to contact a cleaning professional as soon as possible to clean it properly.
Clean the fan or replace the motor – the fan motor is generally durable enough that it will not need maintenance, but you should still examine every part of your vent hood when you do check-ups. Sometimes the motor or even the bearings themselves can be exposed to excessive humidity and grease, and will not function properly. A definite sign of this is if the motor is acting up as described in the first tip above. More often than not, it is the blower wheel that has collected dirt and grease. You can remove this part and clean it with a degreaser. If this does not solve your problem, you will most likely need to get the motor replaced.
Stopping issues before they happen is always the best idea. To prolong the health of your range hood, you should:
Clean your fan blades on occasion to prevent buildup of dirt and grease. This will help avoid excess stress on your motor and keep it from overheating.
Wash the exposed metal often. Warm suds will usually suffice. If surfaces get really greasy, a solution of ammonia and water will do the trick. Just make sure to rinse thoroughly after using this method.
Regularly check the vent to keep air flow unrestricted. If you allow grease to build up, it can pose a fire hazard.
Clean the filter frequently as it is the part that will collect grease the fastest.
Following these tips will help your kitchen hood last a long time and effectively perform the job of keeping your kitchen smoke free and clean.