The most important task of the extractor hoods is to free the exhaust air produced during cooking, baking and frying from fat, moisture and bad odours. As a result, it is unavoidable that grease and dust accumulate in the extractor hood, which must be removed from time to time.
The extractor hood is the item in the kitchen that is most exposed to dirt and therefore needs to be cleaned most often. Environmentally conscious consumers only use products that are biodegradable and do not harm the environment. Cleaning agents should always only be used as much as necessary. This not only saves money but relieves nature.
Why do extractor hoods need to be cleaned?
There are several reasons for this. The most visible external is cleaning for aesthetic reasons. Many extractor hoods are designer models and are made of stainless steel or glass, for example. If such a hood looks spotty and greasy, it is an unsightly sight that does not create cosiness and can even spoil the pleasure of cooking and eating for sensitive people.
More importantly, regular cleaning must be carried out for hygienic reasons. Organic residues such as grease and dust, which settle in and on the extractor hood during operation, form an ideal breeding ground for germs and mould.
Such germs and spores can get from the hood into the prepared food and lead to severe gastrointestinal diseases.
If an extractor hood is not cleaned regularly, the germs can multiply explosively in it and be distributed throughout the kitchen when the fan is switched on. Instead of cleaning the air, a dirty extractor hood enriches the environment with dirt and germs.
Another reason for cleaning is the operation of the extractor hood. For cleaning, the exhaust air is sucked through a metal sieve or fleece and in the case of circulating air hoods additionally by an activated carbon filter. These filters have fine pores. During operation, more and more residues accumulate in the filters. As a result, the pores slowly but surely clog. The air can no longer flow through and the extractor hood can no longer work properly.
Many users also ignore the safety aspect, which requires regular cleaning of the extractor hood.
Fat is combustible, as many hobby chefs have had to learn painfully from their own experience. If the fat filter has been sucked in with grease and dust, it is almost like a ticking time bomb.
If, for example, an overheated fat or oil leads to a sting flame during frying, the fat filter may become inflamed. This can lead to a kitchen fire in no time, which necessitates a firefighting operation. Models with grease filters made of fleece are particularly vulnerable to this.
How often does an extractor hood need to be cleaned?
There are no fixed guidelines on this point. How often an extractor hood needs to be cleaned depends mainly on your cooking habits. If you are often on the road or eat in the company canteen during the week, you can wait longer with the next cleaning than if you cook daily. Especially a lot of dirt is produced if you fry, grill and fry frequently. In this case, the fat filter should be cleaned at least every 3 weeks.
It is best if you open the extractor hood every week as part of the house cleaning and assess the condition of the fat filters. It is cheaper if you clean the extractor hood more often. Wait too long, the workload increases enormously. Due to the heat, dirt and grease can be burned into the housing. Such impurities are difficult or impossible to remove.
How are extractor hoods cleaned?
Caution should be exercised here, especially for designer hoods made of stainless steel or glass. The materials scratch very quickly and must never be cleaned with aggressive chemicals or even a scrubbing powder. Use a microfiber cloth and at best stainless steel or glass cleaner. Cleaning the case can be integrated into the daily cleaning of the kitchen.
The fat filter
Most extractor hoods today have a reusable grease filter made of fine metal sieves. The grease filter can be cleaned in the dishwasher. To do this, select an intensive program.
If the grease filter is very dirty, you can soak it in hot water and detergent before washing and remove coarse impurities with a dish brush.
Soak the grease filter for about an hour before adding it to the dishwasher. Do not use aggressive substances for cleaning, otherwise, the metal sieve may start to rust.
The activated carbon filter
There is nothing to clean with this component of the extractor hood. Activated carbon can be regenerated, but this is a complicated chemical process that you can’t perform at home. When the activated carbon filter is used up, all that remains is to replace it with a new one. Most manufacturers recommend replacing the activated carbon filter approximately every 6 months. The actual lifespan of the activated carbon filter depends on your cooking habits. Do not attempt to open the activated carbon filter in order to replace the used coal with fresh granules. This is not only a dirty and annoying work that requires a lot of sensitivity, you also risk the loss of the manufacturer’s warranty through such manipulations.
There is a simple trick that allows you to tell if it’s time to replace the activated carbon filter. If the air emitted by the extractor hood is directed to fat, oil and food, this means that the pores of the activated carbon are largely clogged and the filter must be replaced.
If you have removed the grease filter and the activated carbon filter, you must also clean the interior of the extractor hood, because grease and dirt like to settle there. Use a soft microfiber cloth, warm water and detergent for cleaning, nothing else.
If the cleaning is carried out in time, all residues can be removed with this gentle and relatively light method without much effort.
However, if you wait too long, the grease splashes can become surely. If this is the case, you can use oven spray to help them. The spray must take some time before you can wipe it again.
Regular cleaning of the extractor hood and its components is not so difficult and quickly becomes routine. Your extractor hood will literally thank you with a shiny appearance and a long lifespan.