How to clean your kitchen extractor fan filter

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AGA eR3 Series 90 in Salcombe Blue with complementary AGA Slab Cooker Hood

The metal grease filters in a range cooker hood work hard to rapidly clear your kitchen of steam, fumes and odours when cooking, especially when you’re frying, sautéing or using a wok.  

As the filters are out of sight on the underside of the kitchen hood, it’s all too easy to forget about them. But, while cleaning hood filters may not be everyone’s favourite task in the kitchen, not doing so could affect the performance of your extractor fan.

With a little effort, and this short guide on how to clean a cooker hood filter, you can easily prevent the build up of grease, fumes and unpleasant odours, ensuring your range hood is performing just as it should. 

Because grease is flammable, cleaning the filters can also prevent smoke, or even fire. 

How often should you clean cooker hood grease filters? AGA Pitch Cooker hood in Blush

If your cooker hood filters are working efficiently, they’re obviously going to get quite greasy. Although filters are designed to handle a high capacity of grease, we’d recommend they are removed and cleaned at least every two months. Or more regularly if the extractor is used extensively or you do a lot of frying.

If you have an AGA hood that comes with a remote control, such as our 890, 990 and 1090 pitch and slab hoods, grease filter cleaning is signalled by all six indicator lights flashing, usually after 30 hours accumulated running.

How to clean metal cooker hood filters

What you’ll need

  • Hot water
  • Washing up liquid
  • Non-abrasive brush
  • Or a dishwasher

Step-by-step guide

  • Carefully remove the filters from the hood. Most filters easily slide or pop out, but if you’re unsure, refer to the product user guide. Care should be taken not to scratch the hood.
  • Fill a sink with very hot or boiling water and add the washing up liquid.
  • Place the grease filters in the sink, making sure they are entirely covered by the water. Leave to soak for at least 10 minutes.
  • After soaking, gently scrub the filters with a brush that has soft bristles. For stubborn areas, add extra washing up liquid directly to the brush. 
  • Be gentle with your brushing action to avoid damaging the filters. To avoid damaging the filter surface, do not use coarse scouring tools or pads.
  • Repeat the above step on the other side of the filter.
  • When all the grease and grime has been removed, fully rinse the filters with clean hot water.
  • Allow the filters to dry naturally, or speed up the process by patting dry with paper towels or a soft cloth. Never apply heat to your filters to help them dry faster.
  • Only when they are completely dry, reinsert the filters in the extractor hood. All done. 

Dishwasher method

To make life easier, you could always clean your metal cooker hood filters in a dishwasher. 

Put the filters at the top of the dishwasher and run it at a minimum of 65 degrees to break down the grease. It’s important to make sure the filters are the only thing in the dishwasher. When the cycle has finished, completely dry the filters with a soft cloth or towel.

Preventing the build up of grease

Cleaning the filters in your kitchen hood is necessary to prevent grease and fumes reaching the extraction vents. However, there are preventative steps you can take between deep cleans to make the job easier.

With a paper towel or cloth, wipe down the grease filters each time you use the hob, ensuring the fan and hood are completely cool before you start to clean. Also, as frying is the most common cause of grease build up in cooker hood filters, you may want to invest in a splatter guard

Replacing extractor fan filters

The grease filters in your kitchen extractor hood will most probably last for years. However, they won’t last forever and may deteriorate over time, especially if they are regularly cleaned in a dishwasher. If they are showing any signs of deterioration or physical wear, they should be replaced immediately.

If your hood has standard charcoal filters (sometimes called carbon filters) they cannot be cleaned and should be replaced at least every four months, or more regularly if the hood is used extensively.

Cleaning other areas of the hood

While the mesh filters are soaking, you’ve a perfect opportunity to give the inside of the hood a good clean too. Use a sponge and a non-abrasive cleaning agent to clean the inner surfaces of the hood. Make sure to thoroughly dry the inside walls before replacing the filters. 

To clean the stainless steel surfaces of the extractor, use a soft cloth and a suitable cleaning agent, such as a cleaner specifically for stainless steel. Alternatively, use a washing up detergent and warm water. 

Painted surfaces should be cleaned using a soft cloth, detergent and warm water. Or use a cleaner designed for enamel surfaces. Do not use abrasive or bleach-based products on any of the hood’s surfaces.

Glass surfaces, usually found on built-in kitchen extractor fans, should be cleaned with a suitable glass cleaning agent.

There are lots of good reasons to clean the metal grease filters in your range hood. The longer you leave it, the bigger an effect it will have on the fan’s  performance. Plus, doing it every so often will ensure you don’t have the unpleasant tasks of tackling a major build up of grease.