If you work in the restaurant or catering industry, chances are you have an extractor fan system in the kitchen. Just like home kitchen extractor fans, these are designed to eliminate the build-up of grease, steam and heat in the kitchen. The filters work to protect against grease deposition, but smaller particles do pass through the ductwork system, building up over time and posing a fire and hygiene risk.

While your kitchen staff may clean the canopy on a regular basis, the larger canopies should be cleaned by experts. It is also important that the extractor ductwork system is always cleaned by professionals to meet safety standards.

How often commercial extractor fans should be cleaned depends on the number of hours a day that the kitchen is in operation. All extractor systems should be cleaned at least once a year, however, with continuous use, high grease that contaminates the extractor system may have to be cleaned on a monthly basis to avoid a fire risk.

Besides improving a kitchen’s level of hygiene, having your commercial extractor ductwork cleaned professionally will also help to prevent fire hazards, so make sure it is part of the regular cleaning schedule.

Image by Alwyn Ladell via Flickr


When to Clean a Commercial Kitchen Extractor Fan

It is recommended that a commercial kitchen extractor undergoes a thorough cleaning at least once a month. By cleaning more frequently, you can keep the dirt to a minimum and make the overall cleaning process much easier.

It is easy enough to tell when your extractor needs cleaning as it will not work as efficiently as it should and will often become noisier the more it becomes blocked with grease and dirt.


How to Clean a Kitchen Extractor System

Before cleaning the extractor system yourself in between professional cleans, make sure that it is switched off at the mains and then create a cleaning solution of warm water and mild detergent.

Next, dip a soft cloth into your solution and wipe it over the kitchen extractor fan. This will help to remove dust, grime, and dirt. If you find that the dirt is tough to remove, use an old toothbrush to give it a thorough scrub.

Typically, extractor fans have removable filters. You can wash the filter with soapy, hot water. There are some filters that are suitable for placing in the dishwasher. If your extractor system uses charcoal filters, you will need to change the filters about every four to six months.

Once the fan is clean, you can clean the extractor hood using a fresh detergent and water solution along with a soft cloth. Filters within the hood can vary in type, some of the most common types include:

  • Carbon filter – change every six months as they cannot be washed
  • Paper filter – replace once a month as they are disposable
  • Sponge filter – wash these in the sink with warm soapy water and replace every six washes
  • Metal filter – some are dishwasher safe and others can be washed with hot soapy water


By cleaning your restaurant’s extractor fan on a regular basis, you can prolong its life and keep your commercial kitchen hygienic, clean, and safe.