How Often Do Commercial Kitchen Hoods Need to be Cleaned?

According to some scientific studies, the kitchen and not the toilet is the place with the highest rate of contamination in the home, because it is where organic matter is handled under conditions of humidity and temperature that favour the appearance and spread of microorganisms that are harmful to health.

For this reason, even if you keep the kitchen clean, if you only deal with visible surfaces, you will really only achieve an apparent degree of hygiene and disinfection at an aesthetic level, but without any real effect, since those areas that you do not clean inside the extractor hood for example because you cannot reach or see them, will be ideal places where colonies of microorganisms can form and immediately spread to other areas.This is why it is so important to clean the cooker hood properly.

How Often Do Commercial Kitchen Hoods Need to be Cleaned?

Depending from the type by which the cooking establishment is located, the cleaning frequency recommended will depend on the size of the kitchen and the type of cooking establishment:

• 30 days: Charcoal or firewood stoves, grills, twenty-four hour restaurants and some burger establishments..
• 60 days: many burger restaurants and fast-food restaurants
• 90 days: half-restaurant, cafeteria for employees, hospital kitchen or hotel.
• 180 days: Places for pizza, hospitals for convalescents or small snack bars
• 1 year: Hoods over non-greasy-creating appliances, such as steam kettles, dishwashers, or soup tanks

Why is it Important to Clean Extraction Hoods in a kitchen?

There are a number of very important factors that need to be taken into account when cleaning the kitchen hood:

The function of an extractor hood in the kitchen, as we all know, is to suck in the fumes caused by cooking, stewing and frying, and with it the drops of fat and odours contained in the steam. When the filters of the cooker hoods are dirty, they become obstructed by grease, and this causes the dirt to form a barrier preventing the cooker hood from carrying out its functions, causing a useless waste of electrical current. Therefore, in order to ensure that this appliance is useful when it is started up, the extractor hood must be cleaned as often as required by its greater or lesser intensity of use.

Grease from a kitchen cooker hood is a highly combustible material and a potential hazard if it is caught by a flame while you are using a frying pan.

The inspections carried out by public administrations in catering and bar businesses are becoming more and more frequent, and they review the condition of all the equipment installed in an industrial kitchen, with the aim of ensuring that all the obligations laid down by legislation are scrupulously complied with, in order to guarantee both the conditions of conservation and preparation of food for users, and the health and safety regulations for the employees of each business.

In order for the inspection to be favourable, in addition to meeting all the elements required in each type of installation, it is necessary for all of them to be in perfect working and clean condition. Given the greater dimensions and complication of ducts in kitchens of restaurants and bars, the best option is to resort to a specialized cleaning company, when it comes to saving time and money in the maintenance of cleaning fume hoods and extraction ducts.

With the cleaning and maintenance of smoke extraction ducts and hoods in industrial kitchens, efficient operation of the equipment that extracts smoke and grease with greater power is achieved, avoiding the concentration and dispersion of odours, and eliminating problems of eye and respiratory tract irritation for kitchen employees.

Proper maintenance and cleaning of extraction systems in kitchens of restaurants, hotels and bars, reduces the potential fire hazards of this type of facility. There are a large number of proven cases in which it has been possible to prove that the origin of a fire in this type of establishment has been generated by the accumulation of grease in the kitchen smoke extraction systems, which of course did not comply with the regulations for industrial extractor hoods.

The fat that accumulates in industrial hoods and their ducts is a perfect breeding ground for harmful microorganisms that multiply rapidly, infecting other surfaces and contaminating the environment in which the food is processed, thus voiding the guarantee of safety and hygiene for consumers. In order to guarantee the quality and safety of food processed in industrial kitchens, it is necessary to carry out proper cleaning maintenance of cold rooms, extractor hoods, kitchens, work tables and all types of appliances and utensils.

How to clean the kitchen hood?

There are extractor hoods with many different formats: telescopic, decorative, hanging over islands, but all share a common function, which is to eliminate smoke while cooking, reducing the amount of fat present in the environment, and bad odors.

Domestic cooker hoods generally have a system for filtering out grease particles, and an extractor that sucks in the fumes.

These are the two areas in which the greatest accumulation of grease in the kitchen occurs, so it is necessary to clean the filters monthly, and at least once a year, we must clean the inside of the hood in depth.

To clean the filters every month, you can take them apart and wash them in the dishwasher, but if this option does not convince you, or the filters are especially dirty, we recommend that you put them in a bucket with ammonia and boiling water, and leave them to work. Other tips for cleaning are:

Apply one of the grease cleaners and let it work. When you see that the grease has softened, you can rub it with a strong loofah or a nail brush with a handle. Then immerse in boiling water to remove any remaining dirt.

Another formula for cleaning extractor filters is to place a couple of large pans of water on the glass-ceramic hob and bring them to the boil, adding baking soda very slowly so that it does not overflow, insert the filters and continue to maintain the temperature so that the solution softens the grease. If the whole filter does not fit in the pot, introduce half of it first, and after replacing the water with more bicarbonate, introduce the filter on the other side. Once the filters have been cleaned, allow them to air dry before using them again for cooking.

To clean the grease extractor and interior panels of the cooker hood, it is best to place one or two wide base pans with water, on the part of the cooker hood that is most in line with the extraction nozzle, add enough vinegar or the juice of several lemons, and heat to boiling point, and start the extractor hood at maximum power, keeping the hood on to achieve a constant temperature.

As the solution of water and citrus fruit decreases, more will have to be added, so that the cleaning process continues without burning the pans. When the dirt starts to slide due to the effect of vinegar or lemon steam, always with great care not to burn yourself, and protecting yourself with gloves, you have to remove the liquid fat with the help of absorbent paper from the kitchen.

You should also replace the water and citrus solution used to remove the grease when you see that it is dirty, so that you can finish cleaning the extractor fans and the panels of the hood/s. Before starting to remove the dirt from the inside, remember to turn off the cooker hood, and disconnect the extractor fan.

If the dirt is very stubborn, you may need to repeat this operation several times until you check that there is no more grease as the drops slide off from the inside. The frequency of these types of cleaning will depend on the greater or lesser use of the kitchen in each case.

It is advisable to clean the outside of the hood every time you finish cooking, just as you do with the glass-ceramic hob, but in this case you can use an anti-grease product in spray, spraying its entire surface, leaving it to work for a few moments, and then with the help of a cloth soaked in hot water, removing the dirt, rinsing the cloth as many times as necessary, and finally drying it with kitchen paper.

Important recommendations when cleaning the exhaust hood

Do not use granulated abrasive products or bleach, and of course never rub with scourers if your hood is made of stainless steel, because you will get it scratched and it will also lose its original shine.

Always use gloves and a mask to avoid breathing in ammonia vapour before starting to clean.

Take special care when pouring the water at high temperatures, to avoid splashes that can burn you.
If the filters are badly damaged, it is not enough to clean them; they must be replaced with new ones.

• Use brushes to clean the hood from the corners and less accessible parts.