It probably doesn’t top your wish list of things to do, but cleaning your cooker hood filter is important. Dirty filters don’t trap grease effectively and so diminish the performance of your hood. A greasy filter will also attract pests to your kitchen and it won’t exactly improve the aesthetics or odour of your home either.
PAPER AND CARBON FILTERS
If your cooker hood has a paper filter, this can simply be removed and replaced with a new one. You will probably need to cut the replacement filter to size. Carbon filters should also be replaced but chimney-style cooker hoods will have a metal mesh filter which is not disposable and so should be cleaned regularly.
Extractor hood filters are the fine mesh grates that you can see on the underside of the hood. They work to keep all of the grease that cooking smoke contains out of the extraction vents to avoid them being clogged and to prevent more costly cleaning tasks from becoming necessary.
Always switch off your appliance before removing the filter.
Cleaning your filter regularly will mean that you are never faced with a major project. But if it is some time since you have cleaned your filter, it might require a serious soak and a good scrub to remove the build-up of grease.
PROPRIETARY CLEANING PRODUCTS
The easiest way to strip grease from your filter is to dip it in an ammonia-based proprietary cleaning solution. But these products are far from environmentally friendly and can be costly. It’s easy to create your own cleaning solution with ingredients that you could already have in your cupboard. Sometimes the traditional ways turn out to be the best choices. You might need to employ a little elbow grease in addition to soaking your filter. The results will ensure that it is well worth making the effort to clean your filter thoroughly.
HOMEMADE CLEANING SOLUTIONS
The first recipe we can recommend is soapy water with the addition of vinegar. Choose a receptacle large enough to hold your filter and fill it with hot water. Add washing up liquid or dishwasher liquid and then a cup of vinegar. Give the water a stir and then soak your filter. It is best to leave the filter in the solution overnight, so begin your cleaning project after you have cooked dinner. The vinegar helps to cut through the grease, making it easier to scrub away any residue that remains using a small brush.
If washing up liquid doesn’t do the trick, try creating a similar solution using washing powder. Stubborn deposits which have built up over a long period of time can still be hard to remove. If you encounter this problem, cover the filter in a paste made from bicarbonate of soda and water. Leave it overnight to work its magic and then give the filter a scrub with a small brush such as a toothbrush. Choose a brush which isn’t too hard or abrasive to avoid scratching the metal.
Before using any cleaning solution on your filter, test a small and inconspicuous area first to ensure that your treatment won’t discolour the metal. Minor discolouration isn’t a serious problem and probably won’t be noticeable once your cooker hood is reassembled. If your chosen cleaning solution causes more serious discolouration, try an alternative.
DIRTY COOKER HOOD FILTERS CAN BE DANGEROUS
A dirty filter could damage the hood and increase your electricity bill, it’s also a health and fire hazard. The dirty environment will enable bacteria to thrive while oil and grease deposits are highly flammable. There have been cases of flames from the hob igniting residues on filters.
There are many good reasons to clean your metal filter and cleaning it every so often will ensure that you are never faced with a major or seriously unpleasant task.