How to clean your extractor fan filters
Guide

How to clean your extractor fan filters

Your extractor hood inhales cooking vapours and keeps your home and kitchen smelling fresh. Provided you clean the filters regularly that is. Here are 4 simple and fast ways to get the job done.

Hand on heart, when was the last time you cleaned the filter grilles on your extractor fan? I must confess that I never did when I was renting my place. This was mainly out of ignorance and partly out of laziness.

If you’re a home owner, it’s a different story. Whether you like it or not, you’re suddenly dealing with things you previously didn’t give much or any thought. When your kitchen and living room are steeped in the smell of curry, it’s probably a time to inspect your extractor fan. You’ll probably find the filters clogged up with dirt and grease and unable to do their job.

If yours is a classic extractor fan with removable filters, it’s a good idea to clean them from time to time to make sure the fan continues to work properly. Sounds tedious, but actually isn’t. With these tricks, you’ll be done as quick as a flash.

1. Develop a routine

If you clean your extractor once, that’s already a step in the right direction. But if you neglect it again after that, your kitchen’s going to smell again sooner or later. Routine is key.

It’s only since we set up a cleaning schedule in our home that we’ve been able to keep it up on a regular basis. We stuck the schedule on the inside of the spice cupboard above the extractor. That way, there’s no escaping the chore.

Cleaning schedule for adults: one cross every three months.
Cleaning schedule for adults: one cross every three months.
Source: Katja Fischer

In our house, you only get a «done» tick if you’ve also regenerated the activated charcoal filter. That’s the one under the filter grilles of our recirculating air extractor. We do this by popping it in the oven for two hours at 230 degrees. It’s best to consult the manual to find out if this works with your model or if you need to replace the filter from time to time.

2. Take a photo

Before you take the filters out of the extractor hood, it’s a good idea to take a photo of them. They’re usually very easy to remove. Our model involves pressing on a metal tab and pulling them out of the fixture. And yet, every time I finish cleaning them, I find myself standing in front of the stove trying to remember which way round they go back in.

This is how to put the filters back in.
This is how to put the filters back in.
Source: Katja Fischer

3. Soak in the bath

If you’ve failed to regularly clean the metal filters in your steam extractor, you’ll need to pre-wash them. Otherwise, the deposits will be very hard to remove. Spray the filters with a grease remover and leave to work for about an hour. Rinse them with hot water. If your sink’s too small for the job, clean them in the bathtub instead.

If your filter’s as grimy as this one, only a pre-wash will do.
If your filter’s as grimy as this one, only a pre-wash will do.
Source: Shutterstock

Some people swear by baking soda. What you do is place the filter in the sink or bathtub, sprinkle it with a packet of baking soda and pour boiling water over it. The filter should be completely covered. If it’s not, simply flip it from time to time. After a few minutes, the grease should dissolve on its own. Wipe off any residue with a cloth.

4. Put in the dishwasher and clean the dishwasher at the same time

The next step is the thorough clean. This involves putting the filter in an empty dishwasher. Steer clear of «all-in-one» tabs, as they can be too aggressive and may damage the filter material.

No need to scrub the filters by hand. The dishwasher will do that for you.
No need to scrub the filters by hand. The dishwasher will do that for you.
Source: Katja Fischer

I use a machine cleaning agent for this purpose. The advantage being that you’ve also ticked off the cleaning of the dishwasher, which should also be done every three months or so.

Finish Machine maintainer
Cleaning products
Quantity discount
8.75 CHF per piece for 3 units 35.– CHF/1l

Finish Machine maintainer

Somat Machine Cleaner
Cleaning products
Quantity discount
6.30 CHF per piece for 3 units 25.20 CHF/1l

Somat Machine Cleaner

Sun Machine care 3 x 40g
Cleaning products
Quantity discount
7.30 CHF per piece for 3 units

Sun Machine care 3 x 40g

Finish Machine maintainer
Quantity discount
8.75 CHF per piece for 3 units 35.– CHF/1l

Finish Machine maintainer

Somat Machine Cleaner
Quantity discount
6.30 CHF per piece for 3 units 25.20 CHF/1l

Somat Machine Cleaner

Sun Machine care 3 x 40g
Quantity discount
7.30 CHF per piece for 3 units

Sun Machine care 3 x 40g

Depending on the product, place the liquid detergent upside down in the dishwasher itself or in the cutlery basket. If you’re using powder like I do, tip one sachet per cycle into the dosing compartment. Run the machine’s self-cleaning programme or at a temperature of at least 60 degrees and you’re done.

Sometimes even washers need a wash.
Sometimes even washers need a wash.
Source: Katja Fischer

As soon as the clean filters are dry, you can put them back in their place of action. Which way round do they go again? Thank goodness I took that photo. Once correctly positioned, the clean filters are back in the extractor hood in no time at all, and can now go about their job for the next three months.

Header image: Katja Fischer

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Mom of Anna and Elsa, aperitif expert, group fitness fanatic, aspiring dancer and gossip lover. Often a multitasker and a person who wants it all, sometimes a chocolate chef and queen of the couch.


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