How To Clean A Kitchen Exhaust Fan

How To Clean A Kitchen Exhaust Fan

The exhaust fan in your kitchen works tirelessly, to remove the warm air and odour out of your kitchen. It’s a necessary appliance both in your home kitchens and professional restaurant kitchens. You could use either a chimney exhaust fan which is capable of doing this, or it could be a simple wall-mounted kitchen exhaust fan. In either of the cases, it’s important to clean the kitchen exhaust fan at regular intervals, to keep it healthy and running well.

Today, we bring you 7 steps on how to clean the kitchen exhaust fan. A small DIY project, to give your kitchen exhaust fan the spa treatment it deserves.

Things required to clean a kitchen exhaust fan

Before we start the cleaning process, here are some things to prepare:

Cleaning Gear

  • Liquid Soap
  • Degreaser
  • Baking Soda
  • Vinegar
  • Lemon Juice

(Note: You can use any of the above)

Safety Gear

  • Gloves
  • Mask
  • Goggles

Tools & More

  • Screwdriver
  • Old Toothbrush / Sponge
  • Owner’s Manual
  • Sink / Bucket

  1. Disconnect: Disconnect the fan from the mains. This is an important step to clean your exhaust fan safely. If your fan connects with a plug, unplug it from the socket. If the fan is directly connected to the switchboard, turn off the kitchen power supply.
    If your fan has been running recently, let it cool down completely, before you proceed with the next step.
  2. Remove the fan filter / fan casing: Depending on the type and make of your exhaust fan, you would remove the outermost layer of the exhaust fan. For a chimney exhaust fan, this would be a fan filter that sits on top of the exhaust assembly. For a window or wall exhaust fan, this could be the fan casing that covers the fan impeller.
    You can use a screwdriver as a wedge to help you remove the filter / casing. In some fans, there are visible screws that need to be removed, to remove the casing.
  3. Remove any visible debris: You may find layers of visible dust or debris accumulated on the fan assembly. Use a microfiber cloth in a sweeping motion to remove the dust accumulated. Clean in and around the area where the fan is fitted.
    This step will be relevant especially if it has been a long time cleaning the fan, or if the fan or the house was not used for a long time.
  4. Clean the fan filter / fan casing: Immerse your fan filter or fan casing in a large sink, basin or bucket filled with warm water and a few drops of liquid soap or degreaser. If you see too much accumulated debris, it’s a good idea to rinse it with running water, to remove the bigger chunks of debris before a complete immersion. Keep this immersed for 10 to 15 mins.
    Then use an old toothbrush or sponge to clean the filter or the casing. Rinse under running water to wash off all the dirt and then leave it to air dry.
  5. Clean the fan blades: It’s time for cleaning the exhaust fan blades now. Check if you can remove the fan impeller. Most fans have a locking screw mechanism, which needs to be unscrewed. This is an optional step, and if you do not find a lot of debris inside the fan, you can skip the fan removal.
    Whether the fan is removed or not, the fan blades can be cleaned with a wet cloth dipped in the cleaning solution. Do not spray cleaning solution directly on the fan blades. It can result in the fan assembly picking up the moisture and possibly malfunctioning.
    Check if the fan is freely moving, and if there is any wobbling or obstruction in its motion. You can add some grease or lubricating oil near the shaft of the fan, based on your manufacturer’s recommendations to make it turn freely.
  6. Assemble the fan: Assemble the fan back, starting with the fan impeller and blades, if these were removed, and later the fan filter / fan casing. Make sure all the removed parts are dried before you assemble the fan, to prevent any residual moisture on the fan parts.
  7. Connect and Check: Connect to the mains. Plug in / turn on the mains, and check if it runs fine. Cleaning the exhaust fan makes the fan visibly operate better, at a higher speed and with less noise.

Closing Thoughts

The steps to clean the kitchen exhaust fan are straightforward and easy to follow. Cleaning the exhaust fan on a regular basis should prevent it from malfunctioning or breaking down. This can be done every 6 months to dervie the best efficiency out of your kitchen exhaust fan. Use good quality cleaning agents and always wear proper safety gear before you operate or clean the exhaust fan. It’s important to read your manufacturer’s instruction manual, to check what are the best practices to be followed for that particular model of exhaust fan.
Clean the kitchen exhaust fan regularly, and watch it go round happily.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) :

Q1. Can I clean the kitchen exhaust fan on my own?
Yes, just follow the steps in the article. It can be easily done at home. If there is a need to inspect the fan for its performance, you may consider calling a skilled technician.

Q2. When do I need to call a technician?
If the fan speed is very slow or if the fan makes a lot of noise, it’s possible that the fan needs a deeper inspection. If the parts inside the fan are damaged, these may need to be repaired.

Q3. How often should I clean my kitchen exhaust fan?
As a best practice, you can clean your exhaust fan every 6 months. If the fan is used in a professional kitchen, and runs more frequently, this can be increased to 3 months. If you do not use the fan every often, then you can also push this to a year.

Q4. Can I also clean the bathroom exhaust fan with the same steps?
Yes, the bathroom exhaust fan cleaning also follows similar steps. You will typically find less grime on a bathroom exhaust fan. Please remember that the bathroom exhaust fans have a lot of moisture to deal with, so avoid any further impact by using detergent sparingly. It’s important to keep the parts dry before turning it on again. Also, greasing and oiling of the fan parts will go a long way to keep the fan well running.