How to Clean Extractor Fan Filters – The Best Guide

An extractor hood, otherwise called as extractor fan, is used to disperse smoke, fumes, vapours grease, dirt and odours from the air, which are produced during cooking, and ventilate the kitchen area. It consists of three basic components. The skirt collects the fumes, the filters remove the grease particles and odour,  and a fan provides forced ventilation. Over a period of time of its operation, the filters will become contaminated with grease particles and will become less effective. Hence the filters are required to be cleaned periodically for effective functioning. Periodic cleaning and removal of grease makes the cleaning effortless and helps to reduce noise during operation and also the risk overheating of the fan. Filters are of different types such as paper filters, metal filters, sponge filters and carbon filters. Cleaning method and maintenance also differ.

Requirements for Cleaning:

  • Hot boiling water
  • A sink for filling hot water
  • Baking soda
  • Degreasing dish soap
  • Non-abrasive brush for scrubbing
  • Paper towel or clean cloth

Steps for Cleaning Extractor Fan filters:

  • The first and the most important step is to switch off the extractor hood.
  • Next step is to remove the filters. Most filters can be easily removed by sliding out through the bottom side of the hood.
  • Fill a sink with boiled water. It will be more effective if the water is hotter.
  • Prepare a cleaning mixture by adding de-greasing soap and baking soda into the hot water.
  • Immerse you metal filters into the hot cleaning fluid and allow them to soak for about ten minutes.
  • After soaking, scrub the filters with a non-abrasive brush. If necessary use additional dish soap to the brush while scrubbing.
  • Finally, rinse the filters with hot water and wipe with a paper napkin or dry clean cloth.
  • Replace the clean filters back into the hood.

The maintenance and cleaning method differ for different types of filters. You can identify the type of filters by referring the user manual provided by the manufacturer.

  • Paper filters: Paper filters are disposable types and should be replaced every month, once you notice the discolouration in these filters.
  • Carbon filters: These are also disposable types and are not washable. Depending on your activities in your kitchen, you may have to replace these filters once in every six months.
  • Metal filters: These filters can be cleaned by using hot water cleaning solution as discussed above. Cleaning with hot water may produce slight discolouration to the filters but will not affect the efficiency.
  • Sponge Filters: Sponge filters can also be cleaned using hot soapy water by the same method used for metal filters. However, these filters need to be replaced after five to six washing process.


Your kitchen will remain cleaner and completely germ free only by removing unwanted smoke, dirt, grease and other impurities and recirculating with fresh air. Cooking is a regular and inevitable activity which always demands a clean and healthy atmosphere. Filters are the heart and soul of the extractor fan and you should always give priority on extractor fan filter cleaning and ensure a healthy and clean cooking culture.