The grease filters are an important - but often neglected - part of every cooker hood. Often, we do not give the filters many thoughts, not when we purchase the cooker hood nor when using the cooker hood in the kitchen at home.
However, the cleaning of the cooker hood grease filters is important. If the filters are full, your extractor fan will make more noise. And a part from being sticky and causing bad odours, build-up cooking grease (and thus a grease filter blunt with grease) may also pose a fire hazard!
So we suggest making it a habit to clean the filters on a regular basis.
How-to clean your cooker hood grease filters
Some cooker hood manufacturers recommend cleaning the cooker hood filters by hand, but we prefer to put them in the dishwasher, which is an easier and more efficient solution – even if the colour of the grid may change slightly.
Ensure that your extractor fan is switched off (and that it is not hot) before you unclip the filters. Put them in the bottom rack of your dishwasher, in an upright position, and run an intensive program (at least 65 C) in order for the grease to be properly dissolved. Do not put other items in the dishwasher or as a minimum avoid washing the filters together with very dirty items (for example with leftovers that can get stuck in the filters).
A metal grease filter is rather expensive, but with the proper care it can last very long. Only the colour can change a bit over time, but this has no effect on the performance.
Please note that some (cheaper) hoods may have an old-fashioned disposable filter – a fabric type of grease filter - instead of a metal grease filter. When such a filter is saturated with grease, you need to replace it, which is both a little cumbersome, might be difficult to remember and with time a bit expensive.
If your extractor fan cannot be vented to the outside – which is our preferred option – your alternative is a cooker hood that is recycling the air back into the kitchen. A recirculation type of cooker hood is most often equipped with a relatively simple carbon filter, which must be replaced every 3 to 4 months. The frequency depends on how often you cook and your type of cooking.
Some manufacturers are proving more sophisticated air-cleaning systems. Common for them are that they need maintenance, eventually replacement, and that they have a certain cost; but in all fairness – at least when they are new and clean – they seem to work well.
Most hoods can be used both for extraction and recirculation, and some manufacturers choose to pre mount the carbon filter. This means that you should remember to remove it, if you choose to use the cooker hood with a vent to the outside. We have talked to several consumers complaining about a bad performing cooker hood, which on closer inspection simply was a question of forgotten carbon filters saturated with grease and thus blocking the air! This not only means poor cooker hood performance, but with time also wears out the motor.