How to Clean an Extractor Fan: Easy Cleaning Tips

how to clean an extractor fan

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Knowing how to clean an extractor fan properly is crucial to keeping your home or rental property in great condition. An extractor fan is an essential tool in a lot of households. These tools are responsible for removing steam from bathrooms to reduce the risk of mould and mildew. In the kitchen environment, an extractor fan and cooker hood can help to reduce the smells of burned cooking, get rid of excess fumes and more.

Unfortunately, an extractor fan can eventually become clogged with grease, grime, and other substances in any environment. The more clogged an extractor fan becomes, the bigger your risk of unwanted fumes, unpleasant smells, and even fires.

The accumulation of grease and filth on your extractor fan may be unavoidable over time, but there are several easy actions you can take to keep it looking fantastic. You can stop thick layers of grime from building up on filters and extraction systems with a regular cleaning strategy.

Cleaning the Extractor Fan Filter

a kitchen extractor fan

The extractor fan in your cooker hood helps to keep your kitchen safe when you’re cooking, and they use a filter or set of filters to protect the internal fans from damage.

As you cook, grease and water will float up from your food and pans to condense on the filter above the cooker. The filters are the mesh grates that you’ll see on the underside of your hood. They might even start to exhibit oil droplets that solidify when you’re not cooking, or they might start to look a little yellow in time. These grease filters are important in protecting your hoods from extra damage. However, the filters are also often neglected when it comes to cleaning.

If you haven’t given your filters a good cleaning for some time, then this could be the perfect opportunity to do so. Your filters and extractor fan elements need a soak and scrub from time to time to keep them in great condition and stop them from becoming blocked.

Why Clean Extractor Fans?

Ideally, you should be cleaning your extractor fans and grease filters on a regular basis. It’s easy to forget about the extractor fan in your bathroom in most cases, as they simply spin on the top of your bathroom ceiling and don’t usually suffer from things like grease. However, just like your kitchen extractor fans, these fans can also collect dust, dirty air, and other floating fibres from around the bathroom.

Whether it’s in your bathroom or kitchen, your extractor fan is there to help you keep the air clean and smelling good when you’re inside. However, these fans can’t work correctly if they’re coated with dirt. A dirty extractor fan is a fire hazard, not to mention an eyesore.

While there are services out there that can clean your fans for you as part of a full kitchen clean, you can easily clean your own system regularly with the right strategy. Committing to keeping the surface of your fan clean will mean you can:

  • Avoid attracting flies and other insects
  • Remove grease and stop blocked surfaces from being a fire hazard
  • Improve the efficiency of your fan for better performance
  • Reduce unpleasant smells.

How to Clean Your Extractor Fan: What to Do First

You don’t need to be a professional cleaner to thoroughly clean an extractor fan. All you need is a bowl or bucket of warm soapy water. You can use washing up liquid or dish soap with your water. If you have sticky substances on your fan or extractor mesh, you might also want to stock up on some baking soda or bicarbonate of soda to help with removing these stains.

A sponge, soft cloth, and a non-abrasive brush will help you to scrub at the fan above your hob or shower and get it completely clean again. Remember, before you start cleaning your extractor fan, it’s important to make sure that you turn off the power to the fan. The majority of modern fans will be quite safe after you remove the mesh grill. However, it’s good practice to turn the power off first.

Make sure that the fan is switched off at the outlet and that no other electricity can get to it. If you’re concerned or planning on getting deep into the fan to remove any dirt, you should definitely consider turning the electricity off completely.

The Process for Cleaning Your Extractor Fan

There’s no complicated method for cleaning the metal on your extractor fan or the plastic coating if you have one in your bathroom.

Step 1: Remove the Hood Filters

Start the process by removing the hood filters. Most will simply pop or slide out quite easily. Place them in a sink or bucket with some hot water and add your soap.

Step 2: Submerge the Filters in Boiling Water and Soap

Ensure that you fill the sink or bucket carefully, so you can still get your hand in to rinse off the extractor fan and wipe away the gunk without getting water everywhere. Add a little baking soda to the solution and mix it together with a brush. Submerge the filters in the boiling hot water as much as you can and leave them to soak.

Step 3: Scrub the Filters

The filters will need to soak for at least 10 minutes for a thorough extractor fan cleaning session. When you’re ready, you can scrub the surface of the fans to remove any sticky coating. When you’re washing your filters, make sure to use a non-abrasive brush or anything that could harm your filters.

Step 4: Rinse the Filters and Dry It Thoroughly

Once all of the hob grease and grime are removed, you can rinse the filters with hot water and wipe them dry with a clean cloth or some paper towels. It might take a while to scrub everything away, so be patient. If the water is too hot, you can add some cold water to cool it so that you can work effectively.

Step 5: Replace the Filters

Replace the filters when they’re completely dry and wipe them over again with a cloth if you notice they need to shine up a little. Make sure that you regularly wipe the filters with a cloth when you notice grime, dust, and other substances building up in the next few weeks; this will reduce the need for regular full cleaning sessions.

Quick Tips for a Clean Fan Cover

Having a cloth handy so you can wipe over your cooker hoods and filters after each cooking session can save you from cleaning your fan cover as frequently. You can even use paper towels to get rid of excess dust. Remember, you probably shouldn’t put your filters in the dishwasher unless the extractor fan instruction guide advises that this is safe.

If your extractor fan cooking cover has a carbon filter, you might have a harder time cleaning them at home. You may need to consider replacing the cover once every six months instead. While this kind of cover can be more expensive to replace, it should give you the power to cook with a clean extractor fan most of the time without worrying about grease.


  • Don’t wait for a build of grease before you clean extractor filters
  • Use hot soapy water when soaking the filter
  • Clean the hood and hood cover to remove a build-up of grease
  • Turn off the power before you clean the filter, hood and hood cover
  • When cleaning an extractor fan isn’t enough, you may need to replace the filters
  • Leave the hood covers to air dry fully before replacing them within the hood
  • Don’t switch to using a dishwasher to clean extractor fan filters without checking the instructions

Now you know everything you need to know about keeping your extractor fan clean from a build-up of grease.

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