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How to clean your cooker hood

By Jane Darling

Your cooker hood prevents grease from settling on kitchen surfaces and keeps the air smelling fresh. But what about when it needs to be cleaned itself? Here are our top tips. 

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Your cooker hood works hard to remove grease, cooking smells and steam from your kitchen. So it’s not surprising that it can get pretty dirty. Keep it working efficiently by following our expert advice.

If you're after a new cooker hood instead, head straight to our cooker hood reviews.

How to clean the grease filter on a cooker hood 

Aluminium mesh filters

Many cooker hoods have one or more aluminium plates that act as grease filters. These are spring-loaded and should be easy to remove. 

If there’s only a light build-up of grease, take out the filter and wash it in the sink using hot water and washing-up liquid. If the grime is more serious, you can put the metal filter in the dishwasher. Rinse it thoroughly with water immediately afterwards, then pat it dry.

Paper filters

The other type of grease filter is made of paper.  These are designed to be replaced regularly to deal with the build-up of grease. You can buy these from a supermarket and then cut to size.

You should replace a paper filter if it’s saturated with grease, and the pattern on the filter becomes discoloured with a reddish tint. Paper filters should last from three months up to about a year, depending on the amount and type of food cooked on the hob.

How to replace a carbon odour filter on a cooker hood 

If your cooker hood is set up in recirculation mode, rather than venting outside, then you will need a carbon odour filter. 

It’s not possible to clean these, but you can replace it if you feel it’s no longer effectively removing odours. Contact the manufacturer for a replacement, or look for compatible spares online.

Manufacturers generally recommend changing carbon odour filters every three months, but you may find that annually is sufficient.

How to clean the stainless steel exterior of a cooker hood 

Many cooker hoods have a stainless-steel exterior. This can get sticky with a build-up of grease, and fingerprints will show up around the controls.

If there is a lot of grime, you’ll need a bit of elbow grease to shift it, but don't be too aggressive as scuffs from scouring sponges can damage the surface. 

Use a mild bicarbonate-of-soda paste, and work out the direction of the 'grain' on a small area before you tackle the whole thing. Scrub with a linear cleaning motion, rather than a circular one, in the direction of the grain of the metal.

Once the exterior is clean, apply a little baby oil sparingly with a lint-free cloth.  This gives a smooth finish and helps to prevent fingerprints.

How to clean the light-bulb casing of a cooker hood 

Most cooker hoods have lights to  illuminate the cooking area. These are likely to get dirty because of their location right above the cooking surface.

Remove the cover (usually plastic or glass) and leave it to soak for a while in hot, soapy water. 

If the grime is sticking stubbornly, use a hob scraper (a small tool with a retractable blade, which you can buy for less than £5) to carefully remove the greasy build-up on the light-bulb cover.

Do you need a Which? Trusted Trader?

If your cooker hood is in a really sorry state, you may prefer to call in the skills of a professional to tackle the grime. 

That's where Which? can help. Use the search tool at our Which? Trusted Traders site to find endorsed cleaning specialists in your local area. We've carefully vetted every trader listed on the site to make sure they are who they say they are and have the right qualifications and insurances in place. You can read reviews of verified past customers, too, for even more peace of mind.

If it's time for a new cooker hood completely, head to our advice on how to buy the best cooker hood

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