Indian cooking inevitably means a lot of spices and oil. So when kitchen chimneys were introduced in the market, they became an instant hit. But along came a new problem- how to clean the kitchen chimney engulfed in oil, grime and dirt!
Many cleaning experts recommend the DIY route using vinegar, baking soda and other cleaning supplies that are commonly available at home. They are inexpensive- but time-consuming. On the other hand, many brands have introduced strong degreasers and cleaning sprays that work effortlessly.
In a bid to find out the best way to clean kitchen chimney filters- specifically baffle filters, we tried some of the highly recommended DIY methods. And here is what we found-
How To Clean Kitchen Chimney Filter The DIY Route?
Clean the chimney filter during the daytime and fix it back before dusk because the exhaust pipe is an excellent route for mosquitoes to enter the house.
First, we are going to discuss the anatomy of a baffle filter. As you can see from the image below, oil gets collected in the grooves which are inaccessible using a cloth or any tools. So effective methods for stain removal calls for immersing the baffle filter completely in cleaning solution so that the stains get dislodged.
Method 1: Using Vinegar
“Cleaning experts” recommend vinegar for almost everything. Does it work for chimney filters?
We tried to clean the filter by soaking a cloth in vinegar and rubbing it all over the filter. But it had little results. As mentioned, baffle filters have these gaps in which grease gets accumulated. Over a period of time, it becomes a thick gooey mess. You can’t access it with a rag. So, we poured vinegar into the grooves and let it rest for 30 minutes. You need to place a cloth below the filter as the vinegar could spill out.
Results: Vinegar, being slightly acidic can cut through the grease effectively. It was able to remove slight oil stains. But wasn’t quite effective at removing stubborn stains along the edges. We had to use a toothpick to scrub it. But even then, oil residue in the grooves wasn’t effectively removed.
This method may be helpful if your filter doesn’t have any stubborn oil stains or if you clean it every 2-3 weeks. But, if you are someone who cleans the filter once every 2-3 months, this may not be quite effective.
Immersing the filter in concentrated or diluted vinegar isn’t a feasible option as you would need at least 1-3 litres of vinegar.
You may also like our article on: How To Clean Hard Water Stains on Tap
Method 2: Using Baking Soda
Baking soda is yet another magical ingredient that is supposed to clean almost everything under the sun.
The instructions we read on a website called for making a paste of 2 tablespoons baking soda with water and applying it over the chimney filter. Let it sit for a few minutes and then wipe it off with a moist cloth or if you want it to be spectacular, pour some vinegar. Then, rinse thoroughly in water.
Results: We left the baking soda paste on the filter for 3 hours. And then, scrubbed it using a Scotchbrite.
Even then, the grease wasn’t completely removed, especially around the edges. And as expected, the grease collected in the grooves remained untouched. This too is not an effective method.
Related reading: What Is Filterless Chimney?
Method 3: Using Dishwashing Liquid
This method is a bit more time-consuming than the rest. But, we thought that it has the best chance of working compared to them. It calls for applying dishwashing liquid like Vim or Prill on the filter and immersing it in water for 2 hours. We poured boiling water to give this method the best chance of working.
Results: We honestly had high expectations from this method. After all, both dish soap and hot water should cut through the grease. As the filter is immersed in water, even grease collected inside the grooves had a fair chance of getting cleaned effectively.
But the results were disappointing. The grease on the chimney is pretty stubborn as they get dried up over time. So, soap and even boiling water doesn’t prove to be effective enough to clean a dirty filter.
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Method 4: Using Caustic Soda or Drainex
Caustic soda needs to be handled with care. It can cause skin irritations. You shouldn’t breathe its fumes either. So, use rubber gloves while handling it.
If you don’t have caustic soda, you could use Drainex- drain unclogging powder too. It contains caustic soda and other ingredients that are effective degreasers.
To clean the kitchen chimney filter using caustic soda, place the filter in a basin. Spread around 2 Tablespoons of caustic soda on the filter. Then, place it in a basin and fill it with hot water so that the filters are completely immersed. After 30 minutes, take out the filter and wash it in running water.
Do not pour boiling water into the basin. Warm water is enough. Boiling water and caustic soda together could cause pitted surfaces on the stainless steel. Also, NEVER USE THIS METHOD FOR ALUMINIUM.
Results: This proved to be the most effective among the methods we tested.
The grease collected inside the grooves as well as the surfaces were all cleaned up very effectively. In all other methods, we had to scrub aggressively and also use toothpicks to clean up oil stains along the edges. But with caustic soda solution, the stubborn stains were all removed effortlessly.
Related reading: How To Clean Kitchen Tiles?
Method 5: Using Dishwasher Detergent
One of our readers suggested using dishwasher detergent to clean the kitchen chimney filter. So, we thought of trying it out. After all, dishwasher detergents are formulated to have ingredients that dissolve heavy oil stains.
We kept the chimney filter in a basin, sprinkled a tablespoon of Finnish dishwasher detergent and poured warm water to completely immerse it. After 30 minutes, we took it out. The leftover water had a lot of oil and grime in it, indicating its effectiveness. But, you still had to scrub a bit. So, we used a toothbrush and scrubbed it all over the filter including the grooves.
Results: With the former option, we did not have to scrub at all as Drainex effectively dissolved all the grease. Dishwasher detergent was pretty effective at dissolving grime in the grooves. But it did require some scrubbing using a toothbrush. We had to meticulously scrub for about 10-15 minutes and the results were quite good. If you are someone who cleans the filter at least every 1-3 months, this could be an ideal option as too much grime wouldn’t have accumulated in this time frame.
Method 6: Using Degreaser Spray
Degreaser sprays are made for cleaning stubborn grime and grease off ovens, chimneys and other surfaces. So, we used Cleancide oven cleaner degreaser spray to clean the chimney filter.
We sprayed the degreaser liberally on both sides of the filter and left it in the sink for about 15-20 minutes. A lot of grease melted away while spraying. We scrubbed it lightly with a toothbrush and then washed it thoroughly.
Results: As the filter was not immersed in cleaning solution, like the two former options, some grime remained inside the grooves. So, we had to spray again inside the grooves and wash them again. The results were satisfactory. However, it required us to be meticulous to reach every groove and clean them carefully.
Analysing the different methods, we understand that you need to immerse the kitchen filter in a basin for best results. Spraying or applying cleaners on the surface doesn’t help get rid of the grime accumulated under the grooves.
Without a doubt, caustic soda/ drainex proved to be the most effective solution for cleaning chimney filters. It was the most effortless method as we did not have to scrub vigorously to remove any stains. Overall, it is definitely a method that we highly recommend and the go-to option if you have neglected cleaning the filter for too long.
How To Clean Chimney Hood?
You would have noticed that it isn’t just the filter that is smeared in oil. The hood including the panel, light, the exterior surface and the area surrounding the chimney is likely to have oil stains and grime.
As you can see from our tests, baking soda, vinegar and dishwashing soap don’t really clean up old, stubborn oil stains. Applying caustic soda/Drainex solution on other surfaces could damage it. So, we need a degreaser spray.
We used Clecide oven cleaner. You need to spray it on the hood and nearby areas with oil stains. Let it rest for about 15 minutes. Then, wipe it off with a cloth. It works pretty well on stubborn grease and grime. We first tested on an inconspicuous area to ensure that it doesn’t damage the surface.
Take care to wear gloves and a mask before using the degreaser spray. Also, cover the stove and countertop with an old newspaper so that the oil and degreaser spray doesn’t drip and spoil your stovetop.
When To Get Professional Help?
In addition to filter and external surfaces, a kitchen chimney has parts like blower, motor, ducts etc, which needs to be cleaned. It is better to seek professional help to clean these parts. If you fry food almost on a daily basis, get your chimney cleaned professionally at least once a year. Or else, probably 12-18 months would be a good time frame.
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#1. How often should kitchen chimney be professionally cleaned?
If you fry food almost on a daily basis, get your chimney cleaned professionally at least once a year. Or else, probably 12-18 months would be a good time frame.
#2. True or False: Kitchen chimneys come with ducts and ductless
Kitchen chimneys come with and without ducts. Ductless chimneys have powerful exhaust fans to filter dirty air and smoke before blowing it back into the room
#3. Which of the following is NOT a type of chimney filter?
Chimney filters are mainly of three types- Baffle Filters, Mesh Filters and Charcoal Filters
#4. Which of the following is the best cleaning product for chimney filters?
Immersing in caustic soda or Drainex solution is the best way to clean chimney filters. Note that charcoal filters should not be cleaned.
2 thoughts on “How To Clean Kitchen Chimney”
The best method I use is is soaking the plates in hot water mixed with dishwasher detergent. For about half hour. Then rinse and scrub with steel wool or metal brush
Thanks Sandhya for the wonderful tip. We will definitely try it out in our next round when we update the article 🙂