How to Clean Kitchen Grease Exhaust


The kitchen exhaust fan is used nearly every time a member of the household cooks to improve the quality of air by removing odors and smoke. Although it is used nearly every day, the exhaust is widely overlooked when cleaning the kitchen. Cleaning grease from the kitchen exhaust may not be the most pleasant of household tasks, but nonetheless, it is one of the most important. As grease builds up in the exhaust fan and duct work, the chance of fire increases. Keeping your kitchen exhaust system grease-free lessens the possibility of fire and improves performance of the exhaust.

Things You'll Need

  • Boiling water
  • Bucket or basin
  • Rubber gloves
  • Face mask
  • 1 gallon hot water
  • 1/2 cup ammonia
  • Kitchen scrub brush
  • Paper towels
  • Cloth
  • Sponge
  • Unplug the exhaust or shut off the circuit at the breaker box, which supplies power to your kitchen exhaust.

  • Remove the exhaust mesh filters and pour boiling water over them to loosen the grease. Do this in a bucket or basin to prevent grease from clogging the kitchen drain.

  • Open the windows in the kitchen. Wear rubber gloves and a face mask for protection against fumes.

  • Soak filters for one to two hours in a solution of 1 gallon hot water and 1/2 cup ammonia.

  • Scrub the fan housing and blades with a kitchen scrub brush and clean with the water/ammonia solution. Wipe loosened grease from housing and blades with paper towels. Wipe housing and blades clean with a cloth dampened with the water/ammonia solution.

  • Clean the duct work with water/ammonia and a sponge. Rinse grease from the sponge with hot water; repeat until all grease is removed from the duct work.

  • Wait several hours or overnight to be sure the duct work is completely dry before reassembling the exhaust system for use.

Tips & Warnings

  • If there is not adequate air circulation in your kitchen with the windows open, place a portable fan near your work area.

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  • Photo Credit violet kitchen image by Vasyl Dudenko from
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