Cleaning restaurant exhaust hoods on a regular schedule makes for a cleaner kitchen, hood air flow and reduces fire danger.
Hood cleaning need not be a daunting task, if performed with the right preparation. It can be incorporated into the regular maintenance schedule and performed during closing hours so as not to interfere with normal kitchen operation. A thorough cleaning every three months is recommended.
Prepare the kitchen area before cleaning the hood system. Turn off any pilot lights on the stove ovens and fryers. Any equipment with wheels and gas line quick disconnects should be disconnected and moved from the work area. All remaining equipment should be allowed to cool and then covered with plastic sheeting.
Deep fryers that can’t be moved should have a board or cover placed over the fry well and then covered with plastic. Remove hood filters and drip cups. Take these to the dishwashing area and clean, storing them away from the hood area until time to reinstall. Turn power to the exhaust system off at both the switch and the breaker box.
Scrape standing grease from hood troughs, pans and ducts. Be careful not to disturb the fire suppression system trigger mechanism or fusible links. The wires and links in these systems are heat sensitive and could be damaged or activated by chemicals or force.
Exercise care when cleaning near these mechanisms, and call the fire suppression system’s manufacturer with any questions or if problems arise. When all standing grease has been removed, spray the hood surfaces with an industrial degreaser, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Working from the highest accessible point in the hood, wipe clean the inner surface working your way down. Clean the outside surface last. Wear rubber gloves, eye protection and face mask when using the degreaser. Change cleaning rags often and use scouring pads on the tough spots. Allow the degreaser to soak on heavily-soiled areas if needed.
Remove plastic sheeting from equipment and clean any grease spills from stove tops and counters. Mop the floor clean in the hood area before returning equipment to its original position.
Replace the hood filters and drip cups. Polish the hood and surrounding equipment with a stainless steel polishing spray. Relight any pilot lights and turn the power back on to the hood system. Check the exhaust fan and hood airflow for proper function.