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Chimneys are an essential feature of most modern kitchens; they do a fine job of evacuating all the smoke and vapours which would otherwise leave the kitchen grimy and smelly. Like all equipment, chimneys need regular cleaning as they inevitably get clogged. Here’s how to clean your kitchen chimney the easy way without having to shell too much on it.
Why Is It Necessary to Clean Kitchen Chimney in a Timely Manner?
The function of a kitchen chimney involves removing smoke, airborne grease, vapours, fumes and steam from the kitchen and venting it outside. It has several working components such as meshes, filters and baffles that trap airborne substances such as grease droplets, soot particles and steam. These eventually get deposited as thick layers of grime that block the flow of gasses through the chimney; therefore it’s necessary to clean them periodically to keep the chimney functional.
Microbial infestation is another problem that needs to be tackled. The deposited grime areas are hot spots for the growth of bacteria and fungus which are health hazards and can lead to foul odour in the long run.
How Often Should You Clean the Kitchen Chimney?
Depending on how much load your kitchen handles and the type of food you prepare, chimneys should be cleaned once in 2 months at the least. If you prepare a lot of oily and spicy food, it’s best to clean the meshes and filters once a month. If you have a charcoal filtered chimney, however, you will have to replace the filter once in 6 months.
How to Clean Your Kitchen Chimney at Home?
The cleaning materials and methods used are determined by which component of the chimney it is that you are cleaning. Also, not all cleaning activity requires you to take your chimney apart, and different types of stains need a different method to clean effectively. Here are five tips to clean kitchen chimney filter, mesh, baffles and hood:
White vinegar is a good cleaning agent for grime and stains that collect on the chimney exterior such as the hood and the panels. For a quick clan of the hood, dip a paper towel in the vinegar solution and wipe the surfaces clean. Make sure you wipe through every nook and corner with sufficient amounts of vinegar soaked into the towel. Let it sit for a few minutes and wipe again with a paper towel dunked in plain water to remove whatever is left.
2. Caustic Soda
Chemically caustic soda is called Sodium Hydroxide which is commonly used in industries as a cleaning agent when mixed with hot water. It’s an inexpensive but powerful industrial cleaner which can dissolve oils, grease, fats and other organic compounds from industrial equipment. It’s also commonly used in households as a cleaning agent. Caustic soda works very well for cleaning kitchen chimney grease. To start, remove the baffles, metal meshes and filters from your chimney and place them in a metal bucket or a heavy-duty plastic bucket. Sprinkle the sodium hydroxide powder thoroughly over all the components and let them sit for 5 minutes. Next, pour hot water over the filters until they are fully immersed in the bucket. Ensure you do this in a well-ventilated space as the process releases fumes that can cause lung and eye irritation.
Let the chimney components sit in hot water for about 3 hours. Wash them clean and let them dry in the open air. This method is very useful to clean large filter components of chimneys inexpensively and with little effort. Remember, however, that sodium hydroxide can cause chemical burns to hands when handled without gloves. Therefore, use adequate safety protection and wear rubber gloves, boots and eye protection during cleaning.
3. Baking Soda
Baking soda is another commonly found compound in the kitchen which has been used in cleaning for thousands of years. It’s often supplied with cleaning kits, or you may have a pack of it sitting in your refrigerator. Chemically, baking soda is called Sodium Bicarbonate, a salt basically. It has a gentle abrasive nature to it, so it’s good for scrubbing away tough stains using a paste of it made from water. There are many ways on how to use baking soda to clean the chimney.
If you are trying to get rid of some grease deposition on the chimney hood, make a thick paste of two tablespoons of baking soda with a small amount of water. Apply this paste over the surface and allow it to stay there for 5 minutes. Wipe it off with a moist cloth to remove the grease. You can also use white vinegar as an alternative to water to make a stronger cleaning paste. To clean filters and meshes, you will need a big tub to hold all the components in. Pour two cups of vinegar over it and sprinkle 2 to 3 tablespoons of baking soda and salt on them. Fill a tub with hot water and let the filters sit in the solution for 2 hours. Rinse them with clean water and wipe clean afterwards.
4. Dishwashing Liquid
If you’re looking for other solutions on how to clean kitchen chimney mesh filters, you need not look any further than your dish washing liquid. These cleaning agents are made specifically to remove oil and grease efficiently, and they work well with chimney filters. To clean meshes and filters, apply some dish washing liquid on the filters and scrub it all over gently, so all the surfaces are wet with the liquid. Fill a plastic bucket with hot water and immerse the filters in it. Allow it to stay for about 2 hours.
Take the filters out and scrub them with a soft scrubber until all the grease is gone. Wash with fresh water and dry them out in the open. To tackle thicker or tougher grease depositions, you can go at it with a stronger cleaning method. Use a steel drum instead of a plastic bucket and repeat the same process with dish washing liquid as mentioned above, only this time, set it on a burner and allow it to boil for 30 minutes. Boiling effectively removes the tough grease from hard to reach spots on the mesh or filters. It is also faster, and you won’t have to wait for hours for the grease to come off.
5. Paint Thinners
Paint thinners are powerful cleaning agents that contain organic solvents such as Acetone, Toluene, Turpentine and other mineral spirits. Since these solvents evaporate easily, you would end up inhaling quite a bit of vapour when you try to clean whole filters with it. Instead, use it for cleaning the most stubborn of grease that is lodged in hard to reach places such as crevices and folds; preferably when any of the above cleaning processes are unable to remove the grease completely.
Unlike the other cleaning methods that are elaborate, paint thinners work instantly to remove grease, paint, stains or any other material stuck to the mesh. Cleaning with thinners is best done outside where there’s enough airflow to disperse the vapours. Start by dabbing cotton or microfiber cloth with some thinner and scrub the grease with it. You may also pour a few drops of it into a crease and allow it to do its thing and scrape it off with a sharp tool such as a knife or blade.
It’s important to clean chimney filters and meshes periodically to keep them running at their best and last longer. Basic grime on the chimney hood can be cleaned with simple solutions such as vinegar and baking soda. For removing tougher grease use caustic soda or paint thinners.