‘Keeping Your Kitchen Hood Spotless’

As a catering business with a commercial kitchen, it is vital to maintain and care for every piece of equipment in order to ensure that everything runs smoothly and safely. One of the most important pieces of equipment to maintain and keep clean is the kitchen hood, because if this is neglected it can cause serious problems … including putting customers in danger.

So what exactly are the risks of a dirty kitchen hood? Well, there are perhaps three principle areas that you need to consider:
1. Reduce the risk of fire. The vent hoods traps grease, smoke and grime; that’s their job. It’s why the hood is placed directly above the cooking surface. However, over time the hood builds up a sticky layer of grease and, if heated to a high enough temperature, this could ignite. Fires of this type are incredibly dangerous, so for this reason alone regular cleaning and maintenance is crucial.

2. Help to prevent equipment breakdown. A build-up of grease and particles can cause components to malfunction

3. Reduce particle emissions. The dirtier a hood becomes, the less efficient it is, and particles not trapped in the hood will escape into the air, potentially causing harm to kitchen staff and customers.

How do you ensure that the kitchen hood is clean? Many caterers call in the professionals, arranging a regular visit for cleaning and maintenance. However, for those who feel that they can do the job themselves, the following is a useful ‘ABC’ of the process.

  • The kitchen should be wrapped in plastic to protect appliances and equipment.
  • A plastic curtain should be placed around the hood, creating a funnel to capture any wastewater or chemicals.
  • Filters should be removed and prepared for cleaning.
  • The entire up-blast fan must be cleaned, including the fan blades and the grease trap with a non-etching, degreasing foam – the fan must be scraped if required.
  • The entire system must then be steam-cleaned to remove all grease, build-up and chemicals.
  • The plastic curtain should then be removed, and the interior and exterior of the hood should undergo one final hand-cleaning.
  • Filters and grease catchers should be thoroughly cleaned and re-installed
  • The system should then be turned back on and allowed to run to expedite the drying process.

Keeping the kitchen hood clean and well maintained will help to improve the air flow, ensure a safe working environment, and reduce fire risks. It will also keep the local health inspectors and insurance companies at bay!

  • By Bilal Al Halabi, Al Halabi Ref. & Kitchen Equipment www.al-halabi.com


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