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How to Clean Your Restaurants Kitchen Exhaust Filters

I'm going let you in on the secret to maintaining kitchen exhaust filters because NOT maintaining them will have terrible impacts on your overall exhaust system. Lets talk about proper filter maintenance per NFPA 96 fire code. I bring this up because I see so many variations of maintenance on filters being executed from one restaurant to the next, even restaurants within the same company. Why?

I have several guesses and they are not important. The important thing is that you immediately start prioritizing your kitchen exhaust filters with your managers and staff. As an owner or a manager, this is a direct reflection on you. You let this happen. Yes, I know, it's difficult to hear so start making the change and stop letting this happen.

Supplies you will need to complete this task are 30-50 gallon can/bucket with no holes in the bottom (you will be filling it with water). Depending on how many filters you have, you may want multiple buckets or clean them in batches of 3-5 filters at a time. You will need a HOT water. Usually what comes out of your faucet will do. You will need a strong degreaser (This is the hardest part). Degreasers are very common. The problem is that companies water them down so much that the active degreasing chemical is so minimal you don't see much result. I'll show you what we recommend later, but for now just focus on the process.

Ok - Here we go. Keep in mind that this process should take MAX 30 min of payroll to complete, it is Per the NFPA 96 Guidelines, and is very easy! Click Here to see our process for cleaning the entire hood per NFPA 96

This is an overnight process, so start it at the end of the night and finish in the morning. First, you will fill your can about 1/4 of the way with HOT water next. Be sure you let the water run until it's hot before filling the can. Once you have hot water, add your degreaser and stir in until dissolved. Click Here to see the degreaser we use. If you decide to use what we use, you only need to use 1/8 - 1/4 of pound per clean. Next begin to insert your filters into the can. Stand them vertically on the bottom and do not double stack them. You should be able to fit 3-5 filters across the bottom of the can. Fill the remainder of the can with HOT water until filters are fully submerged.

Let the filters sit in that can overnight (min. of 3-4 hours).

In the morning, have your opening crew remove filters from can, rinse and re-install.

Important note: If you have not cleaned your filters properly like this in the past or recently, it can take several soak sessions to get them 100% cleaned. Once you achieve 100% cleaned, you can switch to regular maintenance.

If you need help figuring out your regular maintenance schedule, please send us an email at or call 512-861-5841 and we will gladly offer free consultation services.

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