Cleaning out the air extract system for your oven and cooker – is one of the most important maintenance tasks in a commercial kitchen. But because the areas involved are not easily visible or accessible to kitchen staff, Extract Cleaning is easily overlooked and usually requires external assistance to carry out properly.

The Importance of Kitchen Extract Cleaning

It’s an established fact that there is what is sometimes called a “holy trinity” in order for there to be a fire. You need fuel – something for the fire to burn. You need air – a fire needs oxygen or it will go out. And you need a spark – a source of ignition to set it off.

In your kitchen extract system and ducting you have all three. You have a build-up of oil and grease from the canopy all the way through the duct. Then you have the air from the fan. Finally, you have flames from the cookers down in the kitchen.

Well, you can’t stop cooking and you have to have air extraction, so the only thing you can do to help prevent a fire is to clean the Grease Extract System on a regular basis to prevent build up. This involves Canopy Cleaning, Fan Cleaning and Duct Cleaning throughout the building.

So a failure to carry out regular  Extract Cleaning presents a significant risk to your business. Firstly, a fire could result in your business having to close for weeks while repairs take place. Secondly, your fire insurance could be invalidated if you cannot demonstrate that Kitchen Extract Cleaning was carried out. Should you be unlucky enough to have a fire the last thing you want is for your insurance company to refuse a pay out because they can point to a clause in your policy which says you have to get it cleaned regularly.

This risk of fire is very far from theoretical. There are instances of such fires every year, which could have been avoided by regular Extract Cleaning.

But there are additional risks. Deposits of oil and grease can harbour bacterial growth, which pose a contamination risk for food, as well as a general health risk for staff and customers. All your efforts at maintaining scrupulous food hygiene standards are wasted if there is a constant source of airborne bacteria close by. As bad as it might be to have your restaurant closed after a fire, having your restaurant linked to bad hygiene can damage your business for years to come.

Finally, your kitchen extract system will be included as part of any general Health and Safety inspections, which can result in closure or other enforcements.

It’s not the nicest job, but the laws (such as Fire Risk Assessment), Insurance needs and EHO compliance mean that Kitchen Extract Cleaning is something you just have to do.

Firstly, the cleaning process requires getting access to the ducting areas. This can include taking off panels or removing parts, climbing up stepladders or getting into confined spaces. Secondly, specialist tools and cleaning fluids are required to carry out the cleaning. Thirdly, cleaning personnel need to wear protective suits and masks.

But apart from Kitchen Extract Cleaning being a physically difficult job, there is one overriding reason for using a professional service – and that is to obtain adequate proof of cleaning which will be accepted by an insurance company. As well as a certificate, insurance companies want to see physical evidence of cleaning which is properly dated and documented. A third party professional cleaning service can provide this evidence in a form which insurance companies will accept – as well as giving you peace of mind that a major source of business risk has been properly dealt with.

Frequency of Extract Cleaning

Intervals between regular specialist cleans depend on usage. As we have already seen, Kitchen Extract Cleaning should be seen as something which is actively preventing damage to your business. If in doubt, arrange for your Extract System to be regularly inspected to assess build up.

Kitchen Extract Certification

Once we have cleaned your Kitchen Extract System we issue two copies of a Certificate of cleanliness. One is laminated for display in your Kitchen and the other for your records.

This document, along with a full report with before and after photographs, prove to whoever needs to know that your Canopy and Extract System has been thoroughly cleaned.