How Often Should You Clean Your Kitchen Exhaust System?


The kitchen exhaust system is an essential component of your restaurant, responsible for removing grease, smoke, and odours from the cooking area. Keeping this system clean not only ensures a healthy and safe environment but also maintains its efficiency and prolongs its lifespan. In this article, we will discuss the importance of cleaning your kitchen exhaust system, how often it should be cleaned, and tips for maintaining it.

Factors Affecting Cleaning Frequency

Several factors influence the required cleaning frequency of a kitchen exhaust system, including:

  • Type of cuisine: Cooking methods and ingredients used in your kitchen significantly impact grease accumulation. For example, establishments that frequently use deep-frying or wok cooking may require more frequent cleaning.
  • Volume of cooking: The more you cook, the faster grease and particulates accumulate in the exhaust system. High-volume kitchens may need more frequent cleaning than those with lower cooking volumes.
  • Local regulations: Some areas have specific regulations regarding the cleaning frequency of commercial kitchen exhaust systems. Always check and adhere to local requirements.

Cleaning Frequency Guidelines

The New Zealand Standards AS 1851 and AS 1668 provide guidelines for the cleaning frequency of kitchen exhaust systems in commercial kitchens:

  • High-volume cooking operations (e.g., 24-hour restaurants, char grilling, or wok cooking): minimum every 3 months
  • Moderate-volume cooking operations (e.g., fast-food restaurants, cafeterias): minimum every 6 months
  • Low-volume cooking operations (e.g., churches, day camps, seasonal businesses): every 12 months

Remember that these are general guidelines, and your specific situation may necessitate more frequent cleaning.

Regular Inspections and Maintenance

In addition to following the recommended cleaning frequency, it’s crucial to perform regular inspections and maintenance on your kitchen exhaust system. This includes checking the hood, filters, ductwork, and fan for grease buildup, wear and tear, or damage. By addressing issues promptly, you can ensure that your exhaust system remains efficient and safe between cleanings.

Choosing a Professional Cleaning Contractor

Hiring a professional kitchen exhaust cleaning contractor is essential for thorough and effective cleaning. Look for contractors with industry certifications and experience in the New Zealand market. Additionally, consider their insurance coverage and service offerings to ensure you choose a reliable and knowledgeable contractor.  


Maintaining a clean kitchen exhaust system for commercial kitchens is crucial to ensuring a safe and healthy working environment. Regular cleaning not only helps prevent fire hazards and promote better air quality but also ensures compliance with local health and safety regulations. Depending on the volume and type of cooking, the cleaning frequency may vary from monthly to every six months. While some aspects of cleaning can be performed in-house, it is advisable to hire professional services for thorough cleaning, especially for the ductwork. By staying proactive and adhering to the recommended cleaning schedules, you can keep your kitchen exhaust system functioning efficiently and safeguard your establishment.