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what is hood cleaning

What is Hood Cleaning?

Hood cleaning, often known as kitchen exhaust cleaning, involves removing accumulated grease, debris, and contaminants from exhaust systems in kitchens. This meticulous process ensures that your kitchen operates efficiently and remains compliant with local health and safety regulations.

This encompasses the hood, filters, ductwork, and exhaust fans. Here's a detailed look:

hood icon

Hood: This is the visible part in the kitchen located directly above cooking surfaces. It acts as the entry point for smoke, heat, and airborne grease particles, capturing them before they spread throughout the kitchen or dining area.

hood filters icon

Filters: Located within the hood, these trap larger grease particles, preventing them from entering the ductwork. However, even these filters can become saturated over time and need cleaning or replacement.

ductwork icon

Ductwork: The ducts serve as channels, directing the captured smoke and grease from the hood to the exterior of the building. As grease-laden air travels through these ducts, grease can stick to their surfaces and accumulate over time.

exhaust fan

Exhaust Fans: These are typically located on the roof or an exterior wall and help expel the captured contaminants from the building. They can also accumulate grease both on their blades and in their housing.

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what is hood cleaning
According to the NFPA, an estimated 7,640 restaurant building fires are reported to U.S. fire departments each year. Annual losses are estimated at an average of 2 civilian deaths, 115 civilian injuries and $246 million in direct property damage/loss. Cooking is the leading cause of all restaurant buildings fires, causing three out of five (57%) reported fires.

Why is Hood Cleaning Essential?

Hood cleaning, specifically in the context of kitchen exhaust systems, is essential for a variety of reasons that span safety, health, efficiency, and compliance:

fire hazard

Fire Hazards:

Grease Accumulation: Over time, kitchen hoods accumulate grease, which is highly flammable. If not regularly cleaned, this buildup can ignite when exposed to high temperatures, leading to dangerous kitchen fires.

Prevention: Regular hood cleaning drastically reduces the risk of fires by removing the buildup of grease and other flammable residues.

health concerns

Health Concerns:

Air Quality: A dirty hood compromises the air quality in the kitchen. The accumulation of grease, smoke, and other particulates can be recirculated into the air if not adequately vented, posing health risks to kitchen staff and patrons.   

Contamination: An unclean hood can also become a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and pests, leading to potential contamination of food.

efficiency reduction

Efficiency Reduction:

Improved Performance: An unclean exhaust system works harder than a clean one. Excessive grease and debris hinder airflow, making the exhaust system less efficient, consuming more energy, and potentially overheating.   

Equipment Longevity: Regular cleaning can prolong the kitchen exhaust system's and related equipment's lifespan. The reduced strain on the system means fewer breakdowns and repairs, leading to long-term cost savings.

compliance and regulations

Compliance and Regulations

Legal Requirements: Many local health and fire safety codes mandate regular hood cleaning for commercial kitchens. Failure to comply can result in hefty fines, shutdowns, or legal liabilities in case of a fire.   

Insurance Stipulations: Insurance companies often require regular professional hood cleaning as a condition for coverage. Proper maintenance can also affect claim approvals in the event of related damages.

Aesthetic and odor control

Aesthetic and Odor Control

Clean Environment: Regular cleaning prevents the unsightly appearance of grease buildup and maintains a cleaner kitchen environment.   

Odor Reduction: An efficient exhaust system, free from excessive grease and debris, better controls and vents cooking odors, ensuring a more pleasant dining experience for patrons.

Thus, regular hood cleaning is not just about cleanliness—it's about safety, efficiency, and compliance.

who needs hood cleaning services

Who Needs Hood Cleaning Services?

Hood cleaning services are essential for various establishments with kitchen facilities. The need for such services arises from the inherent safety, health, and efficiency concerns related to grease and particulate buildup in kitchen exhaust systems. Here's a list of entities that commonly require hood cleaning services:

Restaurants and Cafes: Any establishment that regularly cooks food, especially those that use high-heat methods like frying or grilling, will experience grease buildup in their exhaust systems.

Hotels and Resorts: These establishments often have large kitchen facilities to cater to their guests, making regular hood cleaning crucial.

School Cafeterias: Institutions that prepare meals for large numbers of students need to ensure their kitchens are safe and adhere to health standards.

Hospitals: Hospitals often operate 24/7 and prepare a significant number of meals daily. Ensuring a clean and safe kitchen environment is vital not just for safety but also for the health of patients.

Corporate Canteens: Many large corporations have in-house canteens or cafeterias that serve employees. These facilities require regular maintenance and cleaning.

Food Trucks: While smaller in scale, food trucks still have exhaust systems that need cleaning. Due to the compact nature of food trucks, efficient ventilation is crucial.

Commercial Kitchens: These are facilities that prepare food on a large scale, possibly for off-site events or packaged food sales. They can be standalone entities or part of larger establishments.

Bakeries: Even though they might not produce as much grease as other cooking methods, ovens in bakeries still require exhaust systems that need periodic cleaning.

Catering Halls: Venues that host events often have large kitchen facilities to cater to sizable gatherings. Such kitchens need regular maintenance and cleaning.

Community Centers and Religious Institutions: Places like churches, mosques, temples, and community centers often have kitchen facilities to cater to community events and gatherings.

Senior Living Facilities: These establishments prepare meals daily for their residents and need to ensure a safe and clean environment.

Prisons and Correctional Facilities: With large kitchens catering to a significant number of inmates, these institutions must maintain clean exhaust systems to prevent potential fire hazards.


How Often Should Hood Cleaning Be Done?

The frequency of hood cleaning largely depends on the volume and type of cooking being done in the kitchen, as different cooking processes produce varying amounts of grease and particulates. However, there are general guidelines set by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in the NFPA 96 Standard for Ventilation Control and Fire Protection of Commercial Cooking Operations.

12.4* Inspection for Grease Buildup: The entire exhaust system shall be inspected for grease buildup by a properly trained, qualified, and certified person(s) acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction and in accordance with Table 12.4.

The most common cleaning frequency is every three months. This can vary, however. The kitchen exhaust systems that need cleaning most often are those over wood-burning or charcoal-burning stoves. These should be cleaned every month at least, and in some cases as often as every two weeks.

Here's a breakdown based on these standards and common industry practices:

High-Volume Kitchens (e.g., 24-hour diners, fast food restaurants, some hotels) 
- Frequency:
Every 1-3 months   
- These establishments cook most of the day and often use high-fat foods and cooking methods, leading to rapid grease buildup.

Moderate-Volume Kitchens (e.g., regular restaurants, cafeterias, hotel kitchens)  
- Frequency:
Every 3-6 months   
- While these kitchens are busy, the volume and type of food might not produce as much grease as high-volume kitchens.

Low-Volume Kitchens (e.g., senior centers, churches, day camps)  
- Frequency:
Every 6-12 months   
- These kitchens are not used as heavily but still need periodic cleaning to ensure safety and hygiene.

Seasonal Operations (e.g., summer camps, seasonal event venues)   
- Frequency:
Once a year, preferably before the season begins.   
- While their operation might be seasonal, the buildup from the active months can still pose a fire risk.

Pizza Restaurants and Oven Hoods   
- Frequency:
Every 3-4 months   
- Pizza ovens, especially wood-fired ones, can produce a significant amount of soot and ash and shall be cleaning on monthly basic.

Hoods Over Non-Grease Appliances (e.g., steam kettles, dishwashers)
 - Frequency: Once a year   - While these hoods don't capture grease, they can still gather particulates, dust, and other debris.

It's essential to note that while these are general guidelines, individual needs can vary. Regular inspections by a trained professional can help determine the best cleaning schedule for a specific kitchen. Also, local regulations or insurance requirements may stipulate more frequent cleaning intervals. Always keep records of cleanings, as they can be crucial for insurance claims, compliance checks, and maintaining warranties

Top Rated Hood Cleaning in North Carolina.

Ready To Get Started? 919-229-9599 we can help you!

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Your #1 choice for restaurant hood cleaning in North Carolina.

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We provide a complete hood cleaning analysis and explain in detail of what your system needs for a thorough kitchen exhaust system cleaning. We have the experienced staff to do the hood cleaning the right way, the first time, and to ensure compliance with all applicable fire and health codes

Grease duct before

Ductwork Greasy

Grease accumulated on hood duct from poor quality hood cleaning service from a previous company.
grease duct after

Ductwork Clean

Hood duct after our first hood cleaning service.
Elite Service Area

Service Areas

We are currently servicing the following areas:
*Salisbury, *Lexington, *Winston-Salem, *High Point, *Greensboro, Asheboro, Burlington, Reidsville, Roxboro, Henderson, Oxford, Durham, Chapel Hill, Morrisville, Cary, Raleigh, Wake Forest, Apex, Clayton, Garner, Fuquay Varina, Sandford, Lillington, Dunn, Smithfield, Knightdale, Zebulon, Rocky Mount, Roanoke Rapids, Wilson, Tarboro, Robersonville, Greenville, Farmville, Goldsboro, Mount Olive, Clinton, Kinston, New Bern, Washington, Havelock, Morehead City, Atlantic Beach, Emerald Isle, Swansboro, Jacksonville, Holly Ridge, Hampstead, Richlands, Beulaville, Wallace, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, Wilmington, Leland, Southport, Shallotte, Whiteville, Lumberton & all surrounding areas.

*Limited number of techinicians available.

Testimonial - Above the Stove Stories: How Elite Hood Cleaning Makes a Difference!

Discover the difference Elite Hood Service LLC has made for restaurants and commercial businesses alike. Dive into the heartwarming experiences of our esteemed clients and understand why we're the #1 choice in hood cleaning company.

Very professional, excellent customer service! Everything was as they said it was, and Eduardo was excellent. We've been looking for a good hood cleaning service company for over 10 years and finally found one. Thank you for taking your business seriously and valuing our time and money.

Michael Johnson


On Christmas Eve, my hood stopped working...I had reservations and orders for the next two days, and I needed my hood to work! I called Elite. A person answered the phone! Friendly, professional, and came in 20 minutes. Repaired my hood! There are still good companies and people in this world, and this is one of them!!! My hood works better than it did before! Thank you.

Natalia Radicevich


Always professional. Easy to book and leave things in great shpae! Thanks!

Holly - Chef Mario's


Great service. They have consistently come every year and have taken care of our commercial kitchen with fantastic service.



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Elite Hood Service HQ

401 N Kinston Blvd, Ste B, Pink Hill, NC 28572
(919) 229-9599

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