Seriously grease-gunked vent hood fan wheel - best degreaser?

Hi, I have a 12 year old Vent-a-Hood. I’ve routinely cleaned the grease trap tray but finally the fan wheel has gotten so gunked up that it’s out of balance.

I do a lot of very high heat cooking where I tip the pan or wok to invite the flames in to torch the vaporized oils. My fault for waiting 12 years to get to cleaning the hamster cage!

I had to modify a hex key to get the thing off, which was an epic battle in itself (it’s set up with the drive shaft oriented vertically and the hex key needs to pass in from the side and find the nut).

After scraping off nearly as much mass in solidified grease as the wheel itself masses, I’m looking to clean off all the remaining grease. A lot of this is almost like you’d find on your seasoned pans - very well adhered, even after the utility knife scraping.

What’s the best method you’ve found to clean off seriously adhered vaporized cooking oils?

Thanks in advance!

Dawn dishwashing liquid would be the first thing I would try. I would apply a full-strength coating of Dawn to the fan wheel, if that’s practical, and let it sit for at least a few hours before rinsing. You could always repeat if needed.

P.S. I had good luck earlier this season soaking my stainless steel grill grates in Dawn.

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I might try Goop first. Gentle but get the sludge off my paws. Then again, that hardened oil might be a tougher fish to fry. Maybe gasoline if worse comes to worst.

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Thanks both @tomatotomato and Greg. I had actually forgotten about GOOP (the original, real grease-cutting stuff) since the time that Gwyneth Paltrow has taken over this brand name for her vajayjay-scented candles or whatever the heck else it is that entitled celebrities do. (This is not a joke, she has done this).


Is it vented out of the building or just have a vent screen recirculating air back into the kitchen?

Okay, here’s a new thought. I’m boiling the wheel in a closely fitted pan in a solution of dawn and the Trader Joe’s cleaner, but I’m not seeing much in the way of the polymerized grease coming up to the top.

I’m now thinking to fit my drill onto the axle mount, add a handful of sand, and give it a spin (in the same liquid - of course, I’d take this out to the garage before starting it).

My wife says I’m nuts.

(But she also doesn’t know that earlier this evening I had to use a propane torch to heat up the T-handle 1/8" hex key enough to make a 90° bend so that I could use the thing to bust the nut loose…).


It sucks now? Was my laundry miracle for degreasing stains. Fast orange it is. Maybe Comet, then. Vinegar + baking soda?


I think I’ll end up with baking soda and something, and some kind of scrub brush. Maybe vinegar or maybe ammonia (if I have any - haven’t used it in a long time).

I was hoping for some kind of “Just Dip It In” miracle like that old silverware cleaner commercials from the 1970s you may remember…

LoL - I’d say that I’m lazy but, hell, I spent 40 mins getting this thing loose then another 40 scraping the biggest crud off over the trash can with a knife!

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Can you give full-strength Dawn, or Goop, or whatever degreaser you have a chance to do its thing? It may need at least a few hours to know if the baked-on grease will come off. Would you not be concerned about scratches and abrasion with sand?

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Oh definitely outside vent. I’d never try my usual kind of cooking (high temp, flame-inviting as mentioned) back when I had a recirc/blowback.

You can clean it . But maybe it’s time to replace it . They are fairly inexpensive.

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And if the degreaser soak is unsuccessful for me, washing soda as described in this article is my step-up for soaking oven racks with baked on gunk. I find the Arm & Hammer brand in the laundry aisle of my local supermarket. Patience is necessary while a solution of washing soda and hot water does its thing though.

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Thanks. I probably should be worried about sand scratching - but on the other hand, I’ve already scraped (hard) all the vane surfaces inside and out with a cheapo knife. So I’m not so worried about additional abrasion (if I were indeed to try the sand-in-liquid method).

I do have a couple of original clip-on weights and know how to balance it if I should mess it up some with sand-in-liquid.

But my wife is arguing against it too, so given my appreciation for keeping family happy, I’ll probably abandon this idea anyway!


Oh, this:

I was completely ignorant of this stuff. Thank you, sounds promising.

My wife and I did discuss this:

And it seems a good suggestion for something as simple as a squirrel cage. But so far I haven’t found a direct drop-in replacement. The Vent-A-Hood company seems to have gone with a different design (and different orientation - axis horizontal vs. our axis vertical, all plastic vs. our all metal) soon after our install. But I haven’t spent enough time to know if there aren’t good replacements despite this. Or frankly, websites like ‘’ often have direct drop-ins.

And I’ll explore such if I can’t get this cleaned enough to rebalance.

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LOL, I am the Queen of Degreasing in this house so I hear you. There are stronger more chemically products I have tried but now I start with stuff I have in the house. Stubborn bits of stuck-on ick either get the scrubbing pad treatment or an old credit card repurposed as a scraper.

Please let us know what works, as I bet others of us have been stuck with degunking duty.

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Oh, this brings back (adjacent) memories.

I have 4 kids. My wife refused to help teach any of them to drive. My oldest 3, my daughters, were pretty good drivers (IMO, as Coach) within a couple months, so I took off the “STUDENT DRIVER - PLEASE BE PATIENT” magnet stickers off their cars pretty quickly.

My 4th kid - my son - not quite so quickly. Plus his advent was late Spring, so the stickers (magnet) were on all Summer. By Fall, when I was comfortable removing the magnets from his car, they were glued down hard. We tried all kinds of stuff but eventually, only scraping hard with old credit cards managed to removed the damned things. Then we paid a body shop $90 to buff out the remainder of the melted on magnetic polymer.

Sorry I’m going way off track. Haha. That’s what threads are for!

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This is definitely a job for multiple pairs of disposable gloves.:slightly_smiling_face:

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Oh yes. Two pairs just getting the damned sticking thing (the wheel itself) off. One more pair while I was whicking away with the cheap old knife.

Now that I have the squirrel cage boiling (and hopefully softening) in a mixture of Dawn and the Trader Joe’s stuff… … we’ll see.

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Set a pot of water under it and simmer while letting the fan run fast with the trap tray ON. It will take a couple of hours, but the steam will loosen the grease and it will come off in chunks and get caught in the tray which will need emptying multiple times. Learned this the unexpected way while boiling sap for maple syrup inside when I didn’t want to brave the cold. The fan was also unbalanced, but quite by accident, I discovered this easy and effective solution. Every now and then I’ll set some water to simmer underneath it for maintenance cleaning. The fan works beautifully now and has been perfectly balanced ever since.

Edit: I have a vent-a-hood. Almost 20 years old and still going strong.

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Cook it in a vat of tomato sauce.

Works for cast iron. :laughing:


A product called Greased Lightning is the best de-greaser I’ve ever used. Works great on a multitude of things, really fast. Use it on everything, including grease stains on laundry. Best thing ever for cleaning heavily used cabinets, doors, etc. It also dissolves tub and shower grime nearly instantly.

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