Why Do Range Hood Filters Need to Be Cleaned?

Modern cooking exhaust hood against brick wall

Our kitchen’s range hood filter can often be forgotten during regular cleaning schedules. It happens to the best of us, don’t worry. With regular cleaning and just a few minutes out of your schedule, your range hood filter will not only look better but also be able to work properly and efficiently. Did you know that without running your rangehood properly, food debris, grease, and oils can build up on your counters, cabinets, and floors? Gross! Who wants all that around their food and family? Here is a helpful cleaning guide you can use the next time your range hood needs a good scrub.

How to Properly Clean Your Range Hood Filter


Range hood filters are pretty important to our kitchens and to our homes. While the fan is there to pull the cooking odors from the air, the filter is able to catch grease, smoke, and any harmful chemicals and remove them from the air. However, the filter can’t do its job properly or effectively if it becomes clogged with all that debris and build-up. If the air in your home and in your kitchen when you cook seems to linger and stay stagnant when you cook, even when the range hood fan is blowing, that’s a sign that the filter might be overdue for a good washing. An important thing to note is that a clogged and greasy range hood filter can more easily lead to a potential fire within the range hood and duct. Remember to check the state of your range hood’s filter often, so that your filter can do its job efficiently and keep the air around your kitchen clean and odor-free.


Getting Started


Dirty filter on the kitchen hood in the sink


Before you start, there are a few things you’ll want to gather the supplies you’ll need for cleaning the filter properly. While many of these items are optional, they will certainly come in handy for a few of our favorite cleaning methods. You’ll need the following:

  • Hot water
  • Degreasing dish soap (be sure that your soap doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals or bleach as these will damage the finish of the filter)
  • Baking soda (optional)
  • Ammonia (optional)
  • Sponge or scrub brush (don’t use anything course to prevent scratches)
  • Soft towel
  • Stainless steel cleaning spray or wipes (optional)

You’ll also need to know what kind of range hood filter you have so that it can be cleaned properly. One of the most common filters is a baffle filter which is usually made of stainless steel. Another popular filter style is a mesh filter, which can be stainless steel or aluminum. Both of these filters are safe to clean in the dishwasher. However, if you have a ductless range hood, you may have a charcoal range hood filter. These charcoal filters cannot be cleaned and must be replaced every 3 to 6 months, making them less cost-effective than the baffle or mesh style filters.


Many Ways to Clean


removing exhaust hood


Clean in the Dishwasher:
We mentioned that baffle and mesh filters can be cleaned in the dishwasher. While this is the most simple way to clean them, there is still a proper way to do so. Here is the best way to clean these filters using your dishwasher:

  • Remove the range hood filter and rinse it with warm water to loosen the grease.
  • Wipe off the filter before placing it on the bottom rack of your dishwasher.
  • Run a regular cleaning cycle and check the state of the filter following the end of the cycle.
  • Repeat the cleaning cycle if necessary. It is normal to have to run the cycle a few times to fully clean the filter.
  • Once the filter is clean, wipe it dry. If your filter is stainless steel, remember to wipe the filter following the grain so that you aren’t damaging the finish.

If your range hood is in need of some more intense cleaning and TLC, don’t stress. While this first method isn’t much, it will get you the results you’re looking for. Here are some more in-depth cleaning methods for cleaning your range hood filter:


Method 1:

  • Start by filling your sink halfway with hot water and a couple of drops of dish soap
  • Remove the filter from the range hood and place it in the sink
  • Allow the filter to soak in the hot soapy water for about 20 minutes, flip the filter if necessary halfway through
  • Use a sponge or scrub brush to lightly scrub away the loosened debris and grease clogs
  • Thoroughly rinse the filter with clean hot water so that there is no residue left over
  • Dry the filter completely with a soft towel before replacing the filter in the range hood


Method 2:

  • Fill your sink half full with the hottest water possible then add a few drops of dish soap as well as ½ cup of baking soda and mix it all thoroughly.
  • Remove the filter from your range hood and place it in the sink so that at least one side is completely submerged and allow the filter to soak for 10 to 15 minutes
  • Flip the filter if necessary and allow the other side to soak for another 10 or 15 minutes
  • Use the sponge or scrub brush to remove the grease and debris from both sides of the filter, and wear gloves so that your hands are protected from the hot water and metal.
  • Drain the sink and rinse the filter thoroughly with hot water to remove any remaining debris.
  • Use a soft towel to dry the filter thoroughly before placing the filter back in the range hood.


Method 3:

This method is best for mesh range hood filters, and filters that perhaps haven’t been cleaned very often in the past. As this method uses strong and odorous chemicals, be sure to use this method carefully and in a well-ventilated area away from children and pets, or even completely outside where it will not be disturbed.

  • Depending on the size of the filter, fill a sealable plastic bag or trash bag with a small amount of ammonia.
  • Remove the range hood filter carefully and place it into the ammonia-filled bag to soak.
  • Close the bag and allow the filter to soak in the ammonia for a few hours or overnight.
  • Open the bag after it has finished soaking and, keeping it away from your face and nose, remove the filter.
  • Rinse the filter thoroughly in the sink with warm water and use a microfiber towel to dry it
  • Allow the filter to dry completely before putting it back in the range hood


How to Degrease the Filter:

If you find your range hood to be particularly greasy and clogged, it can be a pain to clean it. Before you use any of the previous cleaning methods, try this quick and easy degreasing method:

  • Mix together a paste made from a ratio of 3 to 1 baking soda and water.
  • Set your range hood filter on a flat surface and apply a generous amount of the past to the surface, with heavier application on the greasiest spots.
  • Allow the paste to sit on the surface of the filter for around 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Wipe the paste from the range hood filter with a wet cloth and rinse it well.
  • Follow a regular cleaning process before rinsing and drying the filter as thoroughly as possible.

Remember to also take some time to clean the exterior of your range hood so that both the interior and exterior are spotless and ready for your next culinary creations.


How Often Do Filters Need Cleaning?


woman turning on the range hood


One of the most important things to remember is how often your range hood filter should be cleaned. The filter should be cleaned about once a month, especially if you use the range hood often during cooking or have been cooking particularly greasy or oily foods. The frequency of cleaning will almost certainly vary between households, so be sure to check the state of your filter more often. If your range hood uses a charcoal filter, remember that it should be replaced every 4 or 5 months, or after about 120 hours of cooking. One tip we often share is to deep clean your range hood filter, no matter what state it may be in, right before preparing any large meals like holidays or parties. This way you’ll have the best results with your meal, and no unpleasant lingering odors disturb guests.


Have you used any of these tips to clean your range hood filter? What kind of tips and tricks can you share that have worked for you? Tell us in the comments, we love hearing from our customers. Do you need a little extra help around the house? Check out our official site to find out how we can help you. We’re more than happy to help you keep your home looking clean and tidy. Contact us today!


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