How to clean a range hood filter.


By Jordana Weiss

Have you noticed smoke or cooking scents lingering longer than usual as you cook dinner? If this is the case, it may be time to clean your range hood — specifically the filter. The filter in a range hood can easily get greasy and blocked up if you don’t clear it out regularly.

The cleaning process is simple and can make a noticeable difference in how well the range hood clears out smoke, steam, and smelly odors. You may not be able to see it, but when you’re sautéing onions or browning meat, your nose will thank you.

What is a range hood filter?

If you’ve never noticed your range hood filter before, there’s a good reason for that. This critical kitchen feature is located on the underside of the hood. If you have an over-the-range microwave oven, it will be located right underneath the microwave.

The filter's primary purpose is to capture and filter airborne particles away from your cooking surface. These particles come from grease, smoke, and odors generated during cooking.

Cleaning and maintaining your range hood filter regularly ensures your ventilation system functions effectively. It also removes grease and grime, which can pose a fire hazard.

The type of filter you have and how often it needs to be cleaned (or replaced) depends on your specific range hood model and your cooking habits. Consult your owner's manual before utilizing the cleaning tips below.

What you’ll need:

  • Degreasing dish soap
  • A gentle scrub brush or sponge
  • An empty sink with a stopper or a large basin
  • Baking soda
  • Towels or rags

Step 1: Determine the type of filter you have.

Before you clean the filter, figure out what type of filter you have:

  • Stainless steel baffle filters 
  • Aluminum or stainless steel mesh filters
  • Charcoal filters

If you have a charcoal filter, you cannot wash it. Instead, you must fully replace it. And if you have an aluminum filter, think twice before putting it into the dishwasher. Consider hand washing it to avoid discoloration and white spots.

If you have stainless steel or aluminum filters, move on to the next step.

Step 2: Create the cleaning solution.

Next, mix up your cleaning solution. Your range hood filter will probably be quite greasy. Give it time to soak, fully covered, in a solution that will strip away the grease buildup.

Fill your sink or basin with hot water or boiling water. Add 1-2 tablespoons of degreasing dish soap. To make this cleaning solution even more potent, add up to ½ cup of baking soda and let it fully dissolve. 

Step 3: Remove the filters from your range hood.

Once your cleaning solution is steaming hot and ready to go, you can remove the filters from your range hood and get them soaking. Some filters use a tab to release, while others slide out from one open side. If you can’t figure out how to remove your filter, check out the manual that came with your oven.

Be careful when removing the filters. Some models have sharp edges that can cause cuts if you aren’t careful.

Step 4: Soak the filter in your cleaning solution.

Once you’ve safely removed the range hood filter, fully submerge the filter in your cleaning solution. Let it soak in the warm water for at least 15 minutes. This gives your dish soap and baking soda solution a chance to strip away grease from the filter.

Step 5: Gently scrub the filter to remove stuck-on grease.

If your range hood filter still feels greasy after 15 minutes, use a gentle scrub brush or sponge to clean away lingering grease. Try to avoid the temptation to use an abrasive scrub brush or scour the filter too hard. It can damage stainless steel filters. 

Step 6: Let the clean filters dry completely and put them back in place.

Give the filter a final rinse to remove excess soap and baking soda. Then, let it air dry completely on a clean towel. Don’t put them back in your range hood wet.

Once they’re fully dry, slot them back into place and start using your range hood again.

Find a cleaning or appliance pro on Thumbtack.

While many cleaning methods and techniques can make a difference in your kitchen, soaking and scrubbing your range hood filters is one of the most satisfying. Once your filters are back in place, the hood should run more quietly and work more effectively without all that grease.

However, if your range hood filters still aren’t working as expected, it might be time to call in the pros. An appliance repair specialist can check the performance of your range hood and make repairs. Download the Thumbtack app today to start searching for the best pro for the job.

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