When you consider how much greasy air they take in, it’s easy to understand the importance knowing how to clean a stove hood filter. It’s not just grease you’ll be getting rid of when you clean yours, though.
What’s wrong with a dirty stove hood filter?
Bugs, odors and fire hazards. Oh my!
If you haven’t been able to fully get rid of fruit flies or get rid of cockroaches, a dirty stove hood filter may be to blame! Why? Because both of those nasties LOVE to eat any grease they can find. Food-flavored grease? Even better.
Built-up cooking grease can also cause bad kitchen odors, collect stubborn dust, and even pose a fire hazard, too.
Dirty Filters Pollute Your Home’s Air
Most people spend at least 60% of their day at home (granted, much of it sleeping) and that means indoor air quality is important. This is particularly true for those with allergy or immune issues.
If you cook with gas your stove hood filter is dirty (or you don’t use it at all) you may be adding nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and formaldehyde to your indoor air in levels that exceed acute health-based standards.
Using an electric stove isn’t necessarily better, either. Electric burners produce ultrafine particles by turning dust into vapors. If you aren’t filtering those by running the stove hood filter then they’re just floating around in your air.
Sure, you could use the microwave exclusively. You could eat nothing but take-out. You could even adopt a completely raw food diet. Or, you could take a two-pronged approach: run the fan over your stove when you cook, and (2) clean the filters regularly.
When To Run The Stove Exhaust Fan
Many people assume the fan over the stove exists mostly as a barrier between whatever you’re cooking and the cupboard above the stove. If you’re a particularly bad cook, it might even serve as a firewall protecting your kitchen ceiling. But that fan is really your ally in fighting kitchen grime as well as improving indoor air quality.
When you’re frying or sauteing food on the stove, running the fan will pull the greasy steam through the filters where many of the grease particles will be trapped. If your fan is vented to the outdoors, and most are, the rest of the air gets sent out of your house. If your fan isn’t vented to the outdoors, the filters will still trap much of the grease while the rest of the air is vented back into your kitchen.
But that doesn’t happen if your stove hood filters are dirty, so clean them.
How To Clean Stove Hood Filters
If you’ve never cleaned your stove hood filters before, you’ll want to give them a deep cleaning to begin with. After that, a regular weekly cleaning will keep them in good shape.
No-scrub deep cleaning
If you’ve never cleaned your stove hood filters, they’re no doubt full of dust and grease. You could spend hours scrubbing them… or you could put them in a gallon-sized ziplock bag and pour in 1/2 bottle of ammonia. Seal the bag well, since ammonia smells awful, and let them sit for the day. Remove from the bag, rinse well under hot water, and let them air dry.
Weekly Maintenance (also no-scrub)
The dishwasher method: Remove your stove hood filters and put them in the top rack of your dishwasher when you’re washing a load. The steam will loosen any built-up grease and the water spray will get in all of the filter’s nooks and crannies. While your filters are in the machine, use a good homemade all purpose cleaner to remove grime from the range hood.
The non-dishwasher method: Bring a large pot of water to boil on the stove and s-l-o-w-l-y stir in 1/2 cup of baking soda. (It’s going to foam a lot, so do this slowly! That’s why I used all of those hyphens!) Add the filters and simmer 5 minutes or so, then use a pair of tongs to pull the filters out. Run them under hot water and let them air dry.
With regular maintenance and use, your clean stove hood filters will reduce cooking odors, greasy kitchen grime, and indoor air pollution. Just be sure to use them!