How To Clean Stove Hood Filters

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That dirty stove hood filter is a fire hazard that may also attract pests to your kitchen.

Woman adjust light on stove hood with dirt filters

Why You Need to Clean Stove Filters

Your range hood filter can reduce kitchen grime and cooking odors. All you have to do is turn on the fan over your stove when you’re frying or sauteing food, and your range hood pulls the cooking steam through its filter. As the greasy air flows through it, the filter traps many of the grease particles.

If the fan is vented to the outdoors, as most are, the odors get sent out of your house. If your fan isn’t vented to the outdoors, the filters still remove grease from the air and vent the rest back to your kitchen. The result is less grime hanging around in your home’s air, collecting on surfaces you’ll have to clean like greasy kitchen cabinets.

Sounds great, right? The problem is that dirty range hood filters don’t trap grease well, so you need to clean them routinely. Need another incentive?

Dirty Filters Attract Pests

If you haven’t been able to fully stop a fruit fly infestation or get rid of cockroaches, a dirty stove hood filter may be to blame. Why? Because both of those household pests LOVE to eat any grease they can find. Food-flavored grease is even better.

Dirty Filters Fill Your Home with Toxins

Dirty gas stove hood filters add nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and formaldehyde to your indoor air at levels that exceed acute health-based standards. Dirty electric stove hood filters aren’t much better. Electric burners produce ultrafine particles that turn dust into vapors. If you aren’t filtering those vapors through the stove hood filter, 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 give your stove hood filters a deep cleaning this afternoon and keep them clean in just minutes each month.

How to Deep Clean Stove Hood Filters

If you’ve never cleaned your stove hood filters before, start with a deep cleaning, then follow the monthly maintenance tips below to keep them in good shape. (Time Required: 30 Minutes)

Equipment You Need

  • Large pot
  • Tongs
  • Old toothbrush

Materials You Need

  • Boiling water
  • 2 cups distilled white vinegar
  • Liquid dish detergent


  1. Remove your range hood filter. If you have an over-stove microwave with a built-in fan instead of a hood, the filter will be on the bottom.
  2. Boil 4 quarts of water in a large pot then take it off the heat and let it cool for a minute or two. Stir in 2 cups of white vinegar and a few drops of liquid dish detergent.
  3. Add your stove hood filter(s) and set a timer for 30 minutes.
  4. Use tongs to remove the filter after 30 minutes and scrub it with an old toothbrush on both sides.
  5. Rinse the filter with clear water and thoroughly air dry it then reinsert it into the range hood.

Stubborn Grease Solution

If you’ve never cleaned your stove hood filter before, time and heat may have caused the collected grease to form an almost laminated surface that’s bonded to the filter material.

You can get stubborn grease off of stove hood filters by soaking them overnight in a resealable bag filled with 1 cup of plain household ammonia. The next day, remove the filter and use an old toothbrush to scrub away any grime, then wash it with warm, soapy water and rinse it well. Once it’s completely dry, put your clean range hood filter back in place.

How to Keep Your Stove Filter Clean

Your stove hood filter needs a deep cleaning at least once a year. If you cook a lot, or if you’re trying to get a kitchen pest problem under control, you may need to deep clean it each season. In between deep cleanings, the methods below can keep your stove hood filter clean and working well if you do them at least once a month.

The Dishwasher Method

Stove hood filters are one of the many things you can clean in your dishwasher. Just pop them into the top rack and let the steam loosen the grease while the water spray gets all of the filter’s nooks and crannies. To avoid rust, make sure the filters are completely dry before putting them back in the hood.

The Sink Method

Remove the filter and rinse it with hot water. Then, sprinkle both sides of the filter with baking soda (bicarbonate) and scrub it with an old toothbrush dipped in hot, soapy water. Rinse both sides well and let it completely air dry before putting it back in place.

With proper maintenance, your stove hood filter should last for several years. You’ll know it’s time to replace them when the mesh begins to sag or the seams grow weak.

Where to Next?
How to Clean a Glass Stove Cooktop
How To Clean a Kitchen Sponge
How To Clean Stinky Drains

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  1. I put my filters in the dishwasher and they are now tarnished. Any ideas on how to get these clean?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      They’re clean, it’s just that the aluminum has oxidized. Oxidation doesn’t affect how they work, but it sounds like you’d rather they were shiny. You can restore aluminum’s shine by soaking it in equal parts vinegar and very hot water for 10 minutes or so then scrubbing it with a scouring pad.

    2. Vinegar is expensive now so is baking soda. There must be a cheaper alternative to cleaning the range hood screens if you want to do this regularly.

    3. Katie Berry says:

      Although baking soda is only $0.89 for an 8-oz box and vinegar is $1.29 for a half-gallon, I understand you may be interested in less expensive options. But as the directions state, those are only for initial degreasing. To keep them clean, there are two options provided: the dishwasher method and the sink method. Neither use baking soda or vinegar.

  2. My problem is I have two hood filters, and both are too big for the sink and I have no pans big enough. They don’t look terrible though, so off to the dishwasher they go. Wish me luck!

  3. I had cleaned my 3 hood filters a couple of times in the 10 years we’ve had the hood. They were pretty greasy and certainly needed attention. I did your deep cleaning method and OMG they came out looking brand new!!! After that I popped them in the top rack of the loaded dishwasher to get every last bit. Let them air dry in the sun, popped them in the hood. It couldn’t be simpler but you can bet they will go in the dishwasher once a week from now on. Thank you for the excellent and easy tutorial.

  4. Evelyn Crenshaw says:

    Oxyclean dissolved in very hot water, immerse filter, scrub if needed, rinse and air dry. Worked for me

  5. Used the vinegar / hot water method……it did an amazing job. Easy least ???????? Very little scrubbing….really just brushing with a toothbrush after soaking. Could not believe the yucky scum that came off the filters.

    1. I just cleaned a filter that hadn’t been cleaned in over 10 years! It was very dark brown and you couldn’t even see any of the metal mesh, yuck. It was a small filter (8″X8″) so I filled a 10″ deep frying pan about 2/3 full with water, about 1/4 cup of Ajax dishwashing soap and about 4 tablespoons of baking soda. I brought the water to a low boil, put the filter in and let it “cook” for about 30 min. When I took it out all the grease was gone and the filter was shiny silver in color, like new. I then rinsed it off in the sink, let it dry and replaced it. No scrubbing necessary!!!

  6. Dishwasher pod discolored my oven hood filter, now what?

  7. What about the fan? Mine is disgusting! The grease is just caked on. I looked to see if it can be removed, but I think I”m out of luck!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      If you can’t remove the fan, try scraping as much grease off as possible with a rubber spatula. Then set a boiling pan of water below it to loosen up more gunk and scrape again. After that, spray with 50:50 hot water and hot vinegar, scrape some more, and wipe it clean. Good luck!

  8. I’ve lived where I am for a decade and never think about the filter, so I cleaned it last week. It took me a total of 10 minutes, including the time to get the water running hot. I tossed it in an empty sink (running the water in the other sink to get it hot), sprayed it liberally with L.A.’s Totally Awesome spray cleaner (full strength), then filled the sink with enough hot water to cover it. Grabbed a stuff scrub brush and with very little effort it now looks like it’s 6 months old.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’ve never heard of that product but am glad you got your stove hood filter clean!

    2. I love love the LA Awesome cleaner!!! I have only found it at Dollar General & it is so inexpensive…yes a dollar for 20oz. Use it for stains on everything… clothes, carpet, upholstery,canvas. I most often use full strength & never discolored materials!

  9. This is a great tip! Instead of pure ammonia, can I use windex to soak the stove hood filter? Would it still work just as well? Mine needs serious deep cleaning. Thanks!

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Good morning, Sophie! Theoretically, Windex should work but I’ve never personally tried it. I say “theoretically” because, as you realized, Windex is made primarily of ammonia. If you give it a try, be sure to use enough that the stove hood filter is immersed in the stuff. Please let me know your results!

    2. Hi! I tried using Windex becuase I had a big jug of it that I had bought some years ago. I ended up using more than expected to completely soak but it worked very well. The filter used to be covered in thick dust and it was probably greasy as well even though I had never used it at my apt (because it was really dirty). But now I have a very clean dust-free filter! Thanks!

    3. Katie Berry says:

      Glad to hear it, Sophie! Now you should be able to simply wash it in hot, soapy water once a week to keep it clean. 🙂

  10. How about cleaning the rest of the stove hood, what is best to use?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      As odd as it sounds, mineral oil does an amazing job of dissolving the grease that builds up on range hoods. Follow with a warm water wipe-down if you like.

    2. Thanks!

  11. Great idea, that puppy was nasty
    Bob N.