That dirty stove hood filter is a fire hazard that may also attract pests to your kitchen.
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
- Old toothbrush
Materials You Need
- Boiling water
- 2 cups distilled white vinegar
- Liquid dish detergent
- 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.
- 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.
- Add your stove hood filter(s) and set a timer for 30 minutes.
- Use tongs to remove the filter after 30 minutes and scrub it with an old toothbrush on both sides.
- 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.