A woman removes the range hood filter above her stove to clean itPin

Cleaning Range Hood Filters: Steps and Tips to Get Rid of Grease

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Ever wonder why your kitchen feels a bit greasy after you’ve been cooking? The culprit may be built into the microwave above your stove, or in the hood vent above your range. Hang on while I explain why that fan’s filter is an unsung kitchen hero and how easy it is to clean—even if you’ve never thought to get the greasy buildup off yours before.

What That Metal Mesh Filter Above Your Stove Does

The filters in your range hood trap grease, preventing it from clogging the fan. If your fan vents to the outside, the filters catch grease on its way out. And for non-vented systems, like in some overhead microwaves, the filters trap grease as the fan recirculates air back into the kitchen. In other words, clean range hood filters help keep your kitchen clean, but dirty ones don’t.

Did You Know?

Regular filter cleaning can improve your hood’s efficiency by up to 50%. This not only saves energy but can also extend the life of the fan motor.

Two Quick Ways to Clean Range Hood Filters

To keep your range hood filter clean, scrub it in the sink or pop it in the dishwasher. But a heads-up: the dishwasher might make your aluminum filter less shiny, especially with strong detergents. Want to keep the shine? Stick to the sink.

1. The Sink Method

Scrub both sides of your range hood filter in the sink using hot, soapy water and an old toothbrush. For stubborn grime, add a sprinkle of baking soda for gentle abrasion. Rinse thoroughly, tap it on the edge of the sink to dislodge excess water, and let it air dry. Reinstall your range hood filter once it’s completely dry.

2. The Dishwasher Method

To clean your stove hood filter in the dishwasher, add it to the top rack when you’re running a load of dishes. The dishwasher’s heat and steam work great to get grease out of all those nooks and crannies. And if your filter has a thick mesh, give it a good shake to remove excess water and let it air dry before popping it back in. This helps prevent rust.

How to Deep Clean Your Filter

A great way to deep clean your range hood filter is with a homemade soapy vinegar solution. Boil 4 quarts of water, let it cool slightly, then mix in 2 cups of white vinegar and a dash of dish soap. Soak your filter in this mixture for 30 minutes. Afterward, use tongs to pull it out, give it a good scrub with an old toothbrush, and rinse. Shake off any extra water and let it air dry.

It couldn’t be simpler

I did your deep cleaning method and OMG they came out looking brand new!!! 
Pam C.
from the comments

Removing Stubborn Grease

If you’re struggling with stubborn grease that’s hardened on your filter like a tough brown coating, try soaking it in a resealable bag filled with household ammonia overnight. The next day, scrub it in the sink with hot, soapy water, rinse it well from both sides, and that baked-on coating will slide right off. Just note, as with using the dishwasher, this may dull the shine.

Restoring the Shine on Dull Range Hood Filters

Sometimes, the pursuit of cleanliness can change a thing’s aesthetics. That’s true with cleaning aluminum vent hood filters, too. Dullness or a chalky feel occurs is simple oxidation on the surface: a reaction of the aluminum to chlorine or salts in the water or detergent.

To make your dull range hood filter bright and shiny again, soak it in equal parts water and white vinegar for 30 minutes then rub away the tarnish with a cloth and rinse both sides to remove the vinegar. Make sure it’s completely dry before reinstalling, so it doesn’t rust.

How Often Should You Clean Them?

Scrub your stove’s hood filter in the sink or toss it in the dishwasher once a month. Then deep clean it once or twice a year to keep it in peak condition. If you’re tackling this for the first time, begin with a deep clean, followed by regular monthly maintenance and your range hood filter will stay clean as new.

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  1. 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. 🙂

  2. 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.

  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. 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!

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