When was the last time you’ve checked your range hood filters? If you are like most of us, you probably haven’t done it for a while. It may sound like a lot of hard work to clean those greasy filters, but it really isn’t. And you should know that it is essential to keep them clean and well-maintained. In this article, I will go over how to clean your range hood filter with 3 easy steps.
Most of the top range hood filter manufacturers recommend cleaning them at least once per month. However, most homeowners neglect it as it seems like a daunting task to remove and clean the greasy and clogged filters.
Surprisingly most people don’t bother about the filters, and hence, they’ve never cleaned them in years. If you’re one of them, below are enough reasons to convince you that you should keep the hood filters clean.
Why Clean The Range Hood Filters
There are several important reasons to get into the habit of cleaning your range hood filter periodically. Yes, your in-laws may visit you and notice the accumulated grease and look at you funny, but that’s the least of your worries.
Dirty Range Hood Filters Are Dangerous
A dirty range hood filter not only adds up on your electricity bill but also increases the possibility of fire and health hazards.
The National Fire Protection Association regulations require kitchens to have hood filters. The reason for this is that adequate ventilation prevents fires. When your range hood hasn’t been cleaned for several months, the accumulated grease and oil increases fire hazards.
A greasy filter creates a warm and slimy environment which is loved by harmful pathogens. Sometimes, the food particles also get carried along with the vapors, which help feed the bacteria.
Clean Range Hood Means Better Efficiency and Longer Lifespan
A clean range hood filter is much more efficient than a dirty one, and this should be reflected in your electric bill.
When you clean the range hood every month, less grease and dirt will be accumulated, which will make your filter last longer.
Can You Clean All Types Of Filters?
Not all filters can or should be cleaned. Let’s go over the most common types of range hood filters.
Charcoal Range Hood Filters
Charcoal filters mainly come in ductless models, meaning the air goes outside your house through a vent. Their primary function is to bypass the smoke and smell from your kitchen. These filters are not made to be cleaned, but you have to replace them every 6 months.
Metallic Grease Range Hood Filters
Metallic hood filters are the most common ones. They need to be cleaned every month or as needed depending on your cooking habits. Most of them are available in steel and aluminum structure, and they come as mesh or baffle filters.
Fabric Grease Range Hood Filters
Similar to the charcoal filters, the fabric range hood also can’t be cleaned. Instead, they should be replaced every 6 months. They work by absorbing the smoke and fumes.
Three Easy Steps to Clean Your Range Hood Filter
Whether you have a gas or electric range, cleaning a range hood filter is not as hard as it sounds. Depending upon the level of dirt and the cleaning method you use, you can easily do it within an hour. The entire cleaning process requires the following 3 easy steps.
1. Detach the metallic grease range hood filter
The first step is to remove the filter from the top. This step varies according to the size and model of your range hood. But the good thing is, the majority of the metallic grease filters are easy to detach. It will hardly take a couple of minutes to remove it.
Before you start, make sure the power is switched off.
If you’re not familiar with your range hood, take a moment to understand your range hood. You may need to read some material of view videos from your manufacturer.
Detach the filter very carefully without damaging it. You may need some pliers or screwdrivers for this purpose. Make sure to remember how you did it because you’ll have to reattach it.
Also, don’t forget to wear gloves if you don’t want your hands to get all greasy.
2. Prepare the Cleaning Solution And Clean the Filter
Below I’m sharing the five best DIYs methods to clean your dirty and greasy range hood filters very easily. Each method uses a different cleaning agent. The best part about these DIY cleaning solutions is, they are prepared using simple household ingredients. They are cheap and effective. Depending on the availability of materials, you can follow any one of the five methods.
3. Drying and Reattach The Filter
After you wash the filter with one of the methods shown below, it’s time to dry the filter and reattach it. Avoid using a blow-dryer as the filters are metallic and could lead to electric shocks. So, simply wipe them using a dry towel and let them dry in air.
Five DIYs Techniques to Clean Your Dirty Range Hood Filter
Technique 1: Using Detergent
Instead of using sophisticated commercial products, you can use a good quality dishwasher detergent to clean your range hood filter. Follow the steps below to get the job done:
- Run some hot water over the filter to remove some grease and make it a bit wet.
- Now, place it in a sink or a tub and leave it there for about hour. Meanwhile, get ready with some hot water.
- Next, apply a fair amount of detergent all over the filter. Be generous with the detergent. Make sure all the parts of the filter are covered.
- Leave it like this for at least an hour.
- After an hour, put the filter in a sink and wash it with hot water. Scrub it using a soft brush or a rag to get rid of all the grease and dirt. Use more detergent if required, and don’t leave any corners untouched.
- If your filter is very greasy, you can leave it in hot water and detergent solution overnight.
Technique 2: Using a Degreaser
Before jumping on to this method, know that it requires a lot of scrubbing and cleaning. But the results are excellent, so you may want to give it a try.
- Take a large pan to hold the dirty filter.
- Fill it with enough water to submerge the filter.
- Now, put the pan on the stove and let the water heat. You don’t have to boil the water, just heat it a bit.
- Mix some degreaser into this water. If you’re using a spray, then go generously with about 20-25 sprays.
- Next, put the greasy filter into this water and make sure it is completely submerged. Also, don’t put your hands in the solution as it is a bit acidic.
- Let it sit for at least half an hour.
- After 30 minutes, take the filter out and scrub it using a brush on both sides. Make sure to wear your gloves while doing this.
Technique 3: Using Baking Soda +Vinegar Solution
A mixture of baking soda and vinegar has been proven to be a powerful cleaning agent. The best part is, both ingredients are readily available. Follow the steps below to use this technique:
- Take a large pot, big enough to hold the filter.
- Fill it with water and put it on the stove to let the water boil.
- Once the water starts boiling, turn off the flame and add a couple of tablespoons of baking soda and a couple of teaspoons of vinegar. Don’t add the baking soda in one go as it will foam up. Add it gradually.
- Put the dirty filter inside and leave it for about one hour.
- After that, take the filter out and scrub it to remove the loose grease and dirt.
Technique 4: Using Ammonia
If none of the above methods works for you or your filter is extremely dirty, you can try mixing ammonia and hot water to get rid of the stubborn dirt. Here is how you can do this :
- Block the sink and fill it with some hot water.
- Add dish soap and ammonia and stir it well.
- Place the dirty filter in the ammonia bath and let it sit for a few minutes.
- Scrub it on both sides and rinse it using clean water.
Warning: Note that some manufacturers warn against the use of ammonia to clean certain filters. So, you may consider this technique as your last resort.
Technique 5: Using The Dishwasher
If you’re not willing to do any hard work or don’t have enough time, here is the good news. Some latest models of the range hood filters are dishwasher safe. So, check the specifications of your filter and make sure it is dishwasher safe. You can also call the customer care service department and ask them. A couple of minutes may save you significant time and effort.
However, if your filter is not dishwasher safe, stick to the methods mentioned above to get the best results.
Don’t Forget That You Can Always Buy New Filters
No matter how hard you try, there is a point when washing dirty old filters will not get you the results you need. It may be time to buy replacement filters. You may be lucky, and the ones you need are not very expensive.
Range Hoods vs. Over The Range Microwaves
You may have a range hood, or you may have an over-the-range microwave like me.
Over-the-range microwave ovens have gained popularity as a better choice than some other bulky range hood models.
Many people don’t realize this, but if you have a microwave oven above your range, you will likely have two types of filters to worry about.
- A grease filter: Located underneath the microwave. This filter is likely made out of aluminum and is washable. You can use one of the techniques listed above.
- A charcoal filter: Located on top of the microwave behind the grill. This filter is not washable and should be replaced every 6 months.
Typically it is easy to locate and detach the grease filter, but the charcoal filter is not as straightforward. The video below demonstrates how to locate and replace a typical charcoal filter.
I hope this guide was helpful. Feel free to share your questions and comments in the section below.