How to Clean Stove Hood Filters Without Scrubbing

1. Choose the Correct Cleaner

It’s important before cleaning the exterior to determine the specific material that your range hood is made of. Is it stainless steel? Then, you’ll want to use warm, soapy water as your cleaner. Is it made of a metal like copper? Use a copper cleaner. Is it glass? Use a glass cleaner. 

Video

What is a baffle filter?

Baffle filters are durable stainless steel filters

Baffle filters are durable stainless steel filters. They can handle the heat of outdoor hoods and are resistant to grease and dirt stains. If you cook often, a stainless steel baffle filter is right for you. It will be the most cost-effective option in the long term.

Stainless steel baffle filters are dishwasher-safe. They do not need to be replaced. Instead, just place them in the dishwasher every few weeks to months depending on your cooking style.

Questions Answers

Question: Can I clean range hood filters in the dishwasher?

Answer: If the manufacturer says you can, then you could. If you don't have those details use your own judgment. Are there small parts that could be damaged? If yes, do not put it in the dishwasher.

Tips to Keep a Kitchen Range Hood Clean Longer

Every type of range hood has a filter that fits over the fan and helps catch grease and food before entering the ductwork. Most are metal that can be cleaned and reused for many years, while some are disposable charcoal filters. Cleaning the filter is the easiest part of the job and doesn't require harsh chemicals. Check the manufacturer instructions.

Cleaning the exterior surface depends on the type of material used for the hood. Most under-the-cabinet hoods or mounted microwaves with a vent are either stainless steel or painted metal. Use a degreasing cleaning product recommended for those finishes and a soft cloth to remove the grease. To prevent streaks on stainless steel, use a drop or two of olive oil on a microfiber cloth for a final polish.

Large decorative hoods should be dusted weekly and cleaned monthly to maintain beauty. Copper and brass metal hoods can be highly polished or allowed to develop an aged patina. Follow the builder or manufacturer’s guidelines for different types of finishes.

Kitchen Exhaust Fan Filter Cleaning

Method 2: Using a Degreaser

There's a lot of scrubbing involved in this method when compared to the first. It may not be as effective, but the filters do get clean nonetheless.

  1. Find a cooking pot that is large enough to hold the grease filter.
  2. Fill it up with water so that the filter can be completely submerged (do not place the filter in the pot, yet).
  3. Heat the water, but not enough to boil. Spray a lot of degreaser into this water. Around 20 sprays if there's a lot of grease that needs to be removed.
  4. Place the filter and make sure that it is submerged. Do not let your bare hands touch this mixture as it is slightly acidic.
  5. Leave the filter in the solution for 30 minutes up to an hour.
  6. Remove the filter using tongs and place it in the sink and scrub hard on both sides.

Method 3: Vinegar and Baking Soda Solution

As an alternative to method 2, you could also use a combination of vinegar and baking soda to get the job done.

  1. Find a pot large enough for the filter and sufficiently fill it up with water.
  2. Bring the water to a boil.
  3. Once boiling add 3 tablespoons of vinegar and 2 teaspoons of baking soda to the solution, one after another. Add the baking soda in slowly and not all in one go.
  4. Place the filter and let it stay for 30 minutes to an hour.
  5. Remove the filter using tongs and place it in the sink and scrub hard on both sides.

4. Scrub the filters

If necessary, and your filters are beyond greasy, use some elbow grease and a scourer or dish brush to scrub away at the filters.

Scrub the filters. Picture: Ross Campbell

How to Clean Range Hood Filters in the Dishwasher

If you want to put your range hood filters in the dishwasher, it’ll do most of the work for you.

Be sure to avoid cleaners and dish detergents with bleach.

  1. Rinse the filter off in your sink.
  2. Wipe off the loose food and grease.
  3. Place the filters in the bottom rack with a regular load. You may need to run multiple loads.
  4. Wipe the filters completely dry with a soft towel, polishing in the direction of the stainless steel grain.

How to Clean a Range Hood Filter

You'll need just a few basic cleaning supplies to complete this easy kitchen cleaning task.

What You Need:

  • Mr. Clean multipurpose cleaner
  • Scrub brush
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Dishwasher tab (optional)
  • Dish towel

Step 1: Locate and Remove Range Hood Filter

First, find the filter on your range hood and remove it. On most range hoods, the filter is visible on the underside of the hood. Depending on your range hood, the filter might have handles on it that you simply grab and slide backward to pull out. Other range hood filters might have a pinching mechanism that you must squeeze in order to slide out. If you aren't sure where your range hood filter is or how to remove it properly, consult your owner's manual. Once you've successfully removed the filter, take it to the sink to assess before cleaning. 

Step 2: Assess Range Hood Filter

If you have never cleaned your range hood filter before—especially if you cook a lot—you might be better off replacing it with a new one, McAllister says. Take a look at your filter to determine if it is completely clogged and covered. If that's the case, consider purchasing a range hood filter replacement, and remember to clean the new filter in about a month.

Step 3: Clean Range Hood Filter

If the filter isn't in need of a replacement, it's time to clean it. McAllister offers two options for cleaning your range hood filter. The first option is to spray it with Mr. Clean multipurpose cleaner ($3, The Home Depot) and let it sit for 10 minutes. Then wash the filter with a scrub brush ($6, Walmart).

The second option is to use hot water and a liberal amount of dish soap to scrub the range hood filter. "I usually tell people to soak them in one dishwasher tab for a couple hours," McAllister says. "You will just have to soak it longer if you have never cleaned it before. Potentially overnight!" However, she cautions that aluminum filters can tarnish. The most common range hood filters are either aluminum, steel, or charcoal, so check the material of your filter before choosing this option.

Related: Here's Every Winner from Our 2021 Clean House Awards

Step 4: Replace Range Hood Filter

Once your range hood filter is clean, wipe it dry with a dish towel and return it to the underside of your range. Now your filter can get back to work so you can enjoy fresh air. 

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.

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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.

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2. Fill a sink with boiling water, baking soda and dish soap

Make sure you have a large enough sink or bucket and fill with hot, soapy water, then add dish soap and 1/4 cup baking soda.

Fill a sink with boiling water, dish soap and baking soda. Picture: Ross Campbell

Tools

  1. Wear gloves if you are working with TSP or ammonia because they are both caustic. Use either of these cleaners in a well-ventilated space or outdoors to keep you from breathing in the fumes. A soft scrub brush or old toothbrush helps scrub off thick or dried grease and oil. Paper towels or lint-free shop cloths are good to have on hand for draining and air-drying your vent filters.

4. Spray the Inside

While the filter is out of your vent hood and drying, this is a good opportunity to take a look inside and see if there are any issues. Sometimes, the grease makes its way through the duct, which can be dangerous in severe cases. Simply spray the inside with an all-purpose cleaner, let soak for 5 minutes if needed, and wipe all that icky grease away.

Clean away any stains on the underside of the hood

Now it’s time for the underside of the hood, around where the vent is installed. If it’s been a while since the hood was cleaned, this spot may be a blackened mess. It’s a good idea to switch to a scrubbing brush to tackle any large grease or ash deposits here. Gas ranges tend to get especially dirty in this area.

Some people like to use OxiClean for these stains, and if you have any around, it’s a great product to start with. Otherwise, try a grease-cutting dish soap and a pan filled with a mixture of warm water and baking soda. For bad build-up, turn the baking soda into a paste and apply it to the underside of the hood, then wait for half an hour or so: Baking soda is famous for neutralizing acidic compounds and can break apart some of the bonds holding grease in place.

Remember to wipe regularly with clean rags or paper towels to remove the layers of grease, and finish up with a gentle cleaning spray. This strategy also works well for the inside of your oven. Just be sure to avoid toxic cleaners that can cause fumes, and steer clear of these 11 ways you’re probably cleaning your kitchen wrong.

Soak your grates and filters

Don't forget about soaking your grates. "When cleaning your hood range, please also consider underneath—oftentimes these appliance add-ons have grates with built-in filters—most of which are stainless steel," Trefethen says. "Removing them is simple, as is soaking them in warm, soapy water to clean out any of the channels. Rinse them and place them back."

mld106991_0411_sink81.jpg Credit: Johnny Miller

Cleaning Different Parts of the Range Hood 

After you clean the large surfaces of the vent hood, consider cleaning these parts too. First, shut off the breaker that supplies power to your range hood exhaust fan.  

The grate or filter. This is the mesh-like part that sits above your stove and draws in air when you’re cooking. Learning how to clean the range hood filter starts with making baking soda your friend. In a shallow dish tub or baking sheet, mix one part baking soda with three parts hot water. Remove the filter from the hood by pulling or sliding it out. Soak it in the solution for 15 to 20 minutes. Then use a soft bristle brush to dislodge the remaining grime. Rinse the grate with clean water and dry it before putting it back in the range hood. If you’re tempted to throw the filter in the dishwasher, think again. The grease may lodge itself in the dishwasher spray arms or drain, which will be a hassle to clean later.  

The range hood fan. The fan is tucked behind the filter, where it pulls the hot air from the kitchen and pushes it outside. If you want to learn how to clean a range hood fan, first identify if your fan is screwed in or secured with rivets. Riveted fans should not be removed from the hood. If it has screws on the fan cover, you can remove those with a drill and screwdriver bit. Remove the fan assembly from the hood, and unscrew the cover. The nut securing the blades on some fans turns the opposite of traditional, so be prepared to turn clockwise to loosen. Remove the blades, but do not mix them up. They are designed directionally and will not function properly if switched. Let the blades soak in warm, soapy water for half an hour. Then scrub off the remaining grime, dry the fan blades, reassemble the fan, and reinstall it.  

The range hood duct. As all the greasy hot air from your cooking flows into the vent hood, most of the mess is captured by the filter. However, some goes through to the fan or even the duct that takes the air outside. If you have a ducted range hood, ideally, you shouldn’t have to clean the duct at all. But if you never really give the range hood a good cleaning, it’s possible the duct is full of grease. So, how do you clean a range hood duct? Call in the experts. No, really—cleaning kitchen ductwork requires specific tools and training. 

Related Topic: The Best Range Hoods to Keep Your Kitchen Ventilated 

When to Call a Professional

If the vent fan is not working—and you have no idea why—it's time to call a repair professional. Before you make the call, try to clean the interior parts, including the motor and fan, and if you notice the ventilation is not working, or a loud sound lingers, the fan may be malfunctioning. The motor might need to be cleaned to prevent rubbing or grinding.

If a motor needs replacement, it can cost about $100 to replace. However, if the whole assembly needs replacement, it can average about $500—more or less, depending on the model and your region.

Another indicator that you need to call a repair professional is if the lights or buttons are not working. It can be an electrical wiring problem requiring an electrician or service professional to diagnose and fix it.

You'll Be a Better Baker With a Clean Oven

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