Top 3 Ways to Clean a Range Hood Filter

March 15, 2023 5 min read

What happens when one of your most essential kitchen appliances that helps keep your kitchen looking fresh needs cleaning? Yes, the range hood in your kitchen is a crucial tool that removes smells, vapors, and air pollutants. But its filters must be cleaned often, or the range hood will become a mass polluting source rather than help you maintain a clean kitchen.

Based on the amount of grease and pollutants that get sucked into the range hood filters, they can get clogged over time, making them ineffective. This means your range hood filters must be cleaned regularly to keep them looking good and in pristine working condition.

If you are unsure how to clean your range hood filters and the sticky mess you are staring at looks daunting, rest easy because you are reading the best guide on range hood filter cleaning.

Types of Range Hood Filters

There are two main types of range hood filters: reusable and disposable.

Reusable Filters

Reusable filters are any range hood filters that can be used multiple times. They are typically made of aluminum or stainless steel and can be washed in the dishwasher or by hand. They are eco-friendlier and more cost-effective, as cleaning range hood filters and reusing them is way better than constantly replacing them. Some notable examples are range hood mesh filters.

Disposable Filters

Disposable filters are made of paper or foam and are designed to be replaced when they become clogged with grease and dirt. These filters are less expensive and require less maintenance, but they are not eco-friendly as they must be continually replaced. Top examples include activated charcoal filters, whose primary role in most range hood filter units is to absorb strong odors.

How to Clean Range Hood Filters

Cleaning range hood filters might seem complicated, but this article shows three quick and easy ways to achieve that. They include:

  • With baking soda and vinegar
  • With a degreaser
  • With ammonia and hot soapy water

We will go through a step-by-step method for each cleaning process, and at the end of each, your hood filters should come out minty fresh.

How To Clean a Range Hood Filter With Baking Soda and Vinegar

To clean your range hood filters with baking soda and vinegar, you need the following ingredients and equipment first:

  • A large container
  • Dish soap
  • Hot water
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Non-abrasive scrub brush

The steps are:

  1. Fill the large container with boiling water to the brim.
  2. Next, add about a ¼ cup of baking soda and dish soap to the boiling water to form a pasty cleaning solution.
  3. Add three tablespoons of vinegar to the boiling hot water.
  4. Stir the mixture, preferably with the scrub brush, to avoid burning your hands
  5. Place and submerge the filter in the container.
  6. Leave the filter in the mixture for a minimum of 30 minutes, so the filters soak up the mixture into every hole and pore. This wait time also allows the mixture to break down tough grease and other oily residues on the filter.
  7. With the filter still in the container, scrub its entire surface, front and back, to remove any clinging residues.
  8. Rinse the filter with hot water.
  9. Dry with a clean cloth and take immense pride in your sparkling range hood filter.
  10. Attach the filer back to the range hood and ensure you repeat this process regularly.

How To Clean a Range Hood Filter With a Degreaser

A degreaser is a solvent-based cleaning agent that removes oils, grease, cutting fluids, grime, and other water-insoluble dirt from any hard surface. They are also known as precision, carb, or maintenance cleaners and are objectively used for rapid removals without too much scrubbing or wiping.

To use a degreaser to clean your range hood filter, you will need the following:

  • A container large enough to hold the filter
  • Warm water
  • A degreasing agent
  • Cleaning gloves 
  • Tongs
  • Scrub bush

The steps involved are:

  1. Pour the warm water into the large container.
  2. Then, add the degreasing agent based on the specified water-to-degreaser ratio on the instruction label of the product.
  3. Submerge the filter in the solution carefully with your gloved hand to avoid the mixture touching your hand as it is slightly acidic.
  4. Allow the filter to soak in the solution for one hour to effectively dissolve any grease, oil, and grime on the surface.
  5. Use the tongs to lift the filter and gently scrub any leftover dirt
  6. Rinse thoroughly.
  7. Air dry the filter and wipe it with a clean, lint-free dish towel.
  8. Replace the filter in the hood once it is completely dry.

How To Clean a Range Hood Filter With Ammonia + Hot Soapy Water

Ammonia hydroxide, commonly known as household ammonia, is an excellent cleaning agent ideally suited for cleaning fats, grease, oils, and dirt from your range hood filter. The high alkalinity in ammonia allows it to loosen the bonds in fats, oils, and grease, which enables them to wash off easily with some effort.

It is a cheap cleaning agent and great at leaving household glass, porcelain, and stainless steel surfaces slime-free and looking shiny. However, ammonia is a strong-smelling chemical, so ensure you perform this task in a well-ventilated area.

To use ammonia to clean your range hood filter, you will need the following:

  • A large container
  • Ammonia
  • Hot soapy water
  • Non-abrasive soft brush
  • Protective gloves and nose cover
  • Tongs

The steps are:

  1. Pour a gallon of water into the large container.
  2. Add ¼ cup of ammonia per gallon of water.
  3. Stir the mixture with the brush.
  4. Place the range hood filter in the container and ensure it is fully submerged in the mixture.
  5. Close the container and leave the filter in the solution for 6-8 hours or overnight. This will allow the ammonia to break down all the grime, grease, and oil on the surface.
  6. Remove the filter with the tongs and rinse with hot soapy water.
  7. Scrub any remaining dirt on the surface and rinse again with water.
  8. Dry with a clean cloth and return the filter back into its range hood compartment when completely dry.

Why You Must Clean Your Range Hood Filter

A dirty range hood filter has several adverse effects that affect not only the effectiveness of the range hood but also your safety. Some of the primary reasons why you must regularly clean your range hood filter are:

  1. An unclean range hood filter becomes a breeding ground for several pathogens, and they eventually find their way back into the kitchen area.
  2. All the grease and oil particles accumulated on your range hood filter make it a fire hazard. Most range hoods are located over the cooktop, and the grease and oil can easily slide down into it, which can start a kitchen fire.
  3. The obstruction caused by the grease, oils, and dirt would render most range hoods ineffective at extracting any new air pollutants in the kitchen.
  4. The fan blowers' life span will be severely reduced as there is added strain of working through the obstructions.
  5. A blocked filter will increase the power drain from the range hood, as it will work at a lower efficiency, drawing more power than usual.

Final Thoughts

Cleaning your range hood filters is a simple but essential task that helps maintain your range hood's performance and efficiency. Whether you have reusable or disposable filters, the process is straightforward and can be done quickly. Maintaining a clean range hood filter unit can help keep your kitchen smelling fresh and ensure your range hood operates optimally.