The modern kitchen has come with lots of improvements both to improve efficiency and to maintain the décor. In the past, stoves, microwaves, ovens, and blenders were some of the kitchen appliances that were prioritized more than anything else. Today, the range hood has taken the center stage as a focal point in most kitchens due to its design and purpose. But, even though that’s the case, how much do you really know about how to clean range hood filters?
You see, range hoods come in all sorts of styles and designs ranging from metal, stainless, copper to bronze range hoods. In fact, most manufacturers have gone ahead to customize their range hoods with Venetian plaster and rustic barn wood just to allow them to fit on different kitchen decors.
However, the decorative side of the range hood isn’t the main issue here but rather what is hidden underneath. Here, there’s the oscillating fan, the ductwork, and the filters.
Although the exterior may be beautiful and captivating to the eye, the performance of your range hood is what is important and it all begins with a clean filter.
So, to cut the long story short, this short guide will discuss the various methods you can use to clean your range hood filters to turn them from their former grease to glory.
But First, How Does a Range Hood Work?
Before we get to our main topic, I think it’s important that you first understand how range hood filters work in terms of sucking out smokes, odors, and fumes. At least this will help you better understand why it’s so vital to clean them often.
First and foremost, there are two types of range hoods—the ducted and the ductless hoods. While ducted hoods duct kitchen smokes and odors to the outside (with the help of ductwork), their ductless counterparts work by sucking the odors, smells and greases then passing them through charcoal filters to filter the air then recirculate it back to the kitchen as fresh clean air.
Due to their ductless characteristics, these range hoods are easier to install hence the best for rental apartments where messing with the walls is totally restricted. Secondly, the filters are highly functional as they suck out all odors and greases to prevent your walls and the space around your kitchen from yellowing.
How Often Should you Clean your Range Hood Filters?
Since your range hood is a ductless model, the greases, smokes, and odors remain trapped inside the stainless steel filters causing grease buildup over time. If this buildup exceeds the recommended level, several things are likely to happen.
- First, the motor inside can easily be clogged causing the range hood to lose its efficiency.
- Secondly, the air vents are likely to clog making it difficult for kitchen odors and smokes to pass through.
- Finally, since grease rises in form of steam and vapor, in case it gets clogged in excess, there can be a possible risk of fire keeping in mind the range hood rests just above the stove.
So, at a minimum, a kitchen range hood requires thorough cleaning at least once every year. However, how often you need to clean it up will greatly depend on how enthusiastic you are when it comes to cooking.
If you’re a regular cooker, then cleaning the filter more than once annually will be recommended. If you’re an occasional cooker on the other hand, then cleaning the filters just once will suffice. If you’re unable to tell how regular you should clean the filters, then it’s best if you purchase a range hood that has an automatic alert to signal you when to clean the filters.
Reasons to Clean your Range Hood Filters
As an integral part of your kitchen, the range hood requires thorough cleanup both inside and on the outside. Here are four reasons that explain why top cleanliness is required.
- To Maintain Hygiene: Remember, your range hood is located just above your stove next to your food. If it’s not cleaned regularly, the sludge inside will attract bacteria, bugs, and cockroaches which might breed then spread throughout the house.
- Safety: As we mentioned earlier, the accumulation of grease can cause a fire hazard. Therefore, by cleaning your filters regularly, you can easily prevent and reduce these hazards.
- Improves Efficiency: By cleaning your filters, you’re able to unblock clutter on the motor and air vents thus allowing smokes and odors to be sucked more efficiently.
- Longevity: Finally, regular cleaning of your filters enhances the longevity of the entire range hood, as sludge and pests won’t compromise with the electronic parts.
Now that we’ve covered everything you need to know about range hood filters, let’s now discuss the various methods you can employ to clean the filters.
Best Ways to Clean Range Hood Filters
Method 1: Using Degreasing Dish Soap and Baking Soda
Things you’ll Need
- Hot boiling water
- Degreasing dish soap
- ¼ cup of baking soda
- A dish-cloth
- Non-abrasive scrub brush
- Step 1. Remove the Filters: Start by removing the filters from their respective position. Most filters are covered with either plastic or aluminum covers which you’re supposed to remove first using a screwdriver. The filters themselves can be detached using different methods depending on the model of your range hood. Some are attached using screws while others will only need you to press to free them.
- Step 2. Add Boiling Water in a Sink or Bucket: Once you’ve removed the filters from the range, put them aside and pour boiling water inside a bucket or the sink. If you have a large bowl, then it’s fine. The main point here is to have a working area that’s wide enough to fit your filters. Make sure the water is as hot as possible to make the cleaning process fast and efficient.
- Step 3. Add Degrading Dish Soap and Baking Soda: Once the water is ready, add a ¼ cup of the baking soda and one tablespoonful of degrading dish soap to the water then mix until the hot water is entirely soapy.
- Step 4: Insert your Greasy Filters: Once the water is disturbed, insert the greasy filters in the boiling water and push them until they’re entirely soaked. Leave them for about 10 minutes to allow the soap and the baking soda to act on the tough stains.
- Step 5. Scrub the Filter: In case the stains are tough, use a non-abrasive scrub brush to scrub the surface of the filters until they’re spotlessly clean.
- Step 6. Rinse and Dry the Filters: Once the filters are clean, rinse them using hot clean water then use a clean dry dish-cloth to dry them.
- Step 7. Replace the Filters: The filters will need to be entirely dry before you can replace them. So, if you’re certain they’re dry, then you can proceed to replace them to the range hood.
Method 2: Using Dishwasher Detergent
- Dishwasher detergent
- Warm water
- Baking sheet
- Step 1. Remove the Filters from the Hood: As usual, remove the filters from the hood then wet them with warm water to remove loose debris and greases.
- Step 2. Place the Filters Inside a Baking Sheet: Once the filters are completely drenched in water, put them inside the baking sheet with the most affected side facing up. Using an old toothbrush spread a generous amount of dishwasher detergent on the surface of the filters (one at a time). Make sure every part of the filters, including the tiny holes, are entirely covered with the dishwasher detergent.
- Step 3. Allow it to Rest for 20 Minutes: Once you’ve spread the detergent across all sections of the filter, allow it to rest for about 15—20 minutes to allow the detergent to penetrate and remove the greases. In case the stains are severe, you can allow the filters to rest for up to an hour.
- Step 4. Rinse the Filters over the Sink: Once you’ve soaked the filters, and you’re certain they’re clean, you can remove them and rinse them with warm flowing water. Make sure you rinse both sides thoroughly and if possible, use a hose attachment to increase the pressure of the water. The water pressure will help to remove small particles that might have stuck between the spaces.
- Step 5: Double-Check the Filters: Sometimes the filters might be significantly soiled. In such a case, you can consider repeating the process and this time, add more detergent and scrub the tough stains using an old toothbrush.
Method 3: Using Ammonia
You Will Need
- Hot soapy water
- Releasable plastic bag
- Step 1. Remove the Filters: Just as the rest of the methods, start by first removing the filters from the range hood.
- Step 2. Place the Filters Inside the Releasable Plastic Bag and Pour the Ammonia: Here, you’ll need to pour in enough ammonia to ensure the dirty filters are entirely covered. Make sure the plastic bag is on a flat surface. By sealing the plastic bag, at least you’ll manage to contain the pungent smell of the ammonia.
- Step 3. Leave the Filters to Stay Overnight: After the filters have stayed overnight in the ammonia solution, remove them gently and place them inside the sink. Here, you don’t have to scrub the surface of the filters as the ammonia will do everything for you. However, in case the debris and the greases don’t come out entirely, then you can consider using a brush to scrub the surface.
- Step 4. Rinse the Filters with hot Water: Block the kitchen sink then add warm soapy water. This will help you to rinse the filters before taking another round of clean warm water. If you have a hose attachment, you might use it here to help remove small particles.
So, if you’ve read up to this point, then you’ve got every bit of information on how you can clean your range hood filters. Whichever method you might wish to pick, always ensure that you perform a thorough cleanup of the filters to remove all debris, greases, and small particles.
Once you’re done, take your time to clean certain parts of the range hood such as areas around the filters, including the fan, to degrease them and ensure that your filters work under a clean environment. If you have some extra time to spare, you can also consider cleaning the outside section of the range hood to make it sparkling clean.