It doesn't often get the credit it deserves, but your range hood does some heavy lifting when it comes to keeping your kitchen (and consequently, the rest of your house) clean. Your range hood sucks odors up and away from your cooktop and vents them outside to maintain your home's air quality. And within your range hood, a filter helps keep air safe and clean. Designed to trap grease and dirt, range hood filters keep the range hood operating properly. Without it, debris could get trapped in the ductwork and even create a fire hazard.
When was the last time you cleaned your range hood filter? If you participated in our 30 days of spring cleaning, chances are good you've wiped it down recently, but if you're like a lot of homeowners, you might be surprised to learn you even have a range hood filter, let alone need to clean it. We asked Sarah McAllister, founder of the cleaning company and Instagram sensation Go Clean Co, to share her best advice on range hood filter cleaning. Good news: it's not a time-consuming chore.
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
Liquid dish soap
Dishwasher tab (optional)
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.
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 Often to Clean a Range Hood Filter
Without regular cleaning, your range hood filter can get clogged with grease and the air in your kitchen won't properly circulate. For optimal range hood performance, it's best to clean the filter regularly. McAllister recommends cleaning your range hood filter monthly and says to always make sure you run your range hood when you're cooking. "Turning on your range hood is just as important as cleaning it," she says. "If you don't run it, the grease, heavy air, and smells get trapped in your kitchen. This in turn makes your kitchen cabinets, floor, and backsplash sticky and greasy. It has a domino effect."
Cleaning your range hood filter can have a huge benefit on not only the cleanliness of the air but on all of your kitchen surfaces too. With just a few cleaning supplies and 15 minutes each month, you'll be on your way to a cleaner home.