How to Clean a Range Hood Filter: It's Easier Than You Think

Author: James Zhao, Sr. Tech Specialist & Alex Park, Product Specialist

For many people, range hood filter cleaning sits at the bottom of their weekend to-do list. However, this important kitchen maintenance task is simpler than you might first imagine.

Range hood filters play a crucial role in keeping your kitchen clean and free from smoke, food particles, grease, and unpleasant odors. Over time, these filters can get clogged with grease and grime, reducing their effectiveness and becoming a potential hazard for your kitchen. Regular cleaning your range hood filters is essential to maintaining good air quality in your home.

In this guide from FOTILE, we'll show you how to clean a range hood filter, how often you should do it, and answer some common questions about maintaining your kitchen's air quality.

If you’ve tried cleaning your range hood filters and it’s still not operating like before, it may be time for a new one. Browse Fotile’s range hoods to find the one that works best for your kitchen.

How to Easily Clean Greasy Range Hood Filters

When facing a greasy range hood filter, you might feel tempted to put off cleaning it. Truth be told, cleaning your kitchen range hood filter might not even be something that you’ve ever thought to do. But procrastination can lead to a buildup of grime and odors that your range hood won't effectively remove on its own.

Cleaning these greasy filters is not as complicated as you might think, and doing so can significantly improve your kitchen's air quality and the efficiency of your range hood. Here, we offer a thorough breakdown of the materials you'll need and the step-by-step procedure to turn your grimy filter into a nearly new component.

Materials You Need

Before we cover how to clean a range hood filter, it's essential that we outline all the necessary supplies at hand to make the task more manageable. Here's an itemized list of what you'll need:

  • Hot Water: Temperature plays a crucial role in loosening the grease, so using hot or boiling water is a must. About a gallon should suffice for soaking.
  • Dish Soap: Choose a dish soap known for its grease-fighting properties. A couple of tablespoons should be enough for a sudsy solution capable of tackling the grime.
  • A Large Bowl or Sink: The filter must be fully submerged for effective cleaning. A large bowl or a clean sink will serve this purpose well.
  • A Scrub Brush or an Old Toothbrush: To scrub away the loosened grease and any stubborn spots, you'll need a sturdy brush. While a scrub brush is ideal, an old toothbrush can also work, especially for those hard-to-reach corners.
  • Vinegar (Optional): If your filter has not been cleaned in a long time and has stubborn grime, white vinegar or baking soda serves as an excellent supplemental cleaning agent. About a cup added to the soaking water can make a world of difference.

Armed with these supplies, and some rubber gloves, you're now ready to take on the task of cleaning your greasy range hood filters. Up next, we'll go through the cleaning steps to guide you through the process.

Cleaning Your Range Hood Filter(s)

A grimy range hood filter isn't just an eyesore; it's also a detriment to your kitchen's air quality and the efficiency of your appliance. Restoring it to its former glory involves a series of simple but essential steps.

  • Remove the Filter:
  • First things first, you'll need to get the filter out of its housing in the range hood. This usually involves either sliding it out from a slot or unclipping it from its position.
  • Make sure the range hood is switched off and cool to the touch to avoid any safety hazards.
  • Preparation:
  • This step sets the stage for the entire cleaning operation. Choose a bowl or sink that is large enough to accommodate the filter entirely.
  • Fill it with warm water, as the heat helps in breaking down the grease.
  • Add degreasing dish soap to the water and swirl it around until you see bubbles forming. Aim for a good lather, as this enhances the soap's grease-cutting capabilities.
  • Soak:
  • Carefully lower the filter into the soapy water, ensuring it is entirely submerged. This is crucial as an incomplete soak will not loosen all the grime effectively.
  • Let it rest there for about 10 to 15 minutes. For filters that haven't been cleaned in a while, extending this soak time can be beneficial.
  • Scrub:
  • Once the soaking time has elapsed, grab your scrub brush or old toothbrush. Start scrubbing gently but firmly to dislodge the grease and other build-ups.
  • For especially resistant areas, adding a splash of vinegar to your brush can provide that extra cleaning power. Vinegar's acidity helps break down tough grease spots.
  • Rinse and Dry:
  • After you've removed all the visible grime, it's time for a thorough rinse. Hold the filter under running tap water to wash away any soap or dislodged debris.
  • Once rinsed, shake off the excess water.
  • Place it on a towel to air dry. Make sure it's entirely dry before you reinstall it, as moisture can attract more grease and grime, counteracting all your hard work.

By following this expanded guide from FOTILE, you'll achieve a level of cleanliness that not only makes your range hood filter look like new but also significantly improves its performance and longevity.

How Often You Should Clean Range Hood Filters

The frequency with which you clean your range hood filters has a direct impact on the performance and longevity of the appliance. While a filter coated in grease may still operate, it won't function at its full capacity, leading to reduced air quality in your kitchen and potentially shortening the lifespan of your range hood. A clean filter maximizes airflow and minimizes the workload on the motor, leading to better ventilation and lower energy costs.

Generally speaking, monthly cleaning is a good practice for those who cook regularly. This ensures the removal of airborne grease, fumes, and cooking odors in an efficient manner. But what if you're not an avid cook? If your stovetop sees less action, you can extend the cleaning interval to every two to three months. Nonetheless, if you notice a drop in performance or experience unpleasant odors, it's time for a cleaning session.

Can You Clean Charcoal Filters?

There's a significant difference when it comes to cleaning charcoal filters in comparison to their aluminum or stainless steel counterparts. Commonly found in ductless range hoods, charcoal filters feature activated carbon that is exceptionally good at absorbing and neutralizing odors. However, this unique feature also means that they cannot be washed or cleaned in the same way. Any attempts to clean them with water or soap will impair their odor-absorbing abilities.

How Often You Should Replace Charcoal Filters

If your range hood utilizes charcoal filters, you're not completely off the hook when it comes to maintenance. While cleaning is off the table, regular replacement is crucial for maintaining optimal performance of your range hood. The standard recommendation is to replace your charcoal filters approximately every six months.

However, it's not just about the clock; your cooking habits play a role too. If you're frequently frying, grilling, or cooking foods that generate a lot of smoke or strong odors, you may need to replace the filters more often. Some range hoods come with an indicator that alerts you when the filters need to be replaced, making it easier to maintain peak performance. Keep an eye out for reduced efficiency or increased odors, as these are tell-tale signs that a filter replacement is due.

Cleaning Range Hood Filters FAQs

Shop FOTILE’s Range Hoods Today!

Fotile offers an extensive range of top-notch, easily maintainable range hoods that seamlessly combine function and style. Whether you are a casual cook or a culinary enthusiast, you'll find a range hood that perfectly aligns with your needs and aesthetic preferences.

Our filters are not only efficient at trapping grease and odors but are also designed for hassle-free cleaning. The craftsmanship and design attention ensure that a FOTILE range hood isn't just another appliance but an elegant fixture that enhances your kitchen's overall appeal.

Browse our selection of range hoods and elevate your kitchen experience today.