A clean range hood filter keeps the unit working properly. The filter catches all the grease and food particles that get sucked up into the range hood so it doesn't get into the vent. If you forget to clean the filter, you won't get the proper ventilation, and the built-up gunk could attract pests. Cleaning range hood filters is one of those tasks that seems annoying, but it is actually quite easy with the right tools.
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Stove Filter Cleaning Frequency
How often you need to clean your stove filter depends on your cooking habits. If you rarely cook, you won't have to tackle the project too often. If you cook three meals a day with lots of greasy foods on the menu, you'll need to scrub your filter more frequently.
At minimum, plan at least one good, thorough filter cleaning per year. Twice a year is even better. Increase that frequency if you cook all the time. Clean the filter immediately if you notice the visible build-up of grease and food.
Remove the Stove Filter
The easiest way to clean your filter is by removing it from the range hood. Refer to your hood's owner's manual if you're not sure how to remove it. You'll find the filter underneath the range hood. It usually pops or slides out of the hood for removal.
Make a Do-it-Yourself Cleaning Solution
The best degreaser for range hood filters is a simple dish soap designed to cut grease. You can use the soap and baking soda to make a DIY range hood filter cleaner.
Fill a pot large enough to hold the filter with water, and heat it on your stove until it's almost boiling. Add a few tablespoons of dish soap and about 1/2 cup of baking soda to the water. Stir the ingredients into the water to prepare it for the filter.
Soak the Stove Filter
Place the filter in the water so it's fully submerged. You can also do half of the filter at a time if your pot isn't large enough for the entire filter. Another option is to heat the water in a pot, then pour it into a rimmed baking pan or similar container that will hold the filter.
Give it about 10 minutes to soak so the baking soda and dish soap can eat away at the grease and food remnants. If the filter is really greasy, let it soak longer before you start scrubbing.
Scrub Away the Grease
Soaking will help dissolve a lot of the gunk on the filter, but you'll likely need to do a little scrubbing to get it completely clean. A toothbrush works well for getting into the small gaps in the filter, but you can use any soft-bristled brush. Avoid using anything abrasive, as it might damage or scratch the filter.
Run the brush over all surfaces of the stove filter. Pay extra attention to visible grease and food marks. Work the bristles into small crevices and gaps to clean away particles you can't see. If you only did half of the filter, flip it over and repeat the process for the other end.
Rinse, Dry and Replace
When you're satisfied with your cleaning job, rinse the filter thoroughly with fresh, clean water to remove all remaining soap or grease. Inspect the filter again to see if you missed any areas.
Dry the filter with a clean towel to remove all moisture from it. Put the filter back in place in the range hood per the instructions for your unit.
Dishwasher Cleaning Method
Range hood filters are usually dishwasher-safe. Using your dishwasher is a great way to keep the filter clean on a regular basis.
Pop it in the dishwasher using the hottest water possible every month or even more frequently to keep the filter clean. Those regular dishwasher sessions may eliminate the need for the more involved soaking and scrubbing method. The dishwasher removes the gunk before it can build up on the filter.
Shelley Frost combines her love of DIY and writing in her freelance career. She has first-hand experience with tiling, painting, refinishing hardwood floors, installing lighting, roofing and many other home improvement projects. She keeps her DIY skills fresh with regular projects around the house and extensive writing work on the topic.