How to Clean a Range Hood Filter (And When You Should)

By Sharon Brandwein

Range hoods are the unsung heroes in many kitchens. Anyone who’s ever misjudged the smoke point of butter or attempted to deep-fry anything will likely be the first to attest to that.

The job of your range hood is to pull smoke and odors from cooking through the filter and the vent to keep your indoor air clear. Over time, the range hood filter collects grease and maybe even tiny food particles, which can clog it and keep it from working effectively. If cooking smells linger in your kitchen or your range hood fails to effectively pull smoke from your kitchen while you’re cooking, then it’s definitely time to clean your range hood vent filter.

In this guide, we show you how to clean a greasy range hood filter. We’ll cover the two most commonly used methods for doing so, and we’ll help you figure out if it’s time to clean yours.

person taking down range hood filter

Photo via Shutterstock

When to Clean a Range Hood Filter

Ideally, you should aim to clean your range hood filters every three months or so, particularly if you're a busy home chef. All and all, it's important to keep in mind how much cooking you do. Someone who cooks 20 days out of a month will likely need to clean their range hood filter far more frequently than someone who only cooks intermittently. 

Moreover, a dirty range hood filter that is clogged with grease and food particles will also be more difficult to clean the longer it's allowed to sit. So, at the very least, your range hood filter should get a thorough cleaning at least once a year.

Assessing Your Range Hood Filter

Before you begin the process of cleaning your range hood filter, you should take a good look at your setup to see what you’re working with. Not only do you need to assess what the filter is made from so you can clean it properly, but if your filter is old, it may be time for a replacement rather than a cleaning.

If your range hood filter is fabric or wire mesh, the steps outlined in the sections ahead will work for both. On the other hand, you cannot clean a charcoal range hood vent filter; they must be replaced every three months or so.

How to Clean a Range Hood Filter with Baking Soda

It may surprise you to learn that it’s relatively easy to clean a range hood filter with some good old-fashioned dish soap and baking soda. Now, this method may get a little turbo boost from some hot water, but it really boils down to dish soap, baking soda, and water—pun intended. 

Tools and Materials Needed 

  • Boiling water
  • ¼ cup of dish soap
  • ¼ cup of baking soda 
  • Stirring utensil
  • Small non-abrasive scrub brush or sponge

Step 1: Remove the Range Hood Filters 

Remove the filters from the range hood. This should be relatively easy as most ranges are designed to simplify this process with filters that sit in a pocket and slide or pop out when needed. More often than not, you’ll need to grab the range hood filter, slide it back just a smidge and then pull it forward to get it out.

Step 2: Fill Your Sink with Boiling Water 

Plug your kitchen sink drain and fill it up about halfway with boiling water. Remember that your goal here is to eradicate the greasy build-up from your filters, so the hotter, the better. Hot tap water probably won’t be hot enough to do the trick; you’ll need to boil the water on a stovetop and pour it into your sink. 

Step 3: Add Dish Soap and Baking Powder

Add a quarter cup of degreasing dish soap and a quarter cup of baking soda into the hot water. Using a kitchen utensil (like a spoon), give the solution a good stir to mix the ingredients. 

Step 4: Soak the Range Hood Filters  

Once you’ve mixed the dish soap into the water, drop the greasy filters into your sink, and make sure they are fully submerged. Let the filters soak for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Step 5: Scrub the Range Hood Filters if Necessary 

After you’ve given the filters enough time to soak in the boiling water, you can follow up with a little elbow grease and scrub away the remainder using a small non-abrasive scrub brush or sponge. If you’re still bumping into some particularly greasy spots, add more dish soap and scrub as needed.

Step 6: Dry the Range Hood Filters and Replace 

Once your filters are clean, give them a final rinse in hot water. At this point, you can dry them by hand or let them air dry and then pop them back into your range hood. 

The Legacy of Dawn

Dawn dish soap is probably the best dish soap to use for this process. In fact, it’s specifically formulated to cut grease from dishes and has an impressive reputation for doing so.

How to Clean a Range Hood Filter with Vinegar

Vinegar’s known for its gentle cleaning power on so many different materials, so it’s no surprise that you can clean a range hood filter with this acidic liquid; here’s how.

Tools and Materials Needed

  • White vinegar
  • Dish soap
  • Tub or sink
  • Small non-abrasive scrub brush

Step 1: Remove the Range Hood Filters 

Remove the filters from the range hood.

Step 2: Add Vinegar 

Add about two cups of white vinegar to a small tub or your kitchen sink. Ideally, there should be enough vinegar in the sink or basin to just cover the filters. So, if you find that two cups isn’t enough, you can always add more. 

Step 3: Mix in Dish Soap

Mix in a healthy squirt of a good degreasing dish soap. 

Step 4: Soak the Range Hood Filters 

Leave your filters to soak in your vinegar-soap solution for about 30 minutes.

Step 5: Scrub the Filters if Necessary 

Once the time is up, use a non-abrasive brush to tackle any tough grease spots that remain after the soak.

Step 6: Dry the Range Hood Filters and Replace 

Once your filters are clean, rinse them in hot water. At this point, you can dry them by hand or let them air-dry and then pop them back into your range hood.

person using towel to wipe outside of range hood

Photo via Shutterstock

How to Clean the Rest of the Range Hood

Cleaning the rest of the range hood is as easy as spraying the range hood with a degreaser and wiping it down with a microfiber rag. If you end up bumping into some particularly tough grease spots, you can make a paste with a bit of baking soda and water, apply it to the trouble spots, and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Once that time is up, hit the stain with a scratchless sponge and a little elbow grease, and you should be set. 

When’s the last time you cleaned your range hood filter and how did you do it? Let us know in the comments below!

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 1 comment
  • Dee Dee on May 30, 2022

    I just put mine in the dishwasher. They come out sparkling clean.