How To Clean A Range Hood Filter

Range hood filters are an essential component in any kitchen, as they help to remove grease, smoke, and odors from the air. However, over time these filters can become clogged with grime and require cleaning.

In this article, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to clean range hood filters effectively.


Gather Tools and Materials for Cleaning

Before you start cleaning your range hood filter, make sure you have all the necessary tools and materials on hand. Here are some items that will come in handy during the cleaning process:

Tools and Materials

  • Dish soap
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Scrub brush or sponge
  • Large bucket or sink
  • Microfiber cloth

Choosing the Best Cleaning Method for Your Range Hood Filter (Metal, Charcoal, etc.)

There are different types of range hood filters, such as metal and charcoal, and each may require a different cleaning method. It’s important to know what type of filter you have before starting the cleaning process. Here are some common methods for cleaning various types of range hood filters:

Metal Range Hood Filters

Metal range hood filters can be cleaned with hot water, dish soap, and a scrub brush or sponge. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Remove the filter from the range hood.
  2. Fill a large bucket or sink with hot water and add a few drops of dish soap.
  3. Place the filter in the soapy water and let it soak for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Use a scrub brush or sponge to gently scrub the filter, paying extra attention to any stuck-on grime.
  5. Rinse the filter with hot water and dry it off with a microfiber cloth.
  6. Place the clean filter back in the range hood.

Charcoal Range Hood Filters

Charcoal range hood filters cannot be cleaned like metal filters as they will lose their effectiveness. It’s best to replace charcoal filters every 6-12 months, depending on usage.

If you have a non-replaceable charcoal filter, it can be cleaned by vacuuming off any loose debris and then brushing with a mixture of baking soda and water. Rinse thoroughly and let it dry before placing it back in the range hood.

Baffle Range Hood Filters

Baffle filters are designed with unique curves that change the direction of airflow, trapping grease particles effectively. Cleaning baffle filters is a relatively simple process that can be done with common household items.

  1. Remove the filter from the range hood.
  2. Fill a basin with hot water and mix in dish soap until it’s well-dissolved.
  3. Submerge the filter in the soapy water and let it soak for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Use a non-abrasive brush to scrub each baffle slot thoroughly.
  5. Rinse the filter with hot water until no soap suds remain.
  6. Dry the filter completely before reinstalling. You can use a towel, or leave it to air dry.

Note: For stubborn grease build-up, a degreaser cleaning product may be used. However, always make sure to rinse thoroughly to avoid residue.

Mesh Range Hood Filters

Mesh filters, on the other hand, have multiple layers of fine metal mesh to catch grease particles. These filters can become clogged over time and require a more thorough cleaning method.

  1. Remove the filter from the range hood.
  2. Fill a basin or sink with boiling water. Add a cup of baking soda and a few drops of dish soap.
  3. Submerge the filter in the cleaning solution and let it soak for 30 minutes.
  4. After soaking, use a soft brush to gently scrub the mesh to remove any remaining grime.
  5. Rinse the filter thoroughly under hot running water.
  6. Allow the filter to dry completely before reinstalling.

Note: If the filter is particularly grimy, it may be beneficial to repeat the process or use a specialized cleaner designed for mesh filters. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions if using a commercial cleaner.

metal range hood filter

Tips for Maintaining Clean Range Hood Filters

Regular maintenance of your range hood filters can extend their lifespan and keep your kitchen air clean. Here are a few tips to help maintain clean range hood filters:

  • Clean metal filters once a month or more frequently if heavily used.
  • Replace charcoal filters every 6-12 months, depending on usage.
  • Use a degreaser or white vinegar to remove tough grease buildup.
  • Wipe down the exterior of your range hood regularly to prevent grease buildup on the surface.

Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning a Range Hood Filter

Above, we briefly covered how to clean a metal range filter. Now let’s dive into more detail with a step-by-step guide.

1. Safety first:

Before you start cleaning your range hood filters, ensure that the appliance is turned off and unplugged from the power source. This will prevent any accidents or injuries while handling the filters.

2. Remove the filters:

Most range hoods have removable filters that can be easily taken out for cleaning. Refer to your user manual or manufacturer’s instructions on how to remove them properly.

They are often secured with clips, screws, or slide mechanisms that make them relatively easy to remove.

  • Clipped Filters: If your range hood filter is secured with clips, simply unlatch these to free the filter. Depending on the model, you may need to press, pull, or slide the clips to release the filter.
  • Screwed Filters: For filters attached with screws, you’ll need an appropriate screwdriver. Carefully unscrew each one, ensuring you don’t lose them. Once all screws are removed, the filter should slide out easily.
  • Slide Mechanism Filters: In some models, filters are installed with a sliding mechanism. To remove these, slide the filter towards the edge of the range hood until it’s free. Be careful not to apply too much force as it could damage the filter or the slide mechanism.

Remember to handle the filter carefully to avoid damage, especially if it’s a metal filter with sharp edges. Once you have successfully removed the filter, you can proceed to clean it as recommended. Cast Iron Care 101: Tips and Tricks for Cleaning and Storing Your Pan

3. Pre-cleaning:

To give your range hood filters a quick pre-clean, start by using a brush or a soft cloth to gently remove any loose debris or dirt particles. This step is crucial as it helps to ensure that the subsequent cleaning process is more effective and thorough.

By taking the time to pre-clean your filters, you’ll be able to maintain their performance and extend their lifespan, ultimately keeping your kitchen air clean and fresh.

4. Soak in hot soapy water:

Fill a sink or large basin with hot water and add a generous amount of dish soap or degreaser. Submerge the range hood filters completely in the soapy water and let them soak for about 15-20 minutes.

The hot water helps to loosen up stubborn grease buildup.

5. Scrubbing:

After soaking, take each filter one at a time and use a non-abrasive brush (such as a toothbrush) or sponge to scrub away the remaining grease and residue from both sides of the filter thoroughly.

Pay extra attention to areas with heavy buildup.

6. Rinse thoroughly:

Once you’ve scrubbed all sides of each filter, rinse them under warm running water until all soap residue is removed entirely.

7. Drying:

Shake off excess water gently from the cleaned filters and leave them to air dry completely before reinstalling them back into your range hood unit.

8. Clean external surfaces:

While waiting for the filters to dry, take this opportunity to wipe down the exterior surfaces of your range hood.

Use a mild kitchen cleaner or soapy water and a soft cloth to remove any grease or dirt.

9. Reinstall the filters:

Once the filters are completely dry, put them back into their original positions in the range hood unit. Make sure they are securely fitted before using your range hood again.

10. Regular maintenance:

To keep your range hood filters clean and functioning correctly, it’s essential to perform regular maintenance. Refer to your user manual for specific recommendations on how often you should clean or replace your range hood filters.

Following a regular cleaning schedule can save you time and money in the long run by preventing potential clogs or malfunctions.

Using Commercial Cleaners or Degreasers to Deep Clean your Range Hood Filter

In addition to hot soapy water, you can also use specific commercial cleaners or degreasers to deep clean your range hood filters.

These products have been specifically designed to effectively dissolve stubborn grease and residue buildup.

However, it is crucial to carefully follow the instructions provided with the product and ensure its compatibility with your specific type of filter. By doing so, you can safely and effectively maintain optimal performance. How To Clean A Washing Machine

Reinstalling and Testing the Efficiency of Your Cleaned Range Hood Filter

Once your range hood filters are cleaned, dried, and reinstalled in the unit, it’s time to test their efficiency.

Turn on your range hood and observe how well it draws up cooking fumes and odors. If you notice a significant difference in performance, then you have successfully deep-cleaned your range hood filters.

Remember to follow the recommended cleaning schedule to enjoy fresh, clean air in your kitchen every time you cook.

Types of FiltersCleaning Frequency
Metal filtersEvery 2 weeks
Charcoal filtersEvery 6-12 months

By regularly cleaning and maintaining your range hood filters, you can ensure a healthier cooking environment for you and your family.

Identifying When Your Range Hood Filter Needs Replacing

While regular cleaning can significantly extend the lifespan of your range hood filter, there will come a time when replacement is necessary. Here are some key signs to look out for that might indicate it’s time to replace your range hood filter:

  • Persistent Odors: If you start to notice cooking smells lingering even after you’ve turned off your range hood, it might indicate that your filter is no longer working effectively.
  • Visible Grease Buildup: Over time, your range hood filter will accumulate grease. If you find that grease buildup remains even after thoroughly cleaning the filter, it could be a sign that the filter has reached the end of its life.
  • Reduced Airflow: If you’re noticing reduced suction when your range hood is turned on, this might be due to a clogged or overly saturated filter.
  • Visibly Damaged: Visible damage such as dents, holes or rust on your filter is a clear sign that it needs to be replaced.
  • Time Since Last Replacement: Manufacturers will often provide a recommended timeframe for replacing filters. Metal filters generally last longer and can be cleaned and reused multiple times. Charcoal filters, however, cannot be cleaned and should be replaced every 6-12 months depending on usage.

By paying attention to these signs, you can make an informed decision about when it’s time to replace your range hood filter. Remember, a functioning range hood filter is essential for maintaining clean air in your kitchen.

Hacks for Removing Stubborn Buildups and Efficiently Drying Filters

While the traditional method of soap and water works wonders for routine cleaning, sometimes, stubborn buildups on your range hood filters might need a little extra push. Here are a few hacks that can come in handy during those situations:

  1. Baking Soda and Vinegar: These kitchen staples can work as a potent mixture to deal with stubborn grease. Mix equal amounts of vinegar and baking soda in a bowl until it forms a paste. Apply this paste to the filters and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. Rinse off with warm water. The combination of the abrasive baking soda and acidic vinegar will help break down the grease.
  2. Boiling Water: Sometimes, the simplest solutions can be the most effective. Boiling your metal filters can help dissolve the grease and grime that’s stuck on them. Make sure to boil them in a container large enough to fully submerge the filters.

When it comes to drying your filters, airflow is essential. Here are some tips to dry them efficiently:

  1. Use a Hair Dryer: A hairdryer can be an efficient way to get rid of excess moisture from the filters. Ensure you set the hairdryer on a low heat setting to prevent any damage to the filters.
  2. Leave them in the Sun: If you have a sunny day, place the filters outside in the sun. The natural heat will evaporate the water, and the breeze can help speed up the drying process.

Remember, a dry filter not only reassembles more easily but also reduces the risk of bacterial growth. Always ensure filters are entirely dry before reinstalling.

Taking care of your range hood filters requires the right cleaning products and tools. Here are some recommendations that can help you maintain the cleanliness and efficiency of your filters.

The links below are Amazon affiliate links in which I get paid a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Commercial Degreasers:

  1. KRUD KUTTER KK32: An excellent choice for removing stubborn grease and oil stains. It’s non-toxic and safe for food-prep surfaces.
  2. Easy-Off Professional Fume Free Max Oven Cleaner: This product not only cleans ovens but is also effective for dissolving grease and grime on range hood filters.

Cleaning Tools:

  1. OXO Good Grips Deep Clean Brush Set: A versatile cleaning brush set that can reach into the nooks and crannies of your filters.
  2. Full Circle Tenacious C Cast Iron Brush and Scraper: Ideal for scrubbing away stubborn residues on metal filters.

Natural Cleaning Agents:

  1. Arm & Hammer Baking Soda: A natural cleaning agent that is safe and effective for dissolving grease.
  2. Heinz Distilled White Vinegar: Helps to break down stubborn grease when used in combination with baking soda.

Remember, while these products can assist in the cleaning process, the most crucial factor is regular and thorough cleaning of your range hood filters. Always ensure to follow the cleaning instructions provided by the manufacturer.


Properly maintaining and regularly cleaning your range hood filters can not only extend their lifespan but also ensure that your kitchen air is free of harmful contaminants.

J.S. Diyhouseskills

I’m J.S., I created and am the content manager at I do the research and write the articles that appear on this website. I’ve learned many household skills during my life and think it’s important to at least know the basics so that you can save yourself time and money… READ FULL BIO >