How to Clean a Greasy Kitchen Range Hood Filter

Keeping your kitchen range hood clean is important for hygiene and proper ventilation. Over time, grease can build up on the filters, diminishing airflow and increasing the risk of fire. Cleaning your range hood filters regularly is an easy process that doesn’t take much time or effort.

Supplies Needed

To clean your range hood filters, you will need:

  • Dish soap or degreaser – Look for a soap or degreaser specifically made for removing kitchen grease. Regular dish soap can work in a pinch.
  • Old toothbrush or cleaning brush – This will help scrub off stubborn grease deposits.
  • Sponge or cleaning rag – For wiping away grease. Paper towels can also work.
  • Container for soaking filters – A sink, basin or plastic container large enough to submerge the filters.
  • Rubber gloves (optional) – To protect your hands from harsh cleaning solutions.

Removing the Filter

Before cleaning the range hood filter, you will need to remove it. The method for removal depends on your specific model but usually involves:

  • Locating the lever tabs, screws or latches holding the filter in place. These are typically on the underside or the back of the hood.
  • Releasing the tabs/screws so you can detach the filter. Some models have filters that slide out.
  • Carefully pulling the filter away from the hood vent. Make sure not to bend or warp it.
  • If you have multiple filters, remove them all and set aside.

Cleaning Grease Off the Filter

Once removed, follow these steps to clean the filter:

1. Rinse Under Hot Water

Rinse the filter briefly under hot water to remove any loose debris and soften the grease.

2. Soak in Degreaser

Place the filter in your soaking container and cover completely with hot water and dish soap or degreaser. Let it soak for at least 10 minutes. The longer it can soak, the better.

3. Scrub With a Brush

Use an old toothbrush, cleaning brush or other scrubbing device to scrub all over the filter surface. This will break up stuck-on grease deposits. Scrub both sides.

4. Rinse Well

Rinse the filter thoroughly with hot water to remove all soap residue. Keep rinsing until the water runs clear.

5. Dry Completely

Allow the filter to air dry completely before replacing, so no moisture gets inside the hood. A well-ventilated area works best.

6. Replace the Filter

Once fully dry, put the filter back in place and secure it correctly. Run the hood briefly to check for airflow.

Tips for Preventing Grease Build-Up

Regular cleaning keeps grease from accumulating and hardening on the filter. Here are some tips to minimize grease:

  • Clean the filter at least every 3-6 months depending on usage.
  • When cooking fatty or greasy foods, turn the hood on high.
  • Keep the fan running for 10-15 minutes after cooking to clear residual grease.
  • Scrape off and wipe up extra grease splatters after cooking.
  • Use the stove’s rear burners whenever possible, as they produce less grease splatter.
  • Install a splatter screen when frying foods.
  • Clean the hood surface above the stove with degreaser to prevent grease drips.

When to Replace the Filter

Over time, range hood filters can become too coated in grease or get bent or otherwise damaged. If the filter remains greasy and blackened even after thorough cleaning, it likely needs replacement. Most manufacturers recommend replacing filters every 6-12 months.

Avoiding Hazards When Cleaning

To safely clean your range hood filters:

  • Never operate the hood without the filters in place.
  • Turn off power to the range before removing filters.
  • Allow filters to cool before handling if the hood was recently used.
  • Take care not to drop filters or bang them around during cleaning.
  • Wear rubber gloves when using potent degreasers. Avoid skin contact.
  • Dry filters thoroughly and replace them securely before turning the hood back on.

Proper maintenance keeps your range hood running cleanly and efficiently for healthier air quality and safety in the kitchen. By regularly cleaning the filters, you can keep grease from building up and compromising performance. Just be sure to take safety precautions. With the right techniques and supplies, removing that caked-on grease will be a breeze.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cleaning Range Hood Filters

How often should I clean my range hood filter?

It’s recommended to clean most range hood filters every 3-6 months. If you cook frequently, especially greasy foods, clean every 2-3 months. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific model.

What’s the best way to clean really stuck-on grease?

Letting the filters soak in hot water and degreaser works best for stubborn grease. You can soak for up to an hour. Scrubbing with a brush is also key. Avoid harsh abrasives that can damage the filter mesh.

Do I need special cleaning products for my filters?

Any degreaser designed for kitchens will work on a range hood filter. Look for ones that specify they cut through grease. Dish soap can also work if let to soak in. Avoid caustic oven cleaners.

How do I know when it’s time to replace my filters?

If the filter remains coated in grease and soot despite thorough cleaning, it should be replaced. Also replace if the mesh is deteriorating, heavily dented, or no longer fits correctly. Most need replacing every 6-12 months.

Why does my range hood seem weak even after I clean the filter?

Make sure to rinse the filter thoroughly after cleaning. Soap residue left on it can reduce airflow. Also check for damage, proper fit when replacing, and clean fan blades and ductwork. Call a technician if issues persist.


Regularly cleaning your kitchen range hood filters is easy to do with some basic supplies and steps. By removing built-up grease, you’ll keep your range hood working properly for air quality, ventilation, and safety. Be sure to also take measures in your cooking habits to prevent excessive grease accumulation between cleanings. With a little diligent care, your range hood filter will run cleanly for years.