How to Clean a Greasy Range Hood Filter (It’s Easier Than You Think!)

updated Feb 29, 2024
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(Image credit: Cat Meschia)

Your oven may be sparkling clean, but when was the last time you peeked underneath your stove’s hood and checked out the exhaust fan filters? If it’s been awhile or you’ve, um, never done this, let me warn you: It’s not going to be pretty. The purpose of a range hood filter is to collect grease, so if it’s doing its job correctly, it’s going to look and feel, well, greasy.

Over time, the the filter may become so blocked with grease and ickiness that it loses its effectiveness, which is why it’s important to clean these filters periodically. But how often is periodically?

How often should range hood filters be cleaned?

Well, it depends. A good rule of thumb is to clean your range hood filters every two to three months, according to the pros at Proline Range Hoods. If you use your stovetop regularly, fry foods often, or like to cook with a wok, you might want to up that to monthly cleanings; conversely, if you don’t use your stovetop often, they can likely go a few more months without a cleaning.

The experts also note that you should always clean your filters after a major cooking event like a dinner party or holiday feast. When grease and grime start to build up (and you can see it!), that’s a good sign it’s time for a cleaning.

How to Clean a Greasy Range Hood Filter

The tutorial below shows how to clean the filter in your sink with just boiling water, baking soda, and a good de-greasing dish soap (like Dawn). Depending on the material, some hood filters can actually be washed in the dishwasher, but depending on how long it’s been since you’ve cleaned yours, I wouldn’t recommend that without at least cleaning them this way first. (You don’t want too much grease to end up in your dishwasher!)

What You’ll Need

Credit: Cat Meschia
  1. Remove the filters from the hood: Most filters should easily slide or pop out of the underside of the hood. Mine had a metal loop I could grab to push the filter up and slide it out.
Credit: Cat Meschia

2. Fill a sink or bucket with boiling water: The hotter the water, the more effective it is. Depending on how hot you can get the water from your tap, that might be good enough — for me, I boiled water in my electric tea kettle, and poured that into my plugged sink.

Credit: Cat Meschia

3. Pour in baking soda and dish soap: Pour a good squirt of de-greasing dish soap and 1/4 cup baking soda into the hot water. Swish it around with a brush (not your hand because it’s too hot!) until the water is nice and soapy.

Credit: Cat Meschia

4. Put greasy filters in water: Submerge your greasy exhaust fan filters into the water. Make sure they’re completely covered by the water.

Credit: Cat Meschia

5. Let them soak: Allow the filters to soak submerged for 10 minutes.

Credit: Cat Meschia

6. Scrub the filters: After soaking, take a non-abrasive scrub brush and scrub the filters. Add more dish soap to your brush if required while you scrub.

Credit: Cat Meschia

7. Rinse and dry: Rinse the filters thoroughly in hot water and dry with a paper towel or clean cloth.

Credit: Cat Meschia

8. Replace the filters and repeat as needed: Put the filters back into the hood, and repeat as needed!