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How To Clean a Range Hood Filter

Range hoods are designed for specific kitchen range configurations. They usually come with a blower or fan, a light and one or more filters. The filters are designed to remove grease and grime from the air before the range hood fan or blower recirculates the air or vents it to the outdoors. Range hoods that vent the air to the outdoors have a filter screen that is usually located in the ductwork. Hoods that recirculate the air in the room have one or more grease filters and at least one charcoal filter. The charcoal filters are not cleanable. You simply purchase a replacement filter element and install it.

Removing the grease filter

Neglecting a range hood grease filter can be a fire hazard

Neglecting a range hood grease filter can be a fire hazard

  1. Pull back or loosen the clips that hold the grease filter in place in the hood or in the ductwork.
  2. Slide the grease filter out.

To clean the grease filter

  1. There are a number of different methods to cleaning the grease filter. All work equally well. Which method you choose depends primarily on which products you have on hand.
  2. Soak the filter in a degreaser to dissolve the grease.
  3. Wash the filter in a soapy warm water solution.
  4. Set the filter aside to dry.
  5. You can also wash the filter in the dishwasher but clean it as much as possible with a good quality degreaser first so the accumulated grease doesn’t coat the inside of the dishwasher.
  6. Mix a solution of ammonia and warm water and wash the filter with that and a mild bristle brush.
  7. You can also place the filter in a plastic bag with a small amount of ammonia. Close the bag and let the filter soak in it overnight. The next day, rinse the filter in warm water and let it dry.
  8. Some people take their range hood filter to a car wash and use the powerful high pressure spray and detergent to clean the filter. If you do, be careful not to damage the soft aluminum filter mesh.
  9. Oven cleaner works well to clean range hood filters but check the label to make sure it is compatible with the aluminum mesh. Some oven cleaners will dissolve the aluminum.
  10. Another home made remedy for grease build-up on range hood filters is to soak them in a solution of vinegar and cream of tartar1. This process may require multiple applications.

Tips

Be careful about mixing chemicals to clean the filter. Mixing ammonia with many other chemicals can create harmful products to yourself or the filter.

Handle the grease filters carefully because they are made of soft aluminum and can be easily damaged.

Take advantage of filter cleaning to inspect and clean the range hood motor, fan blades or centrifugal blower, ducts and exterior vent hood.

1http://www.stretcher.com/stories/03/03apr07a.cfm

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