There is a filter in each kind of range hood, which fits above the fan and aids in catching food and grease prior to it getting into the ductwork. Most of these are made of metal, which can be cleaned up as well as reused for a long time.
A few of these happen to be disposable charcoal filters.
You have to get instructions from your manufacturer. Fortunately, cleaning up the kitchen filter happens to be not as difficult as one might think.
There is no need for using any harsh chemicals as well.
How Often Should You Clean a Kitchen Hood and Filter?
In case you cook every day, you should dedicate cleaning the in and out of the hood as well as the filter on a monthly basis. In case you do not cook that often, seasonal cleaning can be enough.
After cooking up a holiday feast, you should always plan to give the filter a good cleaning, even in case you do not give the rest of the hood a tidy-up.
Food particulates and grease are drawn up into the ductwork by the suction and fan, and thus, these cling to surfaces naturally. It is important to carry out cleaning, to ensure that the hood smells and looks better.
It can also help prevent the breakout of a fire in the home.
FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) mentions that cooking is the main reason for residential fire injuries. After electrical problems, smoking and carelessness, it is the fourth main cause of all residential fires.
For commercial kitchens too, the facts and figures are more disturbing. When you leave a pan or pot over the stovetop for more time, there can be flames.
These may enter into a range hood filled with grease, and lead to significant structural damage.
Why Should You Clean Your Kitchen Hood Filters?
Cleaning your filters consistently is important for various reasons, such as:
- Easier cleaning
- Effective smoke removal
- Proper removal of grease
- Longer blower lifespan
- More power efficiency
With regular cleaning, things can get simpler. You can cook more easily and have less mess and grime to deal with.
It can make your kitchen space more inviting, and you will love the cooking experience – each and every time.
Can You Clean All Filters?
Basically, on most range hoods, three types of filters can be found. There are:
As the name indicates, Grease filters are solely designed to filter out grease and oil fumes. These can be found in all kinds of range hoods, apart from a few models that have come out in the last few years.
Fabric grease filters absorb the grease and fumes just similar to a sponge. You cannot clean these up and have to replace these. Metallic grease filters have to be often cleaned up. Generally, these are made up of aluminum.
In a few cases, stainless steel is used to construct the same. These can be either baffle filters or mesh filters. Such kinds of filters can generally be seen at the range hood base.
Charcoal filters can be found in just ductless models, given that these are mainly responsible for removing smoke and odor. It is an important step in case you are circulating back the air into the kitchen.
Such kinds of filters cannot and must not be given a clean-up. Rather, these have to be substituted after every 3 – 4 months, based on what type of dishes you want to cook up and how frequently.
How To Clean A Kitchen Hood Filter?
The cleaning process might appear to be long-drawn. However, based on how soiled your range hood filters are as well as the technique that you intend to follow, the whole time for cleaning could be as much as 1 hour.
However, the actual time for cleaning would be less than 15 minutes.
Here is how to go about the process:
- Get the metallic grease filter(s) detached.
- Put the filter in a big sink or pan.
- Have the cleaning solution ready.
- Have the filters immersed in this solution.
- Brush for easy removal of the grease.
- Allow the filters to be air-dried.
- Put these back into the kitchen range hood.
How to Detach the Kitchen Filter for Cleaning?
First and foremost, you have to ensure that the filters can be viewed clearly. Take off any protective metallic or plastic casing that surrounds the hood base. You can do this with a screwdriver.
However, no protective casing is going to be there in most cases.
After you can view the filters clearly, you would like to check how these are joined to the other parts of the appliance. You would see any of these things:
- Filters being held in place by screws, and requiring unscrewing.
- Filters are being held in place by a mechanism such as A T-Lock.
- A fastener of plastic or metal has to be rotated aside.
- A latch mechanism that can easily be maneuvered, where you have to click on the lever and elevate it for easy detachment.
- Rim supports in which you only have to push upwards and then rotate the filter to detach it.
Luckily, the toughest form on the lever and you can find is one that combines a fastener and support.
This is tough in the sense that in a few models, you can find that the rotating flap is in an awkward location, which makes it difficult to access.
In such cases, you can find it quite tough to have your fingers access the flap. Rather, you might need to rotate it with the help of a screwdriver or spoon.
Using a Metal/Plastic Fastener for Detaching
There are various ways to do that.
1. Using Dishwasher Detergent
You have to use a dishwasher detergent, instead of using a grease remover or dish soap, for getting the task done.
- Have the filter get wet under the tap or with a blast hose. It is better that you run hot water on it, which can be useful in removing some of the greases.
- Put the wet filter in a sink/pan that will ensure that it stays free for some time.
- Now apply some generous amount of dishwasher detergent and spread it all around the filter, which has to include the metal rim as well. This can ensure that it stays fully clean.
- You have to ensure that all surfaces have been applied on.
- Allow the filter to rest for an hour.
- Now put the filter under hot water in a sink. Wash the detergent off, along with the grease.
- Next, apply more of dishwasher detergent. Use a brush and give a proper scrub to get rid of any grease, even minute traces that might be there in the corners.
If the filters are too greasy, the process might have to be repeated. Allow it to rest for one more hour.
2. Using a Degreaser
In this method, there is plenty of scrubbing needed as compared to the first method. The effectiveness might be less in this case. Nonetheless, it can manage to clean up the filters. Here are the steps to the process of cleaning:
- Have a large enough cooking pot that can contain the grease filter.
- Now get it filled with water, to be able to submerge the filter entirely. Never put the filter in the pot by this time or after that.
- Next, heat up the water, taking care that it does not reach boiling temperature. Into this water, you have to spray plenty of degreasers. About 20 sprays can be needed, in case you have to remove plenty of greases.
- Put in the filter now, and ensure that it gets fully submerged. Keep in mind that the mixture is a little acidic. Thus, you should not touch the mixture with your bare hands.
- Keep the filter inside this solution for 30 – 60 minutes.
- Take the filter off with the help of tongs.
- Put it in the sink and give a hard scrub to both of its sides.
3. Baking Soda and Vinegar Solution
This is an alternative to the second method. You need a combination of baking soda and vinegar, to ensure proper cleaning. Here is how to go about the process:
- Get a large enough pot for the filter.
- Fill it up sufficiently with water.
- Now boil the water.
- After it reaches the boiling temperature, add 3 tbsp of vinegar into the solution. Then add 2 tsp of baking soda, adding it gradually and not all at once.
- Now put the filter in. Allow it to remain there for 30 – 60 minutes.
- Next, use tongs to remove the filter.
- Put it in the sink and give a hard scrub to both of its sides.
4. Cleaning with Ammonia and Hot Soapy Water
You will need this simple technique, in case you have been following the cleanup schedule every alternate month. This is not always needed, but the process – anyway – is like this:
- Have the kitchen sink blocked.
- Fill it with water.
- Add in dish soap.
- You might even like to add in some ammonia, which can make the process more convenient.
- Blend the solution.
- Put the filter in.
- Scrub the filter with a brush.
5. Cleaning in the Dishwasher
Most of the range hoods these days are available with stainless steel or aluminum grease filters, which are dishwasher friendly.
You would like to check the product specifications to determine whether the filters are dishwasher-friendly. You might, alternatively, contact customer support or check the product reviews.
In case you have dishwasher-friendly filters, you have to ensure by all means that these are cleaned up every alternate month.
This is because, when you consistently do this, there is no need to be concerned about scrubbing and cleaning them with special solutions.
But in case you fail to clean them regularly, there can be an accumulation of plenty of dirt and grease in your filters. In such cases, simply putting them in the dishwasher cannot be much useful.
Rather, you will need to follow any of the 3 techniques aforementioned.
How to Clean the Area around the Kitchen Filter?
On specific parts of a range hood, you can surely find oil and grease deposits. These are around the grease filters and also right above the cook-top. Using a mild degreaser, you can easily clean such spots.
You only need to use a napkin, and spray a bit of degreaser, before wiping away and cleaning the area. It is important for you to check all the instructions prior to spraying. This is because a few of these happen to be concentrated. Before use, you have to combine these with water, so as to get these diluted.
Things to Remember
There are some important things that you should keep in mind while cleaning a kitchen hood filter.
A soiled kitchen range hood is warm, slimy, and greasy. This makes it conducive for the growth of bacteria and similar kinds of pathogens.
Small-sized food particles which settle on the filters, carried along with fumes, are the sources of food for the growing bacteria.
On your range hood, the oil and grease deposits immediately above the cook-top can invite fire hazards.
While fires do not usually happen due to this, quite a few cases have been reported where residues on kitchen range hood filters get ignited due to uncontrolled flames that rise at the time of cooking.
Thus, a fire hazard is always waiting to happen in such cases. Therefore, the best thing that you could do is to clean up the areas above the cook-top as well.
It can save you from possible health and fire hazards. A dirty range hood, in any case, can damage the hood itself.