Cleaning Range Hood Filters

By | October 16, 2014

When it comes to range hood maintenance, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It’s best to keep range hood filters clean on a regular basis – a run through the dishwasher once a week or every 2 weeks is usually all that’s needed to keep the grease filter in top shape.

To make maintenance easy, all Futuro Futuro range hood filters are dishwasher-safe, and the vast majority of our range hood models have an electronic control panel with a built-in “Filter Cleaning Reminder” function. After 30 hours of operation, a steady red light illuminates, indicating that it’s time to clean the filters. Press and hold the button for 3-5 seconds to turn off the reminder light and reset the timer.

Range Hood Control Panel - Red "Filter Cleaning Reminder" Light

Range Hood Control Panel – Red “Filter Cleaning Reminder” Light

However, there are situations when a range hood filter needs a little more attention. If a range hood is left dirty for an extended period of time, grease may oxidize and solidify, combining with solid smoke particles to form a tough film that takes special effort to remove. Here are some methods, from easy to radical, to degrease a dirty filter.

Range Hood Filters

Range Hood Filters

Dishwasher

The obvious – and easiest – choice for cleaning range hood filters. Depending on the power of the dishwasher and the choice of detergent, it may take 1-3 cycles to clean out a heavily soiled filter.

Range Hood Filter Cleaning - Dishwasher

Range Hood Filter Cleaning – Dishwasher

Degreasing Hot Bath
  • Take a container large enough to hold the filter (such as a baking pan).
  • Prepare a solution of 1/4 cup baking soda, 3-4 doses of diswashing soap, and enough hot water to cover the filter.
  • Let the filter soak in the soap/soda solution for 20-40 minutes.
Ammonia Vapor
  • Place the filter in a plastic bag with a small amount of ammonia – 1-2 tablespoons should be enough.
  • Close the bag and let the filter soak in it overnight.
  • Rinse the filter in warm water and let it dry.
Vinegar + Cream of Tartar
  • Make a watery paste from white vinegar and cream of tartar.
  • Spread it over the affected surface.
  • Wait 20-30 minutes, then rinse off.
  • Note: This process may require multiple applications.
  • P.S.: Don’t use red wine or balsamic vinegar.
Dryer Sheets
  • Take a pan or other container large enough to accommodate the filter.
  • Fill the container with enough hot water to cover the filter.
  • Place the filter in the water, and add a dryer sheet on top.
  • Let it soak overnight.
  • Rinse off the filter, and run it through the dishwasher to remove residue.
Water Softener
  • Take a pan or other container large enough to accommodate the filter.
  • Fill the container with enough hot water to cover the filter.
  • Add a single dose of water softener.
  • Let the filter soak for 20-30 minutes.
  • Rinse off the filter, and run it through the dishwasher to remove residue.
Dry Meltdown
  • Take a baking pan large enough to fit the filter.
  • Line the pan with 8-12 layers of newspaper, and place the greasy filter on top.
  • Put it in the oven at the LOWEST setting (usually 250 degrees).
  • The grease will melt and drip into the newspaper.
  • Make sure you’re watching the operation, since ovens vary and there’s a risk of fire associated with this method.
  • After melting off the grease, let the filter cool off, and remove the final traces of grease with 1 cycle in the dishwasher
Wet Meltdown
  • Take a baking pan large enough to fit the filter.
  • Place the filter into the baking pan, and fill it with enough water to cover the filter + about 1 inch above. Note: do NOT add any soap, cleaner, etc.
  • Bake it in the oven for 1 hour, at the LOWEST setting (usually 250 degrees).
  • Check every 10 minutes, and add more water if necessary.
Kitchen Degreasing Sprays – Use With Caution

There are many degreasing sprays available for kitchen use – Oxi-Clean, Greased Lightning, Goo Gone Kitchen Cleaner, Mean Green, and so on. However, keep in mind that these sprays are made for general kitchen use, and may actually damage range hood filters.

While the frame of range hood filters may be made from stainless steel, the actual mesh layers are made from aluminum – which some of these products are not compatible with! Check each manufacturer’s directions carefully – some cleaners may be used on aluminum after being diluted with water, while others should not be used at all.

Kitchen Degreasing Sprays - Use With Caution

Kitchen Degreasing Sprays – Use With Caution

Automotive Degreasing Sprays – Use With Caution

Another “radical” method for cleaning a stubborn filter is to spray it with engine cleaner/degreaser, available from any auto parts store. Note that this is a toxic chemical, and should only be used outdoors. In addition, the engine degreaser may etch aluminum, so it should be rinsed off immediately.

Power Washing – Use With Caution

We’ve heard of people taking range hood filters to a car wash, and using the high-pressure water jets. We don’t recommend this method, since it may damage the soft metal mesh.

Charcoal Filters – Replace Only

The charcoal filter (“carbon filter”) is an additional filter that’s used in recirculating (ductless) installations, to absorb the odors after the metal filter absorbs the grease. Charcoal filters cannot be cleaned, and must be replaced every 4-6 months, depending on the frequency of cooking.

Please note: if your range hood is ducted to the outside, carbon filters should not be used.

Range Hood Filter Cleaning - Charcoal Filters

Range Hood Filter Cleaning – Charcoal Filters

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *