Range Hood Cleaning & Exhaust Fan Filter Degreasing Tips

Two dirty range-hood filters in a pot of water on a stove
We rely on the kitchen range hood when we have something frying on our stovetop and when we accidentally set off the smoke alarm with some burning French fries and need to clear the air.

But have you cleaned the range hood, lately … or ever?

Don’t feel bad if you haven’t: Range hoods are “out of sight, out of mind” so it’s easy to forget about them and the poor exhaust fan filter inside packed with months-worth of collected grease.

At least twice a year range hoods and the exhaust fan filters hidden inside them need cleaning. That’s because the range hood itself gets coated in a filmy smudge and those removable filters inside are made to trap the grease from hot, smoky cooking and keep exhaust vents from gumming up. Odds are good they are in need of serious degreasing.

Don’t be intimidated. Range hood cleaning and exhaust fan filter degreasing is actually no big deal if you know what you’re doing. Here’s how to clean your range hood and exhaust fan filter:

Range Hood Cleaning

The hood can be washed with warm, soapy water. You can then polish the hood with a microfiber rag. For a super greasy range hood, you can go over it with mineral oil and a rag first, and then wipe down with soapy water. And while you’re at it, you should also clean the oven vent filter …

How to Clean Your Exhaust Fan Filter

Method One: Nontoxic Solution

  1. Open the compartment on the range hood and pop the filter out.
  2. Let boiling-hot water and some nontoxic homemade cleaner do the heavy lifting for you.
  3. If you have a pot tall enough to allow your filter a complete dip, put it right on the stovetop. Fill it with water, bring to a boil and then set it to simmer. Add dishwasher detergent (designed to cut grease, after all) or instead a small amount of white vinegar (a little pour) and a half teaspoon of baking soda (add slowly, it will bubble).
  4. Place the greasy filter inside and let it soak for 10–30 minutes. Then remove the filter from the hot solution and brush in the sink with a scrub brush. Rinse well. The grease should brush right off.
    If you don’t have a pot tall enough, pour boiling water onto a baking sheet and add the white vinegar, baking soda and the greasy filter and let soak horizontally. As in method one, this softens the grease to a point where it easily comes off with a soft brush.

Method Two: Commercial Degreaser

If the dish soap or the homemade nontoxic solutions mentioned above prove short of effective, you can try spraying a commercial degreaser product directly onto the filter and then use a brush.

Range Hood Cleaning: Add It to the Rotation

Make range hood cleaning and filter degreasing a quick little project once every six months. However, if you make stir fry every week or kick up a lot of smoke panfrying in an iron skillet, for example, then think about doing it more often. Your kitchen will look better, your exhaust fan will work better, your indoor air will be cleaner, and grease, dust and debris collected and vented by your hood won’t end up falling back into your food.

Let Molly Maid Help

We’re experts at household cleaning, and offer professional kitchen cleaning services. For decades, Molly Maid has been making homeowners’ lives easier and we can do the same for you. Please contact your local Molly Maid to ask about home cleaning services that meet your schedule, budget and cleaning needs — including cleaning range hoods!