Your rangehood above your kitchen stove is an essential must-have appliance if you want to maintain the good air quality in your home.
It captures the heat and smoke and ejects it at the source before it escapes into the rest of your kitchen, causing greasy surfaces and less-than-desirable lingering smells.
With all that grime that it picks up, the filter can get pretty dirty—and maybe you’ve never even checked under your range hood. If it gets too dirty, and the grease is too thick, it will become less effective.
So, keeping your range hood filter clean is absolutely essential for it to continue doing its job properly.
Let’s take a look at how you can do that (hint: one option is easier than you think!):
Can You Clean Range Hood Filters In The Dishwasher?
Dishwashers are highly effective at cleaning range hood filters. When your dishwasher sprays hot water, this helps to remove the caked-on grease.
I’ve cleaned my range hood filters for several years using the dishwasher, and it works very well and saves me time by not having to wash the filters by hand.
The dishwasher works well in most cases, but it might not remove all the grease.
Detailed Steps Using A Dishwasher To Clean Your Filter
So, your range hood filter isn’t that dirty, but it could still use a good clean to prevent excess build-up. Or, you’ve finished scrubbing your rangehood by hand and want to give it the extra push to be as squeaky clean as possible.
The dishwasher. We’ve touched upon using a dishwasher to clean your filter at the start of this article, but now I would like to go a bit more in-depth.
1. Put the filter vertically in the bottom rack as you would a plate or a flat lid/cover.
We recommend an empty dishwasher with nothing but the filter to clean, but you know the strength of your own dishwasher better than we do.
2. Run a hot cycle on your dishwasher.
If your dishwasher has a “Pots and Pans” cycle option, then choose that, as it will work harder at removing pesky grease and discoloration from cooking.
3. Dry your filter.
You can run a drying cycle on your dishwasher, let it air dry on a drying rack or both.
Again, you know the strength of your dishwasher best—just make sure the filter is totally dry before putting it back into your rangehood.
How Often Does The Filter Need Cleaning?
There is no objective answer to this question, unfortunately.
The pace at which your rangehood filter gets dirty is solely dependent on how much you cook, what you cook, and even the air quality, or the usage of fans in your home.
Typically, if you’re not using your dishwasher, you can get away with doing a deep clean of your range hood filter about once a month (again, this is still subjective) and maybe once every week to two weeks in the dishwasher.
You’ll have to be the judge when you decide on your range hood filter. And, remember, some of you had never cleaned it at all before this article—so don’t be too stressed about it.
To avoid the deep clean, every time you go to cook at your stove, take a peek under the range hood.
If the color starts darkening, you’ll catch it right away before the build-up begins, and you can opt for a dishwasher rather than a hard scrub.
Determine The Gunk Level Of The Filter
There are a few cleaning options that just won’t work if your range hood filter is so thick with grease that you can barely see the filter itself.
This is typically the point you want to clean your range hood filter to avoid difficult, invasive cleaning.
Your filter will be lightly/moderately discolored, with some mild (really, really mild) build-up.
If this is your first go-around, your range hood filter is likely to be heavily dirty.
The filter is completely discolored (i.e., no metallic grating really showing at all), with build-up covering more than a quarter of the filter.
Do I Need To Replace My Rangehood Filter?
It would be a horrible waste of time to go through the cleaning process of your filter only to find out that you should have just replaced it.
This totally depends on how often you cook, your cook temperature, and how often you clean the filter.
Restaurants typically change their rangehood filters every six to eight months. However, their filters are likely industrial strength and can withstand more wear.
If you’re an avid, daily home cook, look into cleaning/changing your filter every 2-4 months.
Most people can get away with changing their rangehood filters every six months to a year, however.
How Do I Know When To Change My Range Hood Filter?
When you go to clean your filter, look for signs of irreparable wear such as:
Really, you want to look for any signs that your filter won’t be doing its job effectively, or sitting snugly into your rangehood.
If a damaged filter is left in the range hood, you may risk getting grease and other particles directly into your kitchen exhaust—yikes.
How To Deep Clean Your Range Hood Filter
This will be your first step if your range hood filter is moderately heavily dirtied. Or, if you just want to be thorough, you can opt for this step even if your filter is only slightly dirty.
(Those of you with light gunk levels: you can skip the deep clean altogether.)
Here are the items you’ll need to clean your range hood filter by hand:
● Hot to boiling water
● Degreasing dish soap
● Baking soda
● Non-abrasive scrubber/brush
● Paper towels and/or cleaning cloth
Here’s what you’ll need to do:
1. Remove the filter from the rangehood. Most filters pop or slide out rather easily from the underside of the hood. Some have small finger loops to ease this process.
2. Fill the sink or a bucket with your hot to boiling water. Keep in mind that the hotter the water, the more effective at removing grease.
Depending on your sink, your tap water may get hot enough—however, you can always boil water in a tea kettle and pour it in as well.
3. Squirt in some of your dish soap and about ¼ cup of baking soda. Mix together with a brush (be careful not to burn your hands!) until it develops a layer of soapy foam.
4. Put your filter into the water and soak it for 10 minutes. Make sure it is completely submerged.
5. Scrub the filter clean. Using your scrubber, get all the loose grease off the filter. After the soak, it should fall off rather easily.
Scrub harder—while still being gentle enough not to break or bend the filter—in areas with high staining or grease that is still stuck.
6. Rinse and dry your filter. Rinse your filter thoroughly with clean water, and dry it with your cleaning cloth or paper towels.
Make sure not to put your filter back into the rangehood until it is completely dry. You may even want to let it air dry on a drying rack before putting it back.