Everything To Know About Cleaning Your Kitchen Range Hood

Range hoods, also commonly referred to as vent hoods, are an important tool in your kitchen if you cook frequently on the stove. They work by sucking out air filled with food smells, smoke, grease, etc., then either remove this air to the outside or clean it and return it back inside — ducted and ductless, respectively.

Since range hoods work by sucking up grease and smoke, they tend to get very dirty very quickly. This is especially the case with ductless hoods, which use filters to clean the air they remove. As such, it's incredibly important to keep your vent hood clean if you want it to work properly. Otherwise, it's just a loud fan circulating food-filled air around your kitchen.

Unlike other more straightforward appliances in your kitchen, your range hood has a few different pieces that have more individual cleaning and maintenance needs, including both how and when to clean them, what products to use, and so on.

Cleaning the hood and filter

Before cleaning your range hood, you need to know what parts all need cleaning. The biggest piece is the entire range hood itself, including the top and underneath. You'll likely find food splatter and grease buildup here, which you can remove with a simple degreaser, or even an all-purpose kitchen cleaner if it isn't too bad. For this process, you should apply the cleaner to a rag or towel first so you don't damage the light bulb or any other pieces.

Next is the air filter, which is one of the most important components of your range hood. The two main types of filters are charcoal and metal or mesh, the former of which can't be cleaned. Instead, keep an eye on your calendar and remember to replace it at least once a year, if not sooner if you use it more frequently.

As for mesh filters, Abt Electronics expert Shirley Hood told Homes & Gardens that the best way to clean them is to soak them in a mixture of hot water and soap and/or baking soda for around 30 minutes, or use a stainless steel degreaser. For tougher buildup, you can boil the water and soak the filter overnight. If the filter is ruined beyond cleaning, then you'll need to replace it.

The vent and fans

If you have a ducted range hood, you'll also want to pay attention to the vent itself when it comes to cleaning. The easiest and most effective method is to contact a professional cleaning company, as the experts there will be able to quickly remove any dangerous grease without compromising the integrity of the ductwork.

You should also take some time to clean the exhaust fan, ideally while the filter is soaking. No matter how clean the filter is, a dirty fan will still circulate dirt and leave a lingering food smell. The tricky part will be ensuring you don't get any cleaning products or water on any of the electrical components, so like with the hood itself, apply all cleaning products to a towel or sponge first, as opposed to spraying directly onto the fan. Water should be just fine for cleaning the fan, but if there's serious grease buildup, you could also use a degreaser.