How to Clean a Filthy Range Hood

Have you ever stopped to think about all of the grease and debris that gets caked into your range hood? If you’ve cleaned a dirty range hood or a range hood filter before, you know it’s not an easy task.  Grease stains can be one of the most unpleasant tasks to undertake, simply because old grease stains can feel like a never ending process to remove. As soon as you remove one coat of grease, you realize there’s an entirely new layer of grease under that, and you have to start the cleansing process all over again.

When you stop to think about it, kitchen range hoods should be one of the most frequently cleaned appliances in your kitchen, especially if you do a lot of cooking or spend a lot of time preparing meals. Yet, in reality, range hoods and range hood filters often end up being the least attended aspect of your kitchen because they are easily forgotten amongst the other, more obvious messes. Range hood filters are hidden, and therefore, your range hood may look perfectly acceptable on the outside, when it is actually in dire need of a good cleaning on the inside.

Range hoods exist to filter the greasy, debris-filled air that builds up in your kitchen due to heavy cooking and food preparation. It’s easy to forget about the work your range hood is contributing to the overall health of your kitchen, since you are unable to see the grease and pathogens within the air being sucked magically away through the work of your range hood.  Yet, the grease and gunk exist nonetheless, and what is not regularly cleaned out of the range hood filters, adds to an endless coating of grease.

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Is there a trick to removing hard grease stains from your kitchen range hood?  While many household cleaners boast the power to remove heavy grease build-up quickly and easily, this may not be such an easy task if you have a specialty appliance made from stainless steel or another type of metal that requires specific cleaning materials and processes. For example, many hard cleaners contain bleach, which stains and damages stainless steel. Chlorine is also off limits for any range hoods made of stainless steel or other precious metals. The chlorine will severely and permanently damage the stainless steel, rendering the appliances not only visually unappealing, but possibly also dangerous and unsafe to use.

Removing Filter

So, how can you get rid of tough grease stains without severely damaging your range hood or other appliances in the process?  In fact, there are some relatively simple ways to clear your range hood of all that unwanted build-up. The best solutions that we’ve found are natural home remedies that should save you a trip to the convenience store.

Below is a list of supplies that you’ll want to make sure you have on hand before you begin the range hood makeover process:

  1. Large pot in which you can boil water
    (you may also use a baking sheet if your range hood filters are relatively slim)
  2. Baking Soda
  3. Your favorite degreasing dish soap
  4. Ammonia
  5. Soft towel or scrub brush (makes sure that it is not so stiff as to scratch the finish of your range hood)

Water & Baking Soda
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Once you have all of the necessary supplies, boil a large pot of water, and add a small amount of your favorite decreasing dish soap. Try not to add too much dish soap, or your pot of water will become a large bubbly mess, and it will be difficult to work with.  Once your pot has boiled and is slightly soapy, add ½ cup of baking soda very slowly. As the baking soda mixes with water, it will start to fizz and become very frothy, so make sure to add the baking soda slowly.

Baking Soda Water
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If your range hood filters are pliable or small enough to fit in the pot, remove them from the range hood, and place them into the pot.  You will be able to see the baking soda slowly eating away at the grease on the filter, mixing into the water. Flip the filter over to ensure that all areas of the filter have a chance to make contact with the baking soda water. If you have large filters or they cannot be bent to fit inside a pot, you can also use an oven baking sheet to soak your filters.

Soaking RH
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If the water becomes overly contaminated during the soaking process, consider dumping it out and repeating the previously mentioned steps in clean water. You can also use a soft cloth or sponge to remove any excess grease or residue on the range hood filter, however, have the filter as clean as possible before you attempt to start scrubbing will keep your cleaning utensils unsoiled and allow you to reuse them again at a future time (or the next time you need to clean your range hood!.

Half Clean
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You can use this same solution to clean the outer surface of your range hood. A soft cloth or sponge dipped in hot water and baking soda can be an effective cleaner for the polishing or removing stains on the side of your range hood. This can be an especially useful trick if you have a stainless steel range hood, on which many of the tougher cleaners cannot be used.

As a last resort, if the baking soda and boiling water are not sufficiently wiping out the heavy stains clotting your range hood, try applying a small amount of vinegar or ammonia to the end of a cloth and rubbing out the toughest blemishes with the aid of these household cleaners.

Hood Cleaning
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A few more tips:
When you’re done cleaning out your range hood, what should you do with the dirty leftover water? Anything except dumping it down the sink! Grease and water don’t mix, even when it looks like you have one big bowl of grease soup. When you pour grease (in any form) down the sink, the grease sticks to the pipes, causing future sewer clogs and severe drain problems.

If you don’t have a lot of greasy water left try soaking it up with a paper towel, or some other type of absorbent material.  Then, you can simply discard it with the rest of the garbage. If there is too much left over water to soak up, consider dumping it into a designated sewer drain, or dump it into an old coffee can or plastic container that you can then dispose of with the trash.

Another option for those very tough stains that simply refuse to come out is to use an auto degreaser and simply let the range hood filter and/or other parts soak for a few hours, allowing the auto degreaser to do the work for you. While kitchen grease and grime can often feel like some of the most extensive and irritating stains to deal with, the grease and gunk mechanics use in dealing with our cars can be inevitably worse. Next time you’re in need of a good kitchen degreaser, try looking in an auto parts store rather than your local grocery store. Chances are you might just find an automobile degreaser that is just what you needed in the kitchen!

If you have a kitchen range hood and you haven’t peaked inside to check the filter lately, chances are it needs cleaning. Even if you keep the outside of your range hood spick and span, the filter needs to be cleaned out regularly in order to make sure that your range hood is operating at one hundred percent functionality and serving its purpose in your kitchen. Removing tough grease stains is never a fun task, but with these simple suggestions, you can have your range hood looking brand new in no time at all. Whether your range hood operates on a vented system or ductless system, the filters still need to be properly decongested in order for optimum functionality. The longer you wait to take care of your dirty range hood filters, the more built-up grease you’ll face when you’re forced to deal with the problem.

Think we missed a way to get rid of hard grease stains and clean your kitchen range hood? Leave your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below to share your own personal experience in cleaning kitchen appliances, and give us your feedback on what methods have worked best in your household!

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