Erin Doman on May 23, 2016 5 Comments Your range hood may not be something you really think about when you’re cooking. If you’re not thinking about it, you’re probably not cleaning it either. Have you ever taken a peek at the underside of your hood? If you haven’t, chances are that you’ll find a disgusting mess of built-up grease. Under the hood sits the filter. The filter is your hood’s first line of defense against all that your stove dishes out. Cleaning the range hood filter helps it to do its job and allows your range hood to function properly. The Function of the Hood Filter To understand what the filter does, it is important to first understand the function of your range hood. Your range hood pulls smoke, steam and odors through the filter and vent to help clear the air. The filter collects grease and food particles to prevent them from accumulating in the vent itself, which allows the vent to effectively pull the air through it. This appliance protects your surrounding walls from yellowing due to grease and smoke and the negative effects of moisture from steam. Click Here to Shop for Island Range Hoods A blocked filter can have a wide range of effects, from annoying to dangerous. Without a clean filter and effective range hood, your smoke alarm could go off frequently due to a buildup of smoke while you cook, or else food smells may permeate your home and not have the ability to clear out for days due to tiny food particles present in the air. Those food and grease particles can also attract pests, particularly fruit flies and cockroaches. A properly functioning range hood also protects your home from harmful air pollutants that are present whether you cook on a gas or electric range. When your range hood filter is clean, it helps to ensure that your vent is able to do its job to protect your home and family. How Often You Should Clean the Filter The great news is that the silver screen filter that is present on the underside of your hood can be cleaned and reused, so you do not need to worry about replacing the filter very often. It should be cleaned regularly so that buildup doesn’t block the air flow. At a minimum, your range hood filter should get a thorough cleaning once a year. However, how often your filter needs to be cleaned really depends on how much cooking you do. If you cook every day, your filter should be cleaned far more often than someone who only cooks every once in a while. If not cleaned regularly, your filter can become absolutely caked in grease, making it even more difficult to clean when you actually do get around to it. How to Clean Your Range Hood Filter As previously mentioned, some people will need to clean their range hood filters more often than others. The method of cleaning a range hood filter will also vary depending on how dirty it is. Luckily, harsh chemicals are not required, no matter how dirty it is. In fact, some people simply opt for weekly or monthly cleanings that can be easily done in the dishwasher on its hottest setting. When you clean your filter often, it ensures that the buildup never happens in the first place. Others may opt to clean their filters less often, but always before any grease buildup blocks air flow. This usually occurs every few months, up to a year. This method only requires these few household ingredients: Boiling or extremely hot water Baking soda Degreasing dish soap Non-abrasive scrub brush Heat proof container The process of cleaning the range hood filter is simple and takes only a few minutes. The following step-by-step instructions will help you to easily clean your filter. 1. Remove the Filter Most filters will be easy to slide or pop out from the underside of their range hood. You may need to push your filter upward to slide it out first. Look for a loop or latch that will help you to remove it. Remember how it goes in to make replacement easier when you finish the cleaning process. 2. Prepare a Place to Clean It You will need to prepare a heat proof container in order to clean your range hood filter. It could be a pot, a casserole dish or even the sink. It doesn’t matter as long as it can withstand boiling water and will fit your filter. If you are having trouble finding a large enough place, you can use a medium-sized saucepan and do one end at a time. Just make sure that it is not a nonstick pot because otherwise it can get easily scratched by the metal filter. Fill your vessel with boiling or nearly boiling water. The hotter the better to break down the grease. Click Here to Shop for Range Hood Filters and Accessories 3. Add Soap and Baking Soda Put a tablespoon or two of dish soap into your container. If you are using a pot, make sure that the water is no longer boiling, or it could bubble over! Then you can sprinkle 1/4 to 1/2 cup of baking soda over the top of the water, which will fizz and bubble as well. Mix the solution to make sure that it is evenly distributed. 4. Soak the Range Hood Filter Submerge the filter–or half of it if it doesn’t fit–and let it soak, letting your cleaning solution do most of the work. The filter will take at least five minutes, but letting it soak for 10 minutes is ideal. Soaking in the solution will break down the grease and make it easier for you in the next step. 5. Scrub Remove any remaining grease and film with a non-abrasive scrub brush. This is a good time to get in the crevices and make sure your filter is really clean. 6. Rinse and Dry Remove your filter from the hot water solution and rinse to remove any of the soap and leftover grease. Dry it off completely with a clean rag or paper towels. 7. Replace the Filter Your range hood filter is all clean and ready for use! Put it back in and enjoy all the benefits of a clean range hood filter. It takes effort to get under your range hood and clean your filter. If you don’t make a point of doing it, you may not recognize when it needs to be cleaned. Cleaning it regularly will get you into the routine of maintaining your range hood effectiveness.