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Vent Hood Cleaning and Maintenance - How to Keep Your Kitchen Range Hood degreaser Filter Clean

Updated on May 10, 2011

To keep your kitchen vent/range hood working effectively it is important that you maintain them regularly by cleaning the filters and the exposed surfaces. Thought it might not be the ideal way to spend your afternoon, range hood cleaning is not a very difficult task and depending on the last time you did it may not take too long either.

Cleaning Your Vent Hood

First turn off your vent a hood and then follow the steps outlined below.

• After you have taken the grease filter from the range hood soak then rinse using a degreaser and then put the filters in the dishwasher. Most filters are made from stainless steel so regular detergent that you use for your dishes should work.

• Some range hoods filters are made from aluminium should this be the case with yours be mindful that using detergent could discolour the filters however this shouldn’t be a major concern as the filters are not really on display.

• Depending on the amount of grease that has built up on the filter you may try using a pressurized hose that you see at the car wash to blast off the grease.

• If your range uses charcoal filters then they simply need to be replaced.

Vent Hood Cleaning - Don't let it come to this
Vent Hood Cleaning - Don't let it come to this

Using Degreaser

For the exposed surfaces on the inside and outside, a damp cloth with degreaser should be sufficient to get the grime off. Be careful not to get any degreaser into the exhaust fan motor or the light fixture as this may disrupt the normal functioning of the unit. 

If there is a large accumulation of grease which has built up on the hood inside the hood you can use water and baking soda to make a thick paste. Once you have made your cleaning paste use some hot soapy water and a damp cloth to apply the paste liberally scrubbing lightly and then rinse off. This process might have to be repeated several times till the filter is clean. 

When you are satisfied you can soak the filters in some more degreaser to remove the residual baking soda paste. 

Cleaning Schedule

Vent a hood cleaning should be done at least every few months to prevent the build up of food particles, oils and also dust which clings to a dirty range hood far more effectively. If you can smell your dinner from a few months ago when you turn on yours, it might be time for some kitchen hood cleaning.


Range Hoods are something that just about every household has but not everyone is aware of just how dangerous they can be if they are not properly maintained. There are two main dangers associated with range hoods the first being a health hazard and the second being a fire hazard.

A dirty range hood is a prime environment for the growth of bacteria and other germs, much like your house hold bathroom primarily because it presents the optimal growing conditions for many microorganisms. The heat coming through the kitchen exhaust not only creates a warm environment but also one that is quite moist, add to this the small oil and food particles that get stuck in the filters and the system and you may have created a little Petri dish in your kitchen, along with the leftovers that you forgot to put away.

Empty Your Reservoir and Clear Your Filters

Depending on how long you have left your range hood uncleaned the oily residue stuck inside your filter may have a more direct effect on the food that you are cooking on the stove. Some range hoods have a small reservoir close to the kitchen splashback where the oil residue that has been filtered from the cooking fumes can collect. It is however possible that some of this residue does not make it to the reservoir and will eventually collect in the middle of your filter and drip down into your pan when you are cooking next.

Vent Hood Cleaning - A dirty vent hood can cause a fire very quickly
Vent Hood Cleaning - A dirty vent hood can cause a fire very quickly

Preventing Kitchen Fires

This oily residue common in all kitchen exhausts is also a danger for the second reason that it has the potential to become a fire hazard. If your range hood isn’t cleaned periodically more and more of this will collect deeper throughout your kitchen exhaust system. This effectively lines the exhaust piping with fuel that can be ignited from small cooking flames.

It is not uncommon for restaurant fires to be started in such a way when the kitchen exhaust hood and ventilation system have not been cleaned after months of heavy use. The chef may be stir frying a dish over a large flame and a mixture of the heat and a small fire perhaps from cooking off some alcohol in the pan will be enough to start an oil fire which burns extremely hot and is difficult to put out. There are many restaurant hood cleaning services that you can call on to help maintain your kitchen before it gets dirty enough to be a fire hazard.

Of course what is mentioned above is closer to a worst case scenario however they are not as uncommon as you might think. The moral is that regular cleaning of your range hoods can go a long way to keeping your house healthy and safe. If you have a large kitchen or are unsure about how to go about the job effectively then get in touch with a professional vent hood cleaning service and they will be able to keep your home or restaurant safe from fires and your equipment running longer.


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      Jack Mason 4 years ago

      Thanks for posting this. These are great hood cleaning tips. I've been looking into What do you think?