How to Clean a Greasy Overhead Exhaust Filter

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kitchen exhaust fan

One thing that makes your kitchen look crusty, rusty and straight-up gross is that sneaky, hidden area just above your cooktop which absorbs all of the smoke and grease from your cooking. Now, this was never really dirty for me until I got into cooking with cast iron, and now my range hood filter looks like I pulled it out of the back of a greasy ol’ chip wagon.

That silver filter in the fan above my stove gets this thick coating of grease on it. I tried the dishwasher but it didn’t come out completely clean. Any advice?

Melissa Says:

I like to clean my range hood filter about twice a year. For the average cook this is probably enough, for someone who cooks a lot—or if you’re all about frying—you may want to do this more often, say quarterly, to help manage the build up. Here are a couple methods that really work well for me.

Soak It

First off, remove the filter. Maybe have a paper towel handy since there’s a good chance this is going to be gross. Next, fill a large bucket (big enough to fit the filter in) with hot water and add a scoop of OxiClean. Drop your filter in and let it marinate for 15 to 30 minutes (depending on how gross it is). Once time expires you can give it a scrub with a cleaning toothbrush (if required), or simply get on to rinsing. Remember to let it sit to dry, and then replace it.

Steam It!

This also works pretty well but requires more effort. If you have a handheld steamer you can fire this up and steam away the grease. Simply lay the filter on an old (disposable) cloth or towel and blast it with steam.

Now yes, you could go out and buy a new one but rather than tossing this filter in the garbage, but I’d recommend trying one of these methods to see if you can salvage it and not add anything else into a landfill needlessly.

We know that you have lots of questions about cleaning and we want to give you those answers! So, continue asking away by emailing us at askmelissa@cleanmyspace.com. We love hearing from you!

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Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.

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