Cleaning or Replacing Kitchen Exhaust Filter: What You Need to Know

Why Should I Clean My Kitchen Exhaust Filter?

Your kitchen exhaust filter is a metal meshy filter that catches all of the grease that flies up or evaporates into the air while you are cooking. Over time, the filter gets saturated with grease and gets really sticky and smelly. It can even attract bugs and catch food if it gets overly dirty. So, cleaning it is a good idea in terms of maintaining the basic hygiene of your kitchen and also in order to keep it functioning properly. The more grease on your filters, the less grease on your kitchen walls and in the air.

What Happens If I Don’t Clean My Kitchen Exhaust Filter?

The main issue with not cleaning your kitchen exhaust filter is that it gets really gross, and the longer the grease builds up, the harder it is to clean. Stuck on grease is a nasty kitchen pest and is really challenging to remove. If you stay on top of cleaning it, you’ll have no issue scrubbing it once or twice a month.

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How To Deep Clean Your Kitchen Exhaust Filter:


  • 1. Determine the type of filter you have.
    • Depending on if you have a stainless steel or aluminum filter, you may be able to wash it in the dishwasher. Stainless steel filters are actually dishwasher safe, though soaking the filter is arguably more effective and will prevent you from clogging your dishwasher filter with grease. Still, if you’re in a rush, you can choose to dishwash your stainless steel filter.

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  • 2. Slide the filter off of the hood.
    • Most kitchen exhaust filters are attached to the hood by sliding into place on a little runner. All you have to do is unslide it to get it out. If this isn’t the case, it might be attached with a button that you can pop out. Either way, it’s built to come off easily and you shouldn’t have too many issues– unless the grease is so caked on there that it is stuck. In this case, you’ll have to scrub at it with some dish soap and warm water until you can loosen it enough to remove it.

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  • 3. Put filter in dishwasher or prepare boiling water.
    • If you are going to dishwash the filter, put it in the bottom rung and run your dishwasher on a normal cycle.

      If you plan to soak it, fill a large pot up with water with one cup of baking soda and a teaspoon of dish soap. Bring it to a boil and then put the filter in as far as it will go.

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  • 4. Let it soak.
    • Let the filter soak for 20 minutes, then rotate it so that you get every side and corner. Give each side a good 20 minutes or more to soak. It may seem like a long time, but the baking soda needs time to work, and this will save you from having to scrub. Wear oven mitts to protect your hands.

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  • 5. Remove filter from water and let it cool.
    • You can use tongs or some other tool so that you don’t burn your hands.

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  • 6. Scrub off any remaining debris.
    • You can use a scrub brush and some dish soap to remove any leftover gunk that is still on the filter after soaking it. Once it’s been soaked, this stuff should come right off with some light scrubbing.

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  • 7. Put filter back.
    • Set the filter out to dry on a kitchen towel, and when it is dry, you can put it back on the kitchen hood. If you put your filter in the dishwasher, take it out and let it sit until it cools down completely before putting it back in. If it isn’t totally clean after running it in the dishwasher, you may need to try the soak method.

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