How to Clean Your Stovetop's Vent Hood
Your vent hood has a front row seat to splatters and grime—it sits right above your cooktop and is often on the receiving end of splashes from your pots and pans, leading to grease accumulation and other sticky messes. Over time, food matter might simply become caked onto your vent hood's interior and exterior surfaces and become tricky to remove. The good news is that getting your vent hood spotless is simple when you establish a regular cleaning cadence and follow these helpful tips.
Unplug your unit and remove the grates and filters.
Your range hood vent serves an important purpose, says Ron Shimek, the president of Mr. Appliance, a Neighborly company, and that is to remove excess heat and moisture from your kitchen for superior comfort and temperature control. "To keep your kitchen's filtration system in tip-top shape, periodically clean the vent hood," he notes, adding that washing the unit's internal parts, like the fan blades, is a necessary part of the process. To get started, you should unplug your unit or turn off the circuit breaker that powers the vent. "Then, remove the grease and charcoal filters," he says. "You should be able to reach the fan blades from there and clean them with a damp cloth or sponge and a degreaser." As always, be sure to follow your manufacturer's guide for an accurate cleaning schedule, which Shimek says can range from one to three months. "This all depends on how often you cook at home," he adds. "If you are someone who cooks daily, it's best to clean your vent hood on a monthly basis to avoid build-up. If you hardly cook, it's generally safe to say you should do a deep cleaning every three months—but refer to your owner's manual for the most accurate cleaning schedule."
Wipe down the exterior.
The exterior of your vent hood also sees a lot of action, from smoke and cooking odors to messes from the cooktop. And, unfortunately, this is where you are most likely to notice build-up and stains. "The hood will often have layers of grease or grime after cooking all those beautiful family dinners," affirms Christine Trefethen, the resident household specialist at Therapy Clean. To clean the exterior, Trefethen suggests using a mild soap and water mixture, which should aid in the degreasing process. "Simply fill a spray bottle with warm water and a few drops of dish soap," she says. "Always be sure to use a microfiber towel, going with the grain of the stainless steel for the best results. Using a circular motion can leave surface scuffs." And if soap and water alone won't get your range clean? Trefethen suggests going the DIY route with a vinegar and baking soda paste.
Soak your grates and filters.
Don't forget about soaking your grates. "When cleaning your hood range, please also consider underneath—oftentimes these appliance add-ons have grates with built-in filters—most of which are stainless steel," Trefethen says. "Removing them is simple, as is soaking them in warm, soapy water to clean out any of the channels. Rinse them and place them back."
Scrub filters carefully.
Sometimes, your grates and filters need more than a sudsy soak. For stubborn spots, try a nonstick pan-cleaning brush with soft bristles—but scrub carefully and be mindful of the material, which might not hold up to abrasive cleaners or this level of elbow grease. In those cases, stick with a milder cleaning agent (like a dish soap with a degreasing agent) and a soft cloth—and ever use abrasive sponges or scrubs on materials like stainless steel or wood.