Clean Like You Mean It

How to Clean Your Sticky, Icky Hood Filters, According to Babs

Thankfully, tackling them isn’t hard at all.

April 28, 2022

Clean Like You Mean It shows you how to tackle the trickiest spots in your home—whether they’re just plain gross or need some elbow grease. You’ll get the cleaning secrets we’ve learned from grandma, a guide to our handiest tools and helpers, and so much more. Pull on those rubber gloves and queue up the tunes: It’s scour hour!

What would we do without Babs, TikTok’s favorite grandmother? Have a dirty range hood, that’s for sure. Barbara Costello, aka Brunch With Babs, aka Nonna, is the queen of cleaning and cooking on TikTok, offering effective, no-fuss tips to her 1.7 million followers. And she was kind enough to walk us through her process for cleaning an often-overlooked area in the kitchen: underneath your range hood.

The filters on your range hood collect tons of grease and grime as you cook, yet many people (myself included) forget to clean them. One touch will reveal just how sticky and gross these metal filters can get, so grab your favorite purple cleaning gloves and follow Babs’ steps to get your filters looking as good as new.

The Babs Method of Deep-Cleaning Range Hood Filters

If you haven’t washed your range hood filters in a few months (or ever), you’ll definitely need to deep clean them to remove all the grease, grime, and lint. Luckily, the process is fairly simple and takes less than an hour. Here’s what Babs recommends:

  1. Start by filling your sink up with hot water (if your sink is too small to fit the filters, you may want to use the bathtub instead). Add a generous squirt of degreasing dish soap, such as Dawn, and ¼ cup baking soda to help cut through all that grime. Swirl it all together, then submerge the filters in the mixture, and let them soak for 15 to 30 minutes.
  2. As the filters are soaking, use the time to wipe down the rest of your range hood, which can also get covered in a greasy residue. Babs recommends using a soapy sponge to wipe the face and sides of the hood and remove any film. Once it’s clean, you can use a microfiber cloth and white vinegar to wipe down the stainless steel and really make the metal shine.
  3. Once your filters have been soaking for several minutes, use a sponge or non-abrasive scrub brush to remove any remaining grease and gunk. Run the filters under warm water to wash away the residue, then let them air dry before reinstalling them over your stove. (Or, to speed up the process, Babs recommends drying them with a microfiber cloth—it’s one of her favorite inexpensive and versatile learning tools for the kitchen.) It’s that easy!

For A Light, Hands-Off Clean

You should be cleaning your range hood filters once a month or so, and if you keep up with this schedule, they won’t need such heavy-duty scrubbing every time. Instead, most metal range hood filters can simply be placed on the bottom rack of your dishwasher and run through a normal wash cycle for simple, hands-off cleaning. (Of course, you’ll want to consult your user’s manual before to make sure this is OK for your particular model.)

Wait, What About Charcoal Filters?

If you’ve read all this and thought to yourself, “Wait, my range hood filter doesn’t look like that,” don’t fret! Instead of metal filters, some range hoods have charcoal filters, which are black in color. These filters are commonly used in ventless range hoods, which are often found in apartments, and they help remove odors from the air above your stove before recirculating the clean air back into the room.

The good news if you have charcoal filters is that you don’t need to clean them. However, the bad news is that they need to be replaced regularly—most manufacturers recommend putting in new charcoal filters after 120 hours of use, which is around three to six months for most people. You’ll need to find the right type of filters for your particular range hood, and from there, it’s as easy as popping the new ones into place.

Do you have any grandma-approved cleaning tips? Let us know in the comments!
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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Cathryn Lamb
    Cathryn Lamb
  • cpc
  • les corry
    les corry
  • Lydia
  • Negative Nellie
    Negative Nellie
Freelance writer, product tester & baking enthusiast.


Cathryn L. May 26, 2022
My question is about cleaning the inside glass in my oven door. It’s a self cleaning (meh) gas range. I know not to use abrasives and not to get the cording around the glass wet. What to do?
cpc May 10, 2022
Mine are stainless steel and I just put them in the dishwasher. I've also tried filling the sink with hot, hot water and dropping a dishwasher tablet or pod in the water. Leave it for 30 minutes and the grease wipes off pretty easily.
les C. May 10, 2022
Forget the hot tap water,get a large pot of boiling water and pour it over them then watch all the gunk float to the top.Then put em in the dishwasher,works for me.
Lydia May 10, 2022
Found the best solution is soaking the range filters in Krud Kutter in the sun for an hour+ in old sheet pans. Then taking a garden hose and spraying them clean.
Negative N. May 4, 2022
I put mine in the dishwasher about once every 6 months. I just set a reminder on my calendar.
Thor C. April 28, 2022
I have been putting my filters in the dishwasher, is that wrong?
cpc May 10, 2022
No, I do that too. It's the least labor intensive way to get them nice and clean.
DMStenlake May 11, 2022
For the dishwasher method: Does it matter what kind of filter?
cpc May 11, 2022
Mine are stainless steel and they come out of the dishwasher, spotless. If yours are stainless, they're probably fine, if they're the mesh kind of metal, you might want to check what kind of metal before using the dishwasher.
DMStenlake May 12, 2022
Thank you.