Of all the places in your kitchen that you commonly forget to clean, your range hood is probably the dirtiest. Since most of the dirt isn’t visible at eye level, you’re unlikely to think of cleaning your range hood on your own. Follow these tips for cleaning your kitchen range hood and removing clogs.

Wipe Down the Outside

If you look under your range, you’ll probably notice some splatters of food sticking to the outside. And even if you don’t see any, that doesn’t mean the surface hasn’t absorbed the smells of your cooking. Wipe down the outside of your range hood with a gentle cleaner, making sure to remove all dust and food splatters.

Unclog the Filter

The filter is the part of the range hood that protects the ventilation system from getting clogged with food residue. However, this means the filter itself can get clogged. Remove the filter and clean it in the sink with soap and water—you may want to wear gloves during the process.

There are several styles of range hood filters, and some are easier to clean than others. Which kinds are more accessible to you is a good thing to know before choosing a range hood.

Check the Ductwork

Just because the filter is supposed to protect the rest of the ventilation system doesn’t mean your air ducts won’t get dirty. While you have everything taken apart, it’s a good idea to shine a flashlight into the ducts and see if they, too, are starting to get dirty. Food residue can create odors over time and can even become a fire hazard.

Beware Baking Soda

Many tips for cleaning your kitchen range hood say to use baking soda paste on tough stains. While baking soda does work as a natural household cleaner, it can leave a residue if it sits for too long. When cleaning your range hood, always wipe off any baking soda paste immediately rather than letting it sit.

If you’re shopping for a range hood, knowing how to clean it can be helpful so you don’t accidentally buy something that will make the process harder. It also helps to have our handy range hood specifications cheat sheet with all the styles and measurements listed in one place. Armed with knowledge, you’re sure to find the right kitchen range hood for your home.