Ever wonder what happens to the smoke, grease, and particulates from your frying pan when you’re rustling up some Italian sausage and onions? Well it doesn’t literally go “up in smoke”. It goes up through your vent hood where a filter captures odor, grease, moisture, and other airborne particulates.
Your hood is either vented outside or is set up as a recirculating type hood. Most likely you will have an aluminum mesh filter or a charcoal filter. Some commercial type hoods use a stainless steel baffle.
Charcoal filters need to be replaced when they get dirty. Never wash them. Check your manufacturer’s directions, but heavy use might be about 6 months. For light use the filter could last a year or more. Aluminum mesh filters are easily washed out as needed, and in fact are dishwasher safe. The stainless steel baffle filters can be washed in a sink full of hot soapy water.
Clean the outside of your filter often with a soft cloth using hot water, dishwashing detergent, and ammonia to cut the grease. When you remove the filters for cleaning, also clean out inside the hood cavity including the fan blades if accessible. It gets dusty up there and surprisingly some grease seems to be able to get past those filters.