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Viking Range Hood Cleaning Nightmare

Has anyone had the following similar experience with their Viking Range Hood? We have a VCWH 3048/SS model over our 30" Viking Range. I clean it often, about every two months, and find it to be such a painful, labor/time intensive project. I truly dread this task. First, one must be a contortionist to remove the filter baffles and reinstall them once cleaned, and to clean well inside of the hood, too (also, it is important to wear gloves when doing this so that hands do not get cut on the sharp metal edges of the pieces). Once the baffles, grease tray and all removable parts are taken out, I usually run them through the dishwasher on the heavy duty setting (recommended in the manual) and then clean them further with a cotton cloth once they have run through to make sure there is not residual grease. But then, I've found that there is grease coating areas of the hood that is not easily accessible or not accessible at all. I know there is grease build up in places I cannot access or even see because even after I have cleaned everything I can possibly clean until there are no traces of any grease residue at all, when I am cooking and the heat rises, nasty grease melts from somewhere and trickles down the inside of the hood and drips onto my counter and range top. I suppose if I was tiny like George from George Shrinks, I'd be able to get into those places. It really makes me angry, needless to say, after I've spent an entire afternoon cleaning the thing obsessively. Granted we cook a lot and fully utilize our equipment, but isn't that why one buys a "professional" level range and hood? It seems this hood should be easier to clean and that the design should ensure that grease does not get trapped in places one can't ever reach. I am again disappointed in Viking (I've complained about my range here before, too). Seems Viking products might be more about form & style than high quality and performance.

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  1. So, I guess this means I can scratch Viking off my candidate list. What makes your post of particular interest is that Consumer Reports lists in their 2009 `Kitchen Planning & Buying Guide, the Viking VCWH3048[SS] as the most highly rated range hood with a score of 83 out of 100. Far superior to the Vent-A-Hood PDH14-130[SS], or the Wolf W302718, with 72 and 73 points respectively. Admitidly, ease of cleaning was not one of the features that was evaluated, or not that I can tell from the rating table. I'm about to remodel and am in a range hood quagmire over the volume, noise level, and maintaince issues.

    Although I'm of no help to you, you have certianly been a help to me, thank you for the post.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mikie

      Now that I have seen the other responses, I might advise you not to rule out this hood completely since it seems the two others participating in this thread are not as daunted as I am with cleaning the viking. BUT before you decide on which hood to get, you might want to find out about cleaning ease as another consideration. I can say that the hood functions well--draws as it should. There is a good bit of air noise (vs. motor) when it is on the high setting and a slight buzz when set on low. My husband is very sound sensitive and our downstairs area housing our kitchen is a wide open space, with three rooms that all meld together--he was worried about how it would be in there other rooms when we run the vent. While there is definitely, noise, even he got used to it. And truthfully, the vent is usually not running for extensive periods of time. But I seem to be the only one here who is bothered by the cleaning issue. Just thought I should add this since you are in the throws of making a decision.

      1. re: liveforfood

        liveforfood, thank you for your additional comments, the search goes on.

    2. I have a 42 inch Viking wall hood over our 36 inch rangetop and just did a cleaning this morning before seeing this post.

      I clean mine at least every month or so and don't find it such a pain. The baffles are very easy to remove, at least for me. Just lift and remove. I do use a paper towel to grab the baffle since I have had one cut me as my fingers slide along the metal edge while lifting it out.

      I think any hood will build up a lot of grease if you cook a lot and I do. Sometimes between deep cleanings I will remove the baffles and run a paper towel along the inside of the grease tray to remove any heavy grease deposits so it doesn't start to drip down the side of the hood.

      I have never used the dishwasher but know it would do a good job. I just don't want to wait that long to finish the job. I just take the baffles to the sink and spray with a degreaser called Grease Lightning. Just a rinse with hot water will remove the vast majority of the grease. Sometimes a light rub between the baffles with a sponge will remove any residue. With the baffles removed I can stand on a stool and reach up inside the hood cavity and clean the walls and exterior of the motor. Just a spritz of Grease Lightning and a paper towel will allow me to clean most all surfaces. Granted there are some areas that you just can't get to that well but this would be true for most all hoods.

      All in all it takes me under 30 minutes to do a full cleaning of the hood. Add another 15 minutes if I'm cleaning the rangetop as well.

      1. I have a 46" Viking hood over our range and don't seem to have the same problem. I don't baby the range at all and use the grill feature and fry frequently. Yes, the baffles are very sharp and the first time I cleaned the hood I sliced my fingers and required stitches. Every 2-3 weeks the baffles go in the dishwasher on the heavy duty setting and come out clean. On the interior of the hood I wipe with a undiluted detergent and rinse with water and follow up with stainless steel polish. 20-30 minutes tops for cleaning which includes the range top itself.

        1. Its interesting to hear others' experiences with range hood cleaning. I too have used Greased Lightening to clean the interior of the hood, and in between the major cleanings, I wipe the baffles, trying to get in between them to soften and sop up grease accumulation with a sponge and then a dry cloth. It sounds like others have not had such problems, except for the finger cutting (so sorry Sydneyeats needed stitches!), so maybe its just me. And you all seem to spend less time than I do on the cleaning project (wanna come over and do mine?). I don't know why we have had such grease build up on ours in unreachable places when I clean it regularly. Maybe I should do it every two weeks, esp. in the winter when we do more indoor cooking/pan frying. I'll give that a try.

          1. I've been having the same problem as liveforfood with the grease dripping from the corner of my Viking hood (and I too clean the baffles in the dishwasher and climb up on my stove to clean the interior). It's worse in the summer as things heat up. I've called Viking that their solution is to continue to run the exhaust after cooking so that all particles are drawn out, but I don't think that's the problem. I've been thinking of getting a professional exhaust cleaner in like the restaurants do. If anyone has any other suggestions, it would be appreciated!

            7 Replies
            1. re: mouse0959

              It's not a mystery why the oil drips down the corners. As oil collects in the baffles it runs down into the drip tray which can spill over and this oil runs down between the joints in the metal to the front corners. The only way to combat the oil drips is to keep the drip tray from collecting and holding too much oil. I do most of my cooking on the right side of my rangetop so I will often just pull one baffle out on that side and with a paper towel mop up the oil in the drip tray, making sure to get as much oil as I can. It's surprising how much can accumulate in a short period of time if you pan saute a lot. It's good to know that all this oil is not going into my kitchen. The hood is doing what it's suppose to do but obviously there are some issues. It doesn't take much to keep these things in check. A full cleaning is not that hard and I would think most hoods will need to be cleaned in a similar way. They are not self cleaning.

              1. re: scubadoo97

                Scubadoo07, that doesn't seem to be the issue. The baffles and drip tray are clean. The drip is at the very front corner (actually right under the Viking logo). It seems to be coming from up in the hood in places that cannot be reached to clean.

                1. re: mouse0959

                  I'm my case I'm sure it's from oil in the drip tray. The reason I feel this way is that when I'm real good about keeping it free of any oil I don't get the drip. When I've been lax between clean ups I get the drip.

                  I wanted to also add that the hood is not sealed, in that there is air moving through more than just the filters. One area I have problems with is oil collecting around the lights. So yes oil can get pulled into many areas that can't be cleaned well. I don't know how other hoods are made and compare.

                  1. re: scubadoo97

                    @scubadoo97--I have the same problem with the oil collecting around the lights since that area is unsealed and it drives me nuts! I wish there was a way to seal around the lights.

                    1. re: Sydneyeats

                      You figure out a way, let me know. For the most part I don't have a big problem with that. A bit of oil cooks on the light bulb. When doing a full cleaning I will remove the lights and clean as much as I can clean in that area.

                      1. re: scubadoo97

                        Dh offered to put a heat resistant sealant/caulk around the lights. I may take him up on his offer and will let you know how it works.

                        1. re: Sydneyeats

                          Too many other places for air to get sucked in. Let us know how it worked out

            2. My experience is that Viking products are much more about form & present themselves as more of a status symbol then being really functional products. My experience is that the ignition systems on the stoves are finicky and eventually do not work and in fact I almost blew up a stove top at a friends house because the griddle didn't light and instead filled the area with gas, my eyebrows are just starting to grow back.....

              1. Was looking for a way to clean the fan blades beyond the baffles and came across your post. First i want to say I have a real difficulty taking the baffles off. Perhaps they were installed too tightly. My husband has to do that for me (I am quite athletic). I usually use a good degreaser, let it sit in the sun on the grass and then shoot it off with a high pressure nozzle. If all the grease doesn't come off, I put them in the dishwasher.
                More importantly I wonder if the fans behind the baffles are meant to be cleaned. Mine were caked with grease and it takes a construction worker to disconnect the fan which is connected to the motor. This is a major undertaking, and I wonder how or if one is suppose to even do that.
                When I bought this range hood, I researched it, looking for the best. It works well, but it doesn't tell you how to clean it beyond washing the baffles.

                1 Reply
                1. re: BNWLU

                  My fan blades do have some coating on them but it's not so bad and it's been in use for over 5 years. I once got on the counter and was able to reach the fan blades and tried to clean them but felt that was more than I really needed to do and gave up. My baffles lift out with ease. I have two baffles and two spacers on my hood so it may be different if you have only two baffles. It may be spaced tighter.

                  Really, just cleaning the area in front of the baffles, the baffles and drip tray you will not encounter too many issues. My hood has no residual odor from old grease. The baffles and drip tray is where you will have the greatest concentration of old oil. Just taking care of that and the interior and exterior and your good to go. The hood will look clean, function well and not give off odors.

                  I don't have much experience with other brand hoods but I would have to assume that you will have much the same maintenance with most over the range hood with powerful motors.

                2. Was just attempting to clean my viking range hood. Dont usually have a problem with the baffles. I also just cut my finger bad tring to take some of the hood apart. This is really rediculus. I have spent hours tring to get this clean. It seems grease just gets into everything. like you said after cleaning and things heat up out drips the grease from areas you cant get to. We have a six burner range and use it constantly most of the time all six at once. Its quite embarrasing when you have people over for dinner and there is grease dripping from the hood.. I am to the point of tring to take the whole thing apart and give it a good cleaning but I cant even fiqure out how it comes apart. Anyway you would think they could come up with a better way to clean it. Just venting as I try to get my finger to stop bleeding.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: sunwolf

                    So funny you should post today since I just cleaned my baffles today. We had a week of unseasonable warm weather here in NY and my hood was dripping like crazy. Yes, the baffles were a bit greasy and yes, the oil trough needed to be cleaned -- but the oil dripping from the corners is the residue that is being caught in the open side areas and that is liquifying as the hood heats up. I don't think I would go so far as to try to take anything apart although I've toyed with the idea of getting the whole thing professionally cleaned. Before I do that I'm going to try putting some absorbant rags in those gaps to see if that could reduce the residue. What a pain!

                    1. re: mouse0959

                      Only when I let mine go do I get drips and it's only a drop or two and I pan saute a lot so there is a lot of atomized oil going up.

                      Use a paper towel when removing the baffles to protect your fingers.

                      Either your hoods are a lot different from mine or you guys complain more. Mine's not perfect but it's not that bad and I'm in Florida and my ambient house temp is 79. Once I get mine apart including the baffles, drip tray and spacers I can get the insides, motor and surrounding areas well cleaned with a few paper towels and spray bottle of Greased Lighting.

                      1. re: scubadoo97

                        scubadoo97 I assume I have a different model since my drip tray cannot be removed. Maybe our problem with residue dripping from the front of the hood is a Viking design flaw.

                        1. re: mouse0959

                          No doubt we have different models.

                          Mine is a 42 inch pro wall hood over a 36 inch rangetop. Too bad you can't remove your drip tray. The times I don't remove it, I run a paper towel across it after removing the baffles and there is a load of oil in it. Other places oil accumulates is around the warming light fixture which I don't keep a bulb in. Never saw the need for a warming light but the fixture is in the center and as such collects it's share of oil. Since I've only owned one real hood and not the recycling toys over most ranges I have no knowledge as too how other hoods collect oil. They have to get loaded in certain places as well. The only thing that Viking really missed the boat on is the light fixtures are not sealed so air is pulled around them and with air comes oil. I have to pull my bulbs out periodically and wipe around the sockets and clean the bulbs. Not perfect but does a good job of keeping smoke and oil out of my kitchen.

                  2. Hello All:

                    I just had a 36" Viking hood installed. After reading all the posts about cut fingers, I was interested to first examine the unit. Coming from a machinist/ME/management back ground, I can report to you the workmanship on the Viking hood is reprehensible! The hood is fabricated from power sheared stainless steel sheets and it is not deburred (deburr is to remove the burr or sharp edge). It is accepted practice in metal working companies to deburr any sharp edges you make in the manufacturing process, not only as a mark of good workmanship, but as a common courtesy to the next worker who will handle it. This is normally a labor intensive process and costs money! But it does reduce worker accidents. Viking, in their drive to reduce costs has eliminated this to the detriment of all of their customers. If you have a Viking hood, get a small hand file , fine teeth, for metal and smooth off the sharp edges where you put your hands. And wear leather, not cotton/plastic, gloves while doing it.

                    Some day, some one with a good bank account will sue Viking for this travesty and they will deserve it.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: subal

                      Yea, but the viking badge on it looks nice, right?

                    2. WARNING: DO NOT BUY THIS PRODUCT!!!
                      DANGEROUS PRODUCT: My fingers were badly sliced while on the phone with customer service as she was telling me how simple it is to remove the baffles. The baffles would not come out without forcing the lip to bend. NO WARNING TO WEAR GLOVES. NO RESPONSE FROM LISA in CUSTOMER SERVICE when I told her the baffles had just sliced my fingers.

                      DEFECTIVE PRODUCT: It is broken with less than 6 months of use. The halogen bulbs kept burning out now the dimmer is broken. In addition -- removing baffles is extremely difficult; cleaning is extremely difficult -- I used a degreaser (Advantage) and boiling water sprayed into the tight corners, but could not get a cloth, sponge or brush into the corners to clean or dry the grease-catching areas. Even though I rinsed and dried the stainless steel immediately, it is very spotted and streaked.

                      POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE: I allowed delivery of the smaller kitchen items including the Viking hood many months before the whole kitchen renovation was completed. Due to early delivery I am now out of warranty. I had to jump through hoops (and demand my contractor and distributor do the same) to prove the recent installation before they would agree to service the product. It has taken me 5 hours and a dozen phone calls to get a resolution.

                      1. Interesting thread. I just got done completely breaking down my 30" viking hood. Mine is 12 years old with a 600CFM blower. I've never had any problems with it at all.
                        I'm baffled as to how any one could have a complaint about removing the.... baffles. This is the same way they function and are removed in a professional hood system. The only difference is the size. So to me this is kinda like buying an F-350 and complaining that you get lousy MPG.
                        Removing the blower is indeed a bit of a pain. It plugs directly into the hood so disconecting is easy and then it's just held in place by two lock screws. It's a bit intimidating the first time but once you remove it it's pretty simple. You can remove the fan from the motor if you have the tool to remove the set screw. A more practical solution is to soak the fan in grill/ grease cleaner. Again mine was 12 years old so the blades were completely caked. No question about it, cleaning the actual blower fan is a royal pain.
                        However I did find one major perk for the Viking hood in that the plate above the fan which contains a damper can either be completely replaced when it gets nasty or you can clean it and for about $15 buy a new damper. With some other hood systems my hood would have needed to be replaced with out the ability to get those parts. So for me it's a bit hard to bash the product. However mine is 12 years old and things do change.
                        I also find it a pain to clean around the lights but I just remove the bulbs and use some grill cleaner sparyed on a towel to clean the SS lip where the bulbs go.
                        I guess the real question is would I buy a Viking hood again. I'm not sure because IIR they have dropped the CFM on the 30" to 480CFM. I think I'd pass on that. One things for sure when you shop hoods don't over look the blower and what the ability is to clean it. Viking does offer replacement blower fans as well for about $50. Next time I think that's the way I'd go because I spent at least $25 on cleaner and it was a nasty job.

                        18 Replies
                        1. re: TraderJoe

                          I have not torn mine down as much as you have but find the baffles easy to remove if you just use a paper towel to grasp it. I did cut myself once when they were dirty and my fingers slid down the unfinished metal. Sure I think they should finish the edges of the sheet metal better but I have not had anywhere the problems that others have had. Lights work but because the area around them is not sealed grease can build up. The only time I get grease dripping is when I have neglected my drip tray or when grease builds up around the warming light housing. All can be managed with a regular cleaning schedule. I do mine about once a month.

                          1. re: TraderJoe

                            Trader Joe, I'm intrigued. My Viking hood is about 9 years old. Never had a problem with getting the baffles out, but would love to clean the fan. So, it's held in with only two screws? thanks!

                            1. re: mouse0959

                              To remove the entire blower unit in most cases you will need to pull your range away from the wall to get enough leverage and reach the blower.

                              Remove the baffles.

                              In the front inside of your hood above the heat lamp is where the blower motor plugs into the hood. Unplug the blower. In the rear or the blower on the plate you will find two lock nuts. The one in the rear against the wall can be hard to see. There is 1 in front of the blower. loosen the one in front and remove the two in the rear.

                              Remove blower. ;)

                              Scubado I do get some grease in my seams when I clean my oven or run at high temps because after 12 years there is grease up inside where the lights go. My hood is black/brass and I want to swap out the brass for SS. Viking has conversion kits. If I do that I will take photos to show how to remove the inner panels of the hood.

                            2. re: TraderJoe

                              I am baffled by your bafflement, Trader Joe! Clearly you've missed the point -- the Pro models have changed in 12 years. The baffle removal, according to the website and all documentation, should be a no brainer, but for some of us with recent purchases (see above and other sites) the lip is too wide to allow the "push up then pull down" to work. And to have sliced fingers and non-functioning equipment on top of it makes my recommendation to NOT PURCHASE THIS PRODUCT a valuable bit of advice and not an empty complaint.

                              1. re: l.a. lloyd

                                Due to the weight of the baffles when grabed with the bare hand there is risk of the fingers sliding down the metal when lifting the baffle. My Pro is 5 yrs old and the fit of the baffles is fine both at the drip tray and the space above where the baffle slides in. Yet there is still a risk when removing the baffle with bare hands. No argument Viking should do a better job of finishing the sheet metal

                                Is it possible you got a defective hood and this is not the norm for a Viking Pro hood?

                                I think you have a legitiment complaint and Viking should replace your hood. it is defective.

                                1. re: scubadoo97

                                  You are correct, Scubadoo97, the repairman believes it is defective, so now the real work begins -- getting through the flotsam and jetsam of many layers of customer service. Will keep Chowhounds informed.

                                  1. re: l.a. lloyd

                                    Thanks for the update l.a. lloyd. Hope it all works well for you. I really have no issues with my hood. Just regular maintenance

                                2. re: l.a. lloyd

                                  lip is too wide to allow the "push up then pull down" to work
                                  Please post a photo of this lip. Not a link to Viking or a copy of some other complaint but a photo of the lip on your hood.
                                  As far as sharp edges go this is industrial SS. Their can be sharp edges and that is not brand specific. A piece of emery cloth and five minutes of your time can solve that or just wear a glove when removing the baffles or use a bar towel.
                                  Easy Peasy.
                                  Yes I'm sure products have changed which is why I disclosed the age of my product. However I very much doubt they changed from the showroom to delivery.
                                  It sounds like you have some issue with the drip tray the baffles set in to and if you post a photo we may be able to help. ;)

                                  1. re: TraderJoe

                                    If the push up and pull does not work simply put a putty knife in between the bottom of the filter and the filter trough for leverage and pull it out, the more you take out the filters the easier they come out.

                                    1. re: NapaValleySteaming

                                      I have several pro-style hoods (Viking, Vent-a-hood, and Thermador). All have done a great job, but none were easy to clean--each had its own annoyances and tricks, and each required some practice to avoid sliced up hands. Above all else, I had to learn to accept 90% clean as an acceptable target. Otherwise, blood transfusion, electroshock therapy, or heavy sedatives would be required. Getting any of them to an immaculate standard is just way too much work for me.

                                      1. re: zamorski

                                        I have a Modern Aire hood and it's quite easy to clean. Maintenance guidelines put out by the company state that only the filters need cleaning and they are easy to pop out and run through the dishwasher. The filters all have rounded (no sharp) edges.

                                        1. re: emily

                                          The Viking baffles are easy to remove as well but I can't imagine any hood only needing the filters cleaned.

                                        2. re: zamorski

                                          Thank you, thank you, thank you to all posters wishing to help, but none more so than you, Zamorski, who has given me permission either accept imperfection or get loaded. Your advise is universal. It may not only improve my relationship with my contractor, but may save my construction-ravaged marriage as well (as long as I don't choose sedatives).

                                    2. re: l.a. lloyd

                                      lip is too wide to allow the "push up then pull down" to work
                                      Well it's been several days and no photo so I'll toss this out there. The drip pan the Viking baffles set in has a high side and a low side. I've seen this complaint about the baffles before and in every case the owner or installer had put the drip pan in the hood bass ackwords with the high side facing out instead of against the wall.
                                      It reminds me of all of the complaints I see about the simmer feature on a Viking from clients and then I show them that the simmer on a Viking is not at the end of the dial by low it's the first setting on the dial. I get a lot of sheepish looks and giggles over that one. I had a client that had a Viking for several years and had never read the dial. LOL

                                      1. re: TraderJoe

                                        Thanks for your suggestions. I have had the Viking repair man out to fix the electrical problems (he had to replace several parts of our nearly new hood). He struggled and yanked at the baffle filters and finally had to bend back the oil pan to get them out. He said I should contact Viking because I could have a case for a replacement. He also stated that some versions of my model have one side of the oil pan shorter than the other -- not the case with mine. But he was very happy to announce that I will not be having the WORSE problem of them dropping into my soup (he was serious -- not the brightest penny in the piggy bank). When I showed concern for his fingers, he told me he slices them all the time on Viking hoods, then pulled out the chefs' gloves supplied to him by Viking to avoid cuts. Hmmmm, if they are acknowledging that their hoods may slice the fingers of their repairmen, should they not have a warning for the consumer? When I requested his company contact Viking on my behalf to initiate the replacement of the oil pan he told me I would have to do it myself. It took me five hours to get them to repair the electrical. I wonder how many days it will take to get them to replace the oil pan.

                                        1. re: l.a. lloyd

                                          Viking is not the only hood with unfinished sheet metal and a paper towel is all the protection that one needs when lifting out the baffles. Good luck with the replacement

                                      2. re: TraderJoe

                                        I believe I had the same unit but mine was 14 years old. I disassembled and power washed it every 3 months using Simple Green and a basic Home Depot 1600 power washer. The most difficult chore IMO was removal of the impellers from the motors using the smallest Allan wrench I owned while sitting on the burners,backwards, feeling for the set screw limited by a quarter turn at a time.
                                        Surface cleaning took a plastic bag and painters tape to protect the light fixture,more plastic to cover the burner surface,more Simple Green to break up and dissipate the grease and a can of Zep SS cleaner and conditioner to detail the vent and stove.
                                        Okay it is a PITA but it was understood when I purchased the unit in those primitive days and prepared so many epic meals on the stove.

                                      3. I know exactly what you mean. So disappointing in Viking. Just wrote them a strongly worded complaint. We inherited our viking appliances, and they have NOT lived up to the hype at all. I too can be obsessive about cleaning. And Viking makes it difficult b/c they're all these sharp edges and awkward places to reach.

                                        1. We just bought a house with a Viking Range and I am not sure it had ever been cleaned. I began cleaning the filter last night and now have cuts and slices all over my hands. I gave up after the first section as I did not have gloves. There was so much grease in spaces that I could not reach that it was frustrating.
                                          I came home to our old house wondering if I had made a mistake in buying a house with such a contraption. It is a horrible job! I have to tackle the rest after my hands heal.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: shorebess

                                            Put the grates in the dishwasher. They come out clean. You may have to do it a couple of times if they are that dirty. A pair of surgical gloves will keep you hands safe and clean when handling