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May 12, 2011 10:05 AM

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.

    3 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.

        1. re: liveforfood

          Four years since your post, and be advised that during those four years, and before them, we have experienced exactly and all of what you describe, including the mysterious grease drips. Furthermore, the heat lamp switch now works only occasionally due to grease buildup in what appears to be a totally inaccessible area. And yes, we do clean the whole apparatus frequently and well.

      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!

              8 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. re: mouse0959

                  On my ~10 year old 30" SS hood, the grease tray dripped in each corner right from the start. Yes disgusting. Mine is easily removed and once completely degreased I sealed the inside corners with shoe-goo... yep. Could have used silicone or whatever flexible sealant you want.
                  I found it amazing they (Viking) figured simply bending metal would contain liquefied grease/oil.
                  Maybe it was designed in the day folks cooked more with lard or fat, rather than lighter oils? No excuses as it's an easy design fix.