How To Clean the Microwave Filters

December 7, 2022
Microwave Repair

The purpose of your microwave filter is to catch grease and grime so it doesn’t end up on your kitchen walls or roof. They also ensure your microwave fan can work properly. To ensure the filter does its job, it needs to be cleaned regularly and when it wears out, replaced.

In this guide, we’re going to give you step-by-step instructions on how to clean your microwave filter. Simply follow our tips and your filter will be nice and clean in no time. This guide should work for all major makes and models of microwaves, including ones made by top brands such as Bosch, Samsung, GE, Haier, and Whirlpool.

If your microwave has a charcoal filter, it can’t be washed – you need to replace it. Following the steps we provide to clean a microwave filter, we’ve written instructions for how to replace a charcoal filter. We then finish the article by discussing some FAQs about cleaning microwave filters.

Before you get started, make sure you have some basic tools and cleaning products on hand such as baking soda, dish soap, gloves, a small brush (an old toothbrush will work), a sponge, a screwdriver, and a clean cloth.

Steps to clean a microwave filter

Step 1 – Turn the power off

Before you do anything else, turn the power to your microwave off. Working with microwaves can be very dangerous due to the risk of electric shocks. To reduce anything bad happening, switch the power off and unplug your appliance. If you cannot access the power socket, turn the circuit breaker off.

Step 2 – Locate the filter

Once the power is switched off, the next step is to locate the filter. Most filters can be found underneath the microwave sitting in a slot. To remove the filter, grab the small tab to release it and it should then come right out. If the filter is covered in a lot of grease and grime wear a pair of gloves.

Step 3 – Soak the filter

Next, fill up your sink (or a bucket) with hot soapy water. If your filter is really dirty, pour ¼ cup of baking soda into the sink or bucket. This will provide more cleaning power. Once the sink or bucket is full, place the dirty filter in the water and make sure it’s fully submerged. Leave it to soak for about 15 minutes to give the soap time to attack the grease and grime.

Step 4 – Give the filter a scrub

After the filter has soaked for 15 or more minutes, use a soft brush (or an old toothbrush) to give the filter a good scrub. Just be careful not to push down too hard on the filter as it’s quite delicate. 

Step 5 – Rinse and dry the filter

Once the filter is nice and clean, rinse it under warm water until all of the soap suds are washed off. Use a dry cloth or paper towels to dry it. You can also leave it in a warm spot to air dry if you have the time.

Step 6 – Put the filter back

Once the filter is dry, you can put it back into your microwave. Make sure it goes in exactly the same way as you took it out. That’s it. Your microwave filter should now be nice and clean.

How to replace a charcoal filter

If your microwave has a charcoal filter that can’t be cleaned, you need to replace it when it gets dirty. Thankfully, this is a simple task and you can find replacement charcoal filters at any store that sells household goods. 

Here’s how to replace a charcoal filter:

Step 1 – Remove the old filter

Start by locating the screws that hold the vent in place. You should be able to find them at the top of your microwave but if you’re not sure, your user manual will be able to tell you. Once located, unthread and remove the screws. Place them out of the way in a safe place so they won’t be lost. Once the screws are out of the way, remove the vent panel and carefully remove the filter. Wear gloves if you don’t want to get grease and grime on your hands.

Step 2 – Install the new filter

Once the old filter has been removed, position the replacement charcoal filter in the slot you removed the old one from, you then need to pull on it until it’s secure.

Step 3 – Reattach the vent 

Now that the new filter is installed, reattach the vent and secure it with the screws you removed earlier. Your new charcoal filter should now be installed.

Microwave filter cleaning FAQ

How often should I clean my microwave filter?

To keep your microwave filter functioning effectively, you should clean it a minimum of once every three months. However, if you use your microwave a lot and/or cook food that produces lots of grease and grime, you should clean it once a month. Keep an eye on how dirty it gets in between cleans and adjust the frequency accordingly.

How often does a charcoal microwave filter need to be replaced?

Microwave charcoal filters need to be replaced every six months. However, if you use your microwave for cooking a lot and/or you cook foods that produce lots of grease and grime, replace it every three months. If you don’t use your microwave often, you can replace the filter every nine months.

Where do you buy a replacement microwave charcoal filter?

All major homeware and hardware stores should stock replacement microwave charcoal filters. When purchasing a new filter, make sure you get the correct one. The easiest way to ensure you purchase the correct replacement filter is to consult your user manual to find the part number for the correct filter.


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