How To Clean A Microwave’s Grease Filter

After using an over-the-range microwave, you might think it's time to clean it up. While you have the inside already covered, there are some components that you might not know how to clean. More specifically, the grease filter is what's confusing you. How do you clean one? If that's what you're trying to find out, let's take a look! 

To clean a grease filter, you will have to go through several steps. How long it takes depends on the duration it went without cleaning. Nevertheless, to make it look good as new, you will have to:

  1. Unplug the microwave and remove the grease filter.
  2. Create a cleaning solution.
  3. Submerge the filter in the solution for 10 minutes. 
  4. Scrub the filter.
  5. Rinse and dry it. 
  6. Place it back into the hood.

These are the general steps to clean a grease filter. Each one shouldn't take too much time to accomplish, though you might want to know more about the process. If you'd like to go in-depth with the cleaning method, keep reading ahead. 

Hand in glove wipes the microwave inside

Can Microwave Filters Be Washed?

First things first, we'll have to figure out if microwave filters can be washed. It comes as no surprise that you can. However, there is one type that you can skip out on washing. Specifically, charcoal filters don't need any cleaning. Instead, you'll need to replace charcoal filters every six months.

An angular shot of Columbus Industries microwave vent filters

The other two kinds of filters, aluminum or stainless steel filters, require monthly cleaning. If you want to be on the safe side, you should consult the manufacturer's instructions to ensure they are dishwasher-safe. Otherwise, you'll want to opt out of using the dishwasher and wash it by hand. 

So, now that we know what filter you should be cleaning, let's get to work! 

Cleaning the Filter

Unplug the Microwave and Remove the Grease Filter

This first step is self-explanatory. You should power off the microwave and remove the filter from it. Generally, you will find two types of filters within your over-the-range microwave oven. One of them is a charcoal filter. 

It's held in place with screws. Additionally, it will be located at the top of the microwave. This kind is not what we're looking to find. The grease filter that you want to clean is situated at the bottom of the microwave. 

In general, there should be no tools required to pop or slide it out of its housing. If you're having trouble getting it out, consult your user manual to learn how. Now, we have to identify what type of filter it is again. 

If it's a stainless steel mesh filter, it should be okay to put in a dishwasher. However, aluminum mesh filters will require hands-on cleaning. 

Create a Cleaning Solution

Now, you'll need to create a solution that will rid the filter of grease buildup. To do so, you will need to fill a basin or sink with boiling water. Add a quarter cup of baking soda and one tablespoon of a degreasing dish detergent. 

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Alternatively, if you don't want to waste sink space waiting to degrease a filter, you can use a pot too. With this method, you will need 1-cup of baking soda and 1-teaspoon of dish soap. Then, let the solution boil. Once it's hot enough, you can insert your grease filter in as far as it can go. Turn off the heat to soak.

Submerge the Filter In the Solution for 10 Minutes

Let the filter soak in the solution for 10 minutes. Since it collects grease, there will be some deposits that are hard to scrub away. Letting it soak will make it easier for you to clean. 

Scrub the Filter

Once 10 minutes pass, grab a soft-bristled brush or a dish brush to scrub away any buildups and grime. Some spots are too small to clean. So, you may also use a toothbrush to reach the smaller areas. After finishing the scrubbing, rinse the filter again to get rid of suds and soap residue. 

During this whole process, remember to be gentle with the filter. If you are not, you can potentially bend the filter or frame. 

Rinse and Dry It

Before you pop or slide it back into its chamber, you'll need to give it a final rinse to get rid of any residue. Afterward, shake the filter to remove any excess water. Grab a cloth or paper towel and pat it dry as much as you can. Let it sit to air dry completely. 

Place It Back Into the Hood

Grab and inspect the filter to confirm that it is dry entirely. If it is, slide or pop it back into place. Now your grease filter is as good as new! 

Of course, it's always easier to read up on cleaning a filter than doing the work. Additionally, some may benefit from visual guidance. So, here's a YouTube video for a demonstration: 

What Does a Microwave Grease Filter Do?

After cleaning the grease filter, you might be wondering, what do they do exactly? As the name suggests, it filters grease. Though, the grease is not a product of the microwave or the contents inside. The source of the grease is your stovetop. 

Without a grease filter, the exhaust fan won't be able to work as efficiently. It's a way to safeguard the fan from grease buildup. But, like most filters, there will be a time where there is too much buildup. For this reason, it might start looking yellow and grimy overall. 

If you don't clean the grease filter enough, the grease will have to go somewhere. And, that somewhere is the walls surrounding the stovetop. At worst, there will be a build-up that you'll have to clean. 

How Do You Install a Microwave Grease Filter?

Installing a microwave grease filter is as easy as taking it out. As mentioned above, there are no tools required to install it. It's as simple as sliding the filter in the correct place. Though, some microwaves might differ in how many filters are used.

Some microwaves only use one filter. Others require you to use two of them. Regardless, the installation process stays the same. If you'd like a demonstration of it, here's a YouTube video to help you visualize how it should work: 

Why Is My Microwave Leaking Grease?

After some time, you might start to see grease leaking from the microwave. It isn't a common occurrence. But, sometimes, we can become a bit negligent. In this case, a microwave will begin to leak grease if you haven't kept up with maintenance in a while. 

The leak that you see is most likely a result of excessive grease build-up. Though, in some cases, it might not be grease build-up on the filter. As some users suggest, it could be the grease that is building up in the ducts. So, if your microwave is relatively new, you might have some cleaning to do on the ductwork rather than the filter. 

Why Is the Inside of My Microwave Yellow?

There can be a range of reasons why the inside of your microwave is turning yellow. Depending on how often you use it, microwaves go through a lot. At times, you might accidentally splatter or spill inside, which could cause the inside to become discolored. 

Leaving bags of popcorn sitting for long can cause yellows stains. Have you recently put oily foods or mustard inside there? These types of foods can also influence how yellow the inside is going to look. 

Cleaning the Stains

cropped view of woman hands in rubber gloves cleaning microwave with sponge

While it might look like an eyesore, there's no reason to worry. Cleaning the stains is simple. You'll need a cleaning solution using water, lemon, and baking soda. Mix the ingredients and cook on high for 2 minutes. 

Let it settle for a few minutes before opening to clean the inside. You'll want to begin scrubbing the stains while it's still warm inside for the best results. 

Can You Put a Microwave Grease Filter In the Dishwasher?

Clean cutlery and plates after washing in dishwasher machine

If you want to skip the hands-on work, you might opt to pop the filter in the dishwasher to let it do the work for you. Although it might seem like a time-saving idea, you'll need to be careful. As mentioned, there are two types of filters you might come across. 

The first is a stainless steel mesh filter. In the case that your filter is a stainless steel variation, it should be okay to place it in a dishwasher. The other kind would be an aluminum mesh filter. These variations will not hold up well in a dishwasher. So, it requires hands-on cleaning. 

Though, if you want to be on the safe side, you consult the manufacturer's cleaning instructions instead. This way, you get an accurate idea of what you can do to the components in your appliance. 

Final Takeaway

Girl cleaning oven in the kitchen, How To Clean A Microwave's Grease Filter

It's not always easy keeping everything clean and tidy. For some, it can be easy to forget to clean the microwave's grease filters. What's more, dealing with grease can be a messy process. So, looking for ways to clean it effortlessly always helps! We hope you found the information above insightful. 

Before you go, do you have other microwave concerns? Do you need help cleaning the inside of a microwave? We've got you covered! To find out more, check out our post here

Need additional help cleaning the glass on the microwave door? It's a simple process. You can find out more by checking out our post here. Until next time! 

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