Cleaning or Replacing Microwave Grease Filter: What You Need to Know

Why Should I Clean My Microwave Grease Filter?

The purpose of a microwave grease filter is to catch grease that flies up from your stovetop. So you’ll only have a grease filter if you have an over-the-stove microwave.

The grease filter helps the exhaust fan to work efficiently by catching the grease in the air before it clogs up the fan. But a filter can only hold so much grease before it gets saturated and once it’s full–it won’t do you any good. Plus, grease-covered grease filters look nasty, and the dirtier they get, the harder they are to clean. That’s why it’s recommended that you clean yours monthly to stay on top of the mess.

What Happens If I Don’t Clean My Microwave Grease Filter?

If you fail to clean your grease filter you’re probably looking at more grease stains on the walls surrounding your stovetop, a less functional exhaust fan, and sticky buildup on the grease filter that will trap food and other grossness. But ultimately, that’s really it.

Panic level: 2

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How To Deep Clean Your Microwave Grease Filter:


  • 1. Determine the type of filter you have.
    • There are two ways people tend to clean their grease filters: in the dishwasher, or by hand. To clean the filter in the dishwasher you need to make sure it’s dishwasher safe. Stainless steel filters are ok to wash in the dishwasher, but you need to hand wash aluminum ones.

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  • 2. Unplug your microwave.
    • Before you remove your filter, it’s best if you unplug your microwave just to be safe.

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  • 3. Slide or twist the cover for the filter off if there is one.
    • The placement of microwave grease filters vary from machine to machine, but they can typically be found on the underside of the microwave, clamped onto the machine by some sort of “slide-in” holding device. You’ll want to maneuver the filter carefully until you can slide or pop it out.

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  • 4. Put filter in dishwasher or prepare boiling water.
    • If you’re going the dishwasher route, go ahead and stick it in and press start. If you’re hand cleaning it, it’s a little more complicated, but still very easy.

      Fill a large pot up with water and add one cup of baking soda and a teaspoon of dish soap. Bring it to a boil and then put the filter in as far as it will go.

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  • 5. Let it soak.
    • Let the filter soak until it is clean, this usually will take about 30 minutes, then flip the filter to the dirty side and do it again. Be careful and wear oven mitts because the metal filter (and the pot) will get very hot!

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  • 6. Remove filter from water and let it cool.
    • You can use tongs or some other tool so that you don’t burn your hands.

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  • 7. Scrub off any remaining debris.
    • Honestly, if you use the baking soda and dish soap combo, your filter will likely be pretty close to sparkling clean after just letting it soak for 30 minutes on each side. But if there is anything caked on, you can use a scrub brush and some dish soap to remove it.

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  • 8. Put filter back.
    • When the filter is totally dry, put it back on your microwave the same way you took it off. That’s it!

      A note about charcoal filters…Many new microwaves come with charcoal filters that are very effective at catching grease. Some microwaves have charcoal filters as well as aluminum/steel filters. If you have a charcoal filter, it is important to replace it every 6 months. And whatever you do, don’t bother trying to clean it– charcoal filters are not reusable!

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