How to Clean Microwave Filters

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Updated February 12, 2023

If you have been using your kitchen to create elaborate meals, you may wonder how to clean microwave filters. Even the best microwaves can get greasy and dirty over time, and their filters are no exception. Keep reading to learn all about microwave filters and how to clean them.


  • If your microwave has a fan, it likely also has a charcoal filter or some kind to help clean the air in your kitchen. This is particularly common with range microwaves.
  • To clean a microwave grease filter, fill a sink or container with hot water and dish soap.
  • Let the filter rest in the soapy water for 10 minutes, rotating and repeating after. Next, rinse the grease filter and allow it to dry.

What is a Microwave Filter?

If your microwave has a fan, it likely also has a charcoal filter of some kind to filter out impurities from the air. These filters come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and types, though they all function similarly. You should keep a microwave charcoal filter clean because, well, they are the only microwave oven cooking accessory that is working to keep the air in your kitchen clean.

Insider Tip

If you aren’t sure if your microwave has an air filter, check around the exterior for an opening or consult the instructions.

How to Properly Clean a Microwave Filter

Tools Needed: Screwdriver (in some cases), dish soap, warm water

Luckily, cleaning a microwave filter is a pretty simple process (like cleaning a microwave vent), requiring minimal tools, as the same can not be said when conducting repair jobs like learning how to fix a microwave door hinge.


Look for the housing that contains the filters in your individual microwave. They may be affixed with simple clips or they could be screwed in.


Remove the filters from the housing via the correct means for your microwave oven.


Fill a sink or medium-sized container with warm water and add a small amount of dish soap. The amount of dish soap needed will change depending on the size of your filter.


Let the filter sit in soapy water for ten minutes.


Rotate the filter and let it sit for another ten minutes.


Wash the filter off with tap water thoroughly until you are sure that all traces of soap have disappeared. Take your time with it.


Take great caution to dry the filter thoroughly, as inserting a damp filter back into your microwave could damage internal components.


Once the filter is totally dry, reinsert it back into the microwave and close up the housing via the same method you used to open it up in the first place. On the other hand, if you find the microwave too dirty to keep clean, you’ll want to dispose of that old device.


How often should you replace your microwave charcoal filter?

Unlike an aluminum mesh filter, some exhaust fan charcoal filters need to be replaced instead of cleaned. Do this once every six months.

Can I clean my microwave filters in the dishwasher?

You should not, as the dishwasher could damage the filter and destroy its utility. Just use clean water and dish soap.

How often should you clean your microwave grease filter?

This will depend on the type of filter and how often you use the microwave, but experts agree that you should clean them around every four to six weeks.

STAT: A particulate air filter is a device composed of fibrous, or porous materials that remove solid particulates such as dust, pollen, mold, and bacteria from the air. (source)

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