Kitchen showcasing an over-the-range Maytag® microwave

How to Clean a Microwave Filter

If you’re not sure when you last cleaned or replaced your microwave filter, chances are that the time to do that is now. Grease or charcoal filters that are part of over-the-counter microwaves are usually what keep your kitchen air clear of odors and grease as you cook. To keep your vent fan working optimally, use this step-by-step guide to clean your microwave filter.

How to Clean your Microwave’s grease filter

There are many different types of microwaves with different functionalities and types of filters. Use this guide as a general reference for cleaning or replacing your filter. For specific instructions, consult your owner’s manual.

what you’ll need

  • Dish soap 
  • Baking soda 
  • Container to soak filter (or your sink)
  • Gloves 
  • Screwdriver 
  • Old toothbrush or a coarse dish sponge
Power cord being unplugged from electrical outlet

Step 1:

Unplug Your Microwave

To be on the safe side, make sure that you unplug your microwave. Anytime you are dealing with electric products, it’s better to unplug them before performing maintenance tasks.

View of the bottom of the microwave showing location of the grease filter

Step 2:

Locate the grease filter

The grease filter is usually located underneath the microwave. It’s a metal mesh rectangle or square with a small tab.


Hand removing grease filter from bottom of the microwave

Step 3:

Remove grease filter from housing slot

To remove the filter, you can simply push the filter inward and, using the tab, slide it to remove it from the housing slot. If your filter is very dirty or if you don’t want to get your hands dirty, you can use gloves.

Hand lowering grease filter into sink with soapy water

Step 4:

Soak the grease filter

Using hot water and dish soap, submerge your filter in the sink or a deep container for at least 10 minutes, or longer if necessary. The filter should look visibly cleaner, and any residue should be able to come off easily. For a particularly dirty grease filter, add ¼ cup of baking soda to the water.

Hand scrubbing grease filter with scouring sponge

Step 5:

Scrub filter

With an old toothbrush or a coarse dish sponge, lightly scrub the filter to remove any stuck-on grease or particles. Be careful not to scrub too hard so that you don’t bend the filter. Once done cleaning, you can sanitize the sponge in the microwave.

Grease filter being rinsed under a running faucet

Step 6:

Rinse the grease filter

Once you’ve scrubbed the filter, rinse it with clean water and pat dry with paper towels or let it air dry.

Hand placing filter back onto its position within microwave

Step 7:

Place grease filter back into slot

After your microwave filter has dried, place it back into the housing slot by gently pushing it inward and using the tab to slide it forward to its original position.

How to replace a charcoal filter

If your microwave vent has a charcoal filter then you’ll need to replace it as they can't be cleaned. You can find replacement charcoal filters at any home improvement stores or on your microwave manufacturer’s website. If your microwave is Maytag brand, you can find filter replacements here.

Step 1: Locate vent screws 

Locate the screws and loosen them with a screwdriver. Set the screws aside for when it’s time to replace the vent. Typically, these screws will be located on top of the microwave. However, for the exact location, consult your owner’s manual. 

Step 2: Remove vent panel and filter 

After removing the screws, move the vent panel. Remove the filter by gently lifting the filter away from the microwave and tilting the top part down. You can also use gloves during this part to avoid getting your hands dirty.

Step 3: Replace charcoal filter 

Take the new charcoal filter, push it into the slot and pull down until it slides into place, typically at an angle.

Step 4: Replace vent and screws 

Align your vent with the corresponding slots and place screws back. Tighten with a screwdriver. 

Underside of a Maytag microwave showing grease filter Underside of a Maytag microwave showing grease filter

How often should you clean your microwave grease filter?

How often you clean your microwave grease filter will depend on the type of cooking you do and how often you cook. As a general rule of thumb, you should clean your grease filter at least every three months. However, if you cook often, it may be beneficial to clean it more often—around every four to six weeks.

How often should you replace your microwave charcoal filter?

Microwave charcoal filters should be replaced at the very least every six months. However, if you cook frequently, check your filter every three months or so to see the level of soil it has and replace it if necessary. Alternatively, if you don’t cook too often, then you may be able to hold out on replacing your filter every seven to eight months.

Where can you purchase a microwave filter replacement?

You can purchase microwave filter replacements at any home improvement store or on your appliances’ manufacturer’s website. If you need specific information on what kind of filter you need to purchase, you can consult your owner’s manual.

If your microwave isn't heating properly, or if you’re nearing the end of your microwave’s life and are looking to purchase a new one, Maytag offers a wide range of microwaves to choose from, so you can find the one that works best for your needs.

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