How to Clean a Microwave Filter – 3 Easy Steps

We’ll show you how to quickly access and clean a microwave filter in three steps. Some microwave ovens, especially those over-the-range models are similar to regular ovens in that they have a grease filter as well as a type of air filter. Both need to be cleaned regularly for optimal performance and safety. 

Note: This article will use a Samsung microwave as an example, but most things discussed will apply to all microwaves out there.

The steps on how to clean a microwave filter are simple to follow and can be done in three steps of removing, cleaning, and replacing. The charcoal filter, which recirculates air, can’t be cleaned so it must be replaced every six to 12 months depending on how much you cook. 

What Is the Grease Filter?

clean a Samsung microwave filter: location

The grease filter is located underneath the microwave. It is a shallow pan that can be pulled out. Its job is to collect grease that is produced while cooking. 

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The grease filter can become quite a mess over time. Grease can get sticky and harden on it and enough accumulation can result in a fire hazard. This is why it’s important to clean your grease filter once every three months if you cook regularly. 

The Samsung microwave is unique in that it has a function that reminds you to clean the grease filter. You can set it and then just follow the schedule. 

Read: What Is Eco Mode On Samsung Microwave?

Cleaning the Grease Filter

Cleaning any grease filter is an unpleasant job but it’s easy with the Samsung microwave. It can be done in three steps. 

Remove the Filter

Remove the filter

The first thing to do is remove the filter. There is a notice on the front of the filter case that says “PUSH.” Push the front and the filter will pop out. Now, pull the filter case out from the microwave. 

Read: How To Set Power Level On Samsung Microwave?

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How to Clean A Microwave Filter

The second step is to clean the filter. You can do this by hand using a good degreaser but one thing that makes the Samsung microwave easy is you can also put the grease filter in the dishwasher for cleaning. 

Re-insert the Microwave Filter

Once the filter is clean, re-insert the filter into the microwave oven. You do that by sliding the filter into the frame. Push it to lock it in place. 

What if there are two grease filters?

Some Samsung models have two metal grease filters. They are reusable also and should be cleaned every four months for those that use their ranges regularly. 

The only difference in removing and cleaning these filters is the locking direction. You will use the tab to slide it up to remove it. To re-install it, put it into the frame slot, push up, and to the right to lock it. Some models will have you push it to the left, so you may want to look in your owner’s manual for the specific direction.

Read: How To Silence A Samsung Microwave?

What Is the Charcoal Filter?

Charcoal filters move air around and are great to keep a kitchen within normal temperatures during cooking. The charcoal filter will need regular replacement, just like the air filter in your home. 

Where is the Charcoal Filter?

charcoal filter location

The charcoal filter is located on the top of the microwave. It is mounted to a vent and that makes it a little more cumbersome to take out. However, anyone can do it.

Read: How To Set Clock On Samsung Microwave?

Changing the Filter

First, you will need to unplug the microwave or turn off the power to it. Open the door and find the mounting screws to the vent. They will be on the microwave’s top area. There may be two or three screws. 

Use a Phillips head screwdriver to remove the screws. Now, you will need to slide the vent to the left. Then, pull it straight out. 

At this point, you will see the charcoal filter. It will be on an angle and looks like a grated filter. Lift it to remove. Install a new filter where it has the same angle as the old one. 

You are basically done. You just need to replace the vent, rethread the mounting screws and close the door. Re-establish power to the appliance. 

One thing you will need to do is reset the clock. Clocks must be manually reset after you disconnect microwaves from the power supply. 

You will also need to reset your change filter reminder. You can do that by holding down the 0 button on the keypad.

Read: Why Samsung Microwave Vent Is Not Working?

What happens if you don’t clean a microwave filter?

Those who fail to regularly clean their grease filters will find more grease stains on your stovetop and the walls. Your exhaust fan won’t work as well and the filter will be gross with food and grease trapped and built up into a sticky mess. 

What happens if I don’t replace my charcoal filter?

You will find that odors and grease will build up in your microwave. Not only will that smell bad so that you don’t want to use it for food, but it will shorten the life of your appliance. 

What does it mean when my Samsung microwave says ‘filter’?

Eventually, a “filt” message will come up on the display. It is the reminder feature to replace the charcoal air filter or clean the grease filter. This is pre-programmed into Samsung microwaves. It doesn’t indicate an error. 

Remove the filters, clean or replace, and re-insert them into your microwave. Be sure to reset the reminder. As a note, the reminder for the grease filter comes more quickly than the air filter so you don’t have to replace both every time. 

The grease filter should be cleaned every three months while the air filter should be replaced once or twice a year, depending on your cooking habits. 

How many filters does a microwave have?

Most have two filters, a grease filter, and a charcoal filter. However, some Samsung models have two reusable grease filters. 

Do countertop microwaves have filters that need to be cleaned?

No, microwaves that sit on a counter don’t have filters that need cleaning. The ones with filters are over-the-range microwaves. They also function as an air hood for your stovetop and move air back into your kitchen.

What does a charcoal filter do?

A charcoal filter in a microwave absorbs unwanted cooking odors and recirculates air into the kitchen so it doesn’t get too hot while cooking. They are found in over-the-range microwaves that don’t have a vent to the outside.

How do I clean a greasy microwave?

Put water into a bowl with three tablespoons of vinegar. Run it on high for two to three minutes so that it boils. It will soften grease and hard food debris. Now, wipe the inside of the microwave with a damp towel.

wiping down the microwave

Is there a certain brand of charcoal filter I must use to replace my old one?

It is recommended to stick to brand-name filters to be certain of their compatibility with your microwave. Always check for your exact model number so that you get the correct filter.  There are off-brand filters available, usually for a cheaper price, but just know that you run the risk of poorer quality as compared to OEM parts.

Samsung has many models and all the filters won’t fit all models, so it pays to do some research to order the correct one. 

Are Samsung air filters for microwaves expensive?

No, they aren’t expensive at all. They are highly affordable even for some of the company’s higher-end microwaves. Some come in dual packs for under $20. Others are sold individually for around $20 each.

You can order them online too directly from Samsung or a third-party seller so you can search for the best price.

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