How To Clean Vent Under Microwave

Date Published: August 1, 2021
Author: Kylee Smith

The vent or grease filter underneath your over-the-range microwave needs cleaning from time to time to keep the exhaust fan running efficiently. The grease buildup on the vent under your microwave can be quite stubborn to remove; however, when the right cleaning products are used and the right techniques are employed, this task is simple. Follow our step-by-step instructions on how to clean the vent under your microwave.

Microwave Vent Cleaning Supplies

Seven supplies are necessary to tackle the grease and eliminate the buildup. You will likely have most, if not all of the supplies needed for this task, around your house. These supplies along with four easy steps will have your microwave vent looking great.

Small Cleaning Brush

 A small cleaning brush or an old toothbrush is used for touchup purposes at the very end of this cleaning task.

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Cleaning Gloves

Heavy-duty rubber gloves designed for tough cleaning tasks will protect your hands while cleaning the vent and filter of your microwave.

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Dish Soap

Dish soap is designed to cut grease, which is why it is the preferred cleaning agent for cleaning under the vent of your microwave.

Dawn Ultra Dishwashing Liquid Dish Soap (4x19oz) + Non-Scratch Sponge (2ct), Original Scent (Packaging May Vary), Combo pack
  • 50 percent Less Scrubbing
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Baking Soda

Baking soda is another cleaning product that can help remove grease buildup from the vents under a microwave.

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Large Pot

You will need a pot large enough to hold the grease filter or vent along with an ample amount of water and cleaning products.

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Metal Tongs

A pair of metal tongs are used to turn the vent or grease filter in the boiling water as it is being cleaned.

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Cleaning Vent Grease Filter Under Microwave

While the method to clean the vent underneath your over-the-range microwave requires several supplies, the process is simple. In four easy steps, the grease filter will look spotless, ensuring the exhaust fan works properly. When performing this task, the cleaning agents do most of the work for you.

Step One: Unplug Microwave and Remove Filter

Before doing anything, unplug the microwave. Next, with rubber cleaning gloves on, remove the vent or grease filter from your microwave. Do not rinse the filter; simply lay it down and continue to the next step.

Step Two:  Prepare Cleaning and Soaking Solution

Fill the large pot about halfway with tap water and bring it to a boil. Add three teaspoons of dish soap and one-half cup of baking soda. Stir the water to properly mix the baking soda and dish soap into the water.

  • Pro Tip: More baking soda can be added if the grease buildup is extra stubborn.

Step Three: Soak Grease Filter In Cleaning Solution

Using a pair of metal tongs, place half of the vent or grease filter into the large pot. You are going to notice the grease bubbling up right away. Allow the cleaning solution and boiling water time to do their job.

  • Pro Tip: The entire soaking process should take about 15 minutes. Halfway through, flip the grease filter around so the other side can be soaked in the cleaning solution.

Step Four: Touch-Up, Rinse, And Dry

Use a small cleaning brush to tackle any stubborn grease spots. Rinse the grease filter and allow for it to air dry. Replace the vent to your over-the-range microwave and dispose of the water in the pot.

  • Pro Tip: Do not pour the greasy water down the sink or out on the lawn; instead, pour it down the toilet.

Final Thoughts

While this cleaning task could be completed without all the suggested supplies, this step-by-step process is the best way to get the job done. The combination of dish soap and baking soda works together to cut grease and release it from the grease filter. While soaking is required, this cleaning task can be completed quickly and easily.

FAQ: Cleaning Vent Underneath Over-The-Range Microwave

The vent underneath an over-the-range microwave is out of sight and out of mind. Unfortunately, this does not exempt homeowners from this important cleaning task. Cleaning the vent under the microwave the exhaust fan work properly. Thankfully, the task is quite simple and is even easier when completed routinely.

How often should you clean the vent under your microwave?

Clean the vent or grease filter underneath your over-the-range microwave once a month. Cleaning this important filter helps improve the functionality of your exhaust fan and cuts down on smoke and cooking odors. If you cook often, this task may need to be performed more often.

Can a charcoal filter be cleaned and reused?

No. While the vent or grease filter can be cleaned and reused, that is not the case with a charcoal filter. A charcoal filter must be replaced at least once a year. If you are an avid cook, you may need to clean it more often.

How do I know if my microwave’s charcoal filter is recirculating air properly?

A charcoal filter helps to purify the air. If the charcoal filter is not working properly, you will begin to notice cooking odors long after your meal is done. If you begin to notice lingering odors in your kitchen, it is time to replace the charcoal filter in your microwave exhaust vent.

What happens if you fail to clean or replace the filter often enough?

Failure to clean or replace the filter often enough eventually compromises the exhaust fan. It can shorten the life of your microwave, and grease and other residue start to build up around the exhaust fan, on the microwave, and the surrounding walls. You will have a nasty mess on your hands at that point.

Can a grease filter be placed in the dishwasher?

Truthfully, most grease filters can be placed in a dishwasher; however, individual owner’s manuals must be checked before you make such a move. Additionally, this is not the preferred cleaning method but certainly an alternative solution if you are pressed for time.

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