This hidden microwave compartment is probably the nastiest thing in your kitchen

microwave filter
Have you ever cleaned your microwave filter?@tera.nelli on TikTok; Andrey Atanov/iStock/Getty Images

A microwave can reheat leftovers in a snap, make a mess-free batch of bacon, and give you fluffy baked potatoes without turning on the oven. But as with all kitchen appliances, your microwave requires regular maintenance. Stains and spills are obvious reasons to clean up, but there are always compartments that require extra attention once in a while.

You should always take the time to clean out your Keurig’s water tank, wash dirt from the dishwasher filter, and drain the drip tray hiding under the refrigerator. But did you know that your microwave also has dirty parts?

A viral video by TikTokmamasknowbest user reveals that microwave ovens installed on ranges have a filter that needs to be cleaned and replaced twice a year.

Wall-mounted microwave ovens are convenient, multi-purpose appliances. In addition to saving a lot of space on the counter, it also serves as an exhaust fan for cooking on the stove. To prevent the entire kitchen from smelling like smoke, the microwave filters the air through charcoal filters before pumping it out.

But with the inevitable dust, odors, and grease buildup, these filters get dirty pretty quickly. Even worse, dirty filters put a strain on your machine and threaten to break down sooner.

TikTok users across the platform have filmed themselves chasing down those hidden filters and showing off their bad build. Other users chimed in in the comments section to share how long it was before they realized they needed to clean out their filter (for some people, it’s been decades).

Enough gross product now? U.S. too. Fortunately, there is a solution. Here’s how to keep microwave filters fresh:

Check your directory

Every microwave is designed differently, which means access to those hidden filters will vary based on the one you have in your kitchen. The best resource would be your device manual.

I got rid of this guide years ago? live in rent? No sweat. Most, if not all, brands have PDF versions of their brochures online. Just find your microwave’s model number (usually displayed on the inside of the door), google it, and voila!

From there, you can read your manual and see exactly where the filters are located. Some microwave models offer a convenient piece on top that can be easily removed. Others may require the disassembly of a built-in board. But whatever you do, unplug the microwave first!

Some models may have two types of filters: charcoal and grease, to be exact. Charcoal filters are usually located at the top of the microwave, while grease filters are located at the bottom.

Once you’ve checked your machine, you can usually pull out the charcoal filters right away. Which leads us to the second step:

Soak and scrub

The first step to cleaning microwave filters is to give them a good soak. For grease filters, you will need to let them sit around in a hot, soapy water bath for at least 10 minutes. If they look particularly dirty, you can boost your cleaning powder with a sprinkling of baking soda.

From there, you can use a sponge or dish brush to get into the nooks and crannies until the greasy residue is gone. You may need to repeat this process several times if your device has not been cleaned for a while.

Charcoal filters require a little more care. Just like with water and air purifiers, you can’t keep cleaning and reusing the filter forever. but you are Can Deep clean the surrounding area. The plastic or metal cover of the charcoal filter can also be cleaned using hot water and dish soap.

Buy replacement filters

To complete the microwave deep cleaning process, you will need to replace the charcoal filter. This process should be done once every six months to ensure that the device is in top condition. Remember the easy model number you used to find the manual online? You can also use this number to find replacement filters that fit your microwave exactly.

Platforms like Amazon make it easy to keep up with your cleaning routine. Their Subscribe and Save feature offers a discount if you set up repeat orders twice a year.

Microwave maintenance may add another step to your household chore list, but it’s a worthwhile effort that has a lasting impact on your food and appliance.

Have you ever cleaned your microwave filter? Let us know in the comments below.

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