How to Clean a Microwave Charcoal Filter

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Clean your microwave charcoal filter often.
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Microwaves are an integral part of most modern kitchens, and they can last for many years when cared for properly. One part of your appliance that you might not be familiar with is its charcoal filter, which is an important part for both longevity and food quality. You should clean your microwave's charcoal filter as often as possible to keep it operating properly.

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Microwave Charcoal Filter Basics

A microwave's charcoal filter is used to keep your food tasting great and your appliance lasting longer. According to Home Depot, the charcoal filter helps to remove bad odors from the circulation of air within the microwave, which stops the cycle of bad smells that hinders your ability to enjoy great food.

In addition, the filter helps the microwave to run efficiently. If you do not clean your microwave's charcoal filter often enough, it puts a strain on the appliance. This can make your microwave wear out more quickly. As such, it's important to remove and clean the filter periodically.

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Most microwave manufacturers make replacement charcoal filters available to purchase in the event that your filter is too old or cannot be easily cleaned. Contact the manufacturer for assistance in purchasing such a part or refer to your local hardware or big-box home improvement store's website — most will carry charcoal filters specific to certain microwave models.

Charcoal Filter Microwave Removal

Before you do anything involving microwave cleaning or disassembly, be sure to unplug the appliance. Keep the plug and cord out of any liquid, like water or cleaning solution, so that it is dry when you plug it back in. If you are working with an above-the-range model, ask for help from another adult before moving the appliance, if doing so will be necessary to access the filter.

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To do a GE microwave filter reset or clean the filter from another manufacturer's appliance, you will need to refer to your manual to locate the filter. In the majority of cases, you will find the charcoal filter situated in the overhead hood of the microwave. Check your manual before you proceed with removing any parts of your microwave, however, for more details.

Once you have identified the location of your appliance's charcoal filter, you will need to remove the vent plate that covers the filter. For most microwaves, the vent plate will be attached with several screws. Remove these screws and set them aside in a safe place, like a plastic bag or ice cube tray. Then, pop the vent plate off the microwave and set it to the side.

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Checking and Cleaning the Filter

The first step in Frigidaire microwave filter cleaning or cleaning the filter for another manufacturer's appliance is to determine the state of the filter. Examine it visually once you've removed the vent plate. If the filter is discolored or appears to have deposits or particulate on its surface, you should try to clean it.

Clean your microwave charcoal filter using a can of compressed air. This should remove most superficial dust and debris and allow your microwave to run smoothly again. If you use several puffs of compressed air and don't feel the filter appears cleaner, you may need to replace it.

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According to GE Appliances, if the filter appears shiny or greasy, it should be replaced. Its normal appearance will be dull and porous. In addition, if you notice significant cooking odors while preparing food, it might be best to replace your filter, rather than clean it.

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