Microwave with Exhaust Fan might have an additional top air filter and It needs cleaning as well. Here’s How.

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You might be quite surprise to know that your over-the-range microwave with exhaust fan could actually have an air filter. And it really needs periodic cleaning or replacement every season just like the home’s HVAC filter; especially if you often make fried dishes, have pet in the house, or just in general always burn all the food you cook like me.

Some folks also mentioned about having the old people smell in their house that they can’t seem to get rid of. Well, besides giving a new coat of paint on all the walls, cleaning the top of kitchen cabinets, you should also check the air filter and other nearby components of a vented microwave. It is also a source of old people smell that’s always got looked over.

If you are wondering if your microwave’s top vent is an intake or exhaust, grab a light piece of toilet paper and do this simple test. If there is a very weak suction, that also indicates the air filter is super clogged right now.


Now there should be a couple of screws on the top panel holding the air vent cover to the microwave, simple remove them and gently pull the air cover toward you. Do this with care and don’t yank it out MMA style, or you’ll break a couple of latches and instantly regret. Refer to your microwave manual for the best procedure.

Once removed, give it a moment for the view to sink in, reflecting on all those years you didn’t clean this thing before. I prayed for forgiveness during this session.

Go ahead and remove the air filter from the middle largest vent.

Spray it profusely with a bottle of Oven Cleaner. I soak the filter for about a minute using the Sam’s Club Commercial Grill and Fryer Cleaner. All the oil gunk washed right off with little to no effort.

Always test the spray in a small, inconspicuous area of the filter or anywhere you are going to apply the chemical before you go all in. You have to make sure the chemical isn’t too abrasive that it would destroy the components.

If you don’t have access to Sam’s Club, you could find similar spray grill cleaner at your local home improvement store or via Amazon.

You can also apply the cleaner to the air vent cover that you removed earlier for at least one minute. Then use a sponge to scrub off any stubborn residuals.

Within a short time, most of the gunk should start loosen up and fall off by themselves.

Before you let the air filter and air vent cover dry up, run them over regular dish soap one more time for a fresh smell.

Then while waiting, you can also lightly spray the grill cleaner on the microwave and pick up all the nasty stuffs with typical paper towels. Be sure to wear a pair of gloves because this chemical is pretty strong, I experienced it first hand. Now that hand is full of blisters.

Looking a lot better already, ain’t it?

Don’t forget there are two other filters in the bottom vents while you’re at it. They are much easier to remove, simply slide them to other end and pull out.

And we’re done here. Good luck and leave a comment if you’ve found something interesting behind the air vent cover!!


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