How Dangerous Is It Actually to By no means Clear Your Microwave Filters?


You ought to be scrubbing your microwave’s grease filter each time the season modifications.

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How Dangerous Is It Actually? units the document straight on all of the habits and behaviors you’ve heard may be unhealthy.

Psst. Hey! Do you know that many microwaves have filters on them? And that they are alleged to be cleaned and/or changed on the common?!

Yup, file this underneath one other a kind of house upkeep details that the majority of us don’t know about…however that really must be taken care of fairly regularly.

Most over-the-range microwaves comprise a grease filter, a charcoal filter or each. “Grease and charcoal filters are nice for cleansing after which recirculating air contained in the microwave, versus venting the air outdoors of the equipment. This helps keep away from a buildup of grease and odors,” explains Leanne Stapf, COO of The Cleansing Authority.

And with the intention to hold your microwave — and the air in your kitchen! — clear, often cleansing and changing these filters is a should. Here is every thing you by no means thought you wanted to learn about these two microwave components that you simply had no thought existed. Plus, what occurs should you simply carry on ignoring them.

Beneath your microwave is an oblong silver plate with a lot of tiny grates. Go forward and have a look! ​That is​ your microwave’s grease filter, and it is fairly vital.

“The aim of grease filters is to assist catch grease that splatters up out of your stovetop earlier than it reaches the exhaust fan,” says Lindsay Jones, new product model supervisor for Maytag.

Catching all that gunk will help hold nasty, smelly air laden with meals particles from circulating round your kitchen while you run the microwave. So, y’know, your bowl of popcorn smells recent and buttery as a substitute of like outdated meals.

What Occurs When You Do not Clear It?

As soon as a grease filter will get clogged up, it stops being efficient. “If a grease filter is not cleaned regularly sufficient, grease and leftover meals odors will proceed to build up [around the filter], creating a grimy environment,” Stapf says.

In different phrases, you may get oil bits and meals gunk floating round within the air. No, you will not be capable to ​see​ them. However you would possibly odor an off odor while you run the microwave, and naturally, you may be respiration the stuff in. Gross.

How Typically to Clear Your Microwave’s Grease Filter

Grease filters do greatest with a seasonal scrub. “As a normal rule of thumb, you must clear your grease filter at the very least each three months,” Jones says.

It is value checking the producer directions on your microwave, although. Whirlpool, as an example, suggests cleansing the grease filter as soon as a month, whereas GE Home equipment says you will get by with a cleansing each six months.

De-gunking your grease filter may be fairly gross the primary time round, however when you’re maintaining with the cleansing often, it most likely will not be a herculean process. Here is the right way to do it:

  • Begin by unplugging your microwave and popping the grease filter out from the underside of the unit. (This video offers a very good visible for a way to do this, however it’s value checking your microwave’s directions too.)
  • Place the filter in a big bowl or the sink, sprinkle it with 1/4 cup of baking soda and submerge the filter absolutely in heat water, Stapf recommends.
  • Let the filter soak for a couple of minutes to present the grease a while to dislodge, then get in there with a cleansing brush or sponge and a few delicate dish cleaning soap to wash away the gunk. (Keep away from placing grease filters within the dishwasher, says Stapf.)
  • Enable the filter to dry absolutely and reinsert within the microwave.
  • Set a reminder in your calendar to scrub it once more in three months.

Your microwave’s charcoal filter seems quite a bit just like the grease filter, however it’s tucked inside your microwave, usually behind the vented panel that sits on high of the microwave door. Even should you’ve by no means taken a single have a look at it, it performs a worthy function in your kitchen.

“Charcoal filters take up undesirable odors within the air whereas cooking, made doable by the pores on the charcoal’s floor,” Jones says. “Particularly for microwaves that recirculate into the house, the charcoal filter is vital to serving to do away with leftover smells after cooking odorous meals.”

What Occurs When You Do not Clear It?

A charcoal filter that is plugged up with gunk cannot hold absorbing odors, which implies you would possibly begin to discover a cool or disagreeable odor in your kitchen whereas the microwave is working, say Jones and Stapf.

That is not all: A too-dirty charcoal filter forces your microwave to work tougher when it is heating meals, Shapf notes, as a result of further grease and gunk can find yourself in your microwave’s exhaust. And the added pressure can shorten the lifetime of your unit.

How Typically to Change Your Microwave’s Charcoal Filter

Charcoal filters usually must be changed (as in, purchase a brand new one — do not clear the outdated one) each six months, Jones says.

If you wish to attempt to get by with doing it much less typically, test the filter to see how a lot build-up is on it. If the floor of your filter seems completely shiny and stuffed with grease, that is an indication that it is hit max capability and must be changed, in line with GE Home equipment.

Changing your microwave’s charcoal filter is one other comparatively simple process. You will simply must be sure you have a couple of instruments helpful and the appropriate alternative filter.

  • First, purchase a brand new alternative filter. The filters are model-specific, so be sure you have your microwave’s make and mannequin helpful earlier than procuring. “Yow will discover alternative filters at any house enchancment retailer or in your microwave producer’s web site,” Jones says.
  • Use a Phillips head screwdriver to unscrew and take away the highest vented panel of your microwave and put aside. (Put the screws in a secure place so they do not get misplaced!)
  • Take away the charcoal filter. It is normally in the course of the realm behind your vented panel, however should you’re unsure, test your microwave’s instruction handbook. (This video additionally has a very good visible, should you want extra clues.)
  • Get rid of the outdated charcoal filter. These can usually be tossed in with the common trash, per Miele, however it by no means hurts to test along with your native sanitation division should you’re not sure.
  • Pop within the new charcoal filter. Once more, your producer’s directions might have some useful hints on the easiest way to do that on your microwave, so have a look.
  • Put the vent panel into place, put the screws again in and tighten with the screwdriver.
  • Set a reminder in your calendar to order a brand new charcoal filter in six months.

Gunked-up microwave filters aren’t usually a life-or-death state of affairs. However going too lengthy with out cleansing or changing them may cause grease and odors to construct up within the equipment, which might odor funky and probably shorten the lifespan of your microwave, says Stapf.

Plus? The longer you go with out cleansing your filters, the extra tedious the job shall be while you lastly do it. “After years of buildup, filters can get harder to scrub,” Jones says.


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