Abstract The removal of surfactant templates from the pores of as-prepared SBA-15 was studied by means of microwave assisted extraction (MAE). Occluded surfactant molecules within SBA-15 were completely removed within 6 min by the MAE method, resulting in frameworks with higher surface area, lower structural shrinkage and richer silanol groups than that of thermocalcined samples. The MAE sample exhibited larger surface area ( ca. 1000 m 2·g − 1 ) than the sample treated by thermocalcining ( ca. 560 m 2·g − 1 ). As determined the enrichment of PAHs on MAE with calcined samples by on-line solid-phase extraction HPLC, the MAE sample possessed more enrichment and lower detection limit than the calcined sample.