6 Best Ways to Clean a Microwave

September 14, 2020
Man sitting next to microwave

How often have you started to reheat something in your microwave, only to be greeted by the scent of microwave popcorn? As helpful as microwaves are in the kitchen, they have an annoying knack for holding on to food smells and splatters for an extended length of time. When you start to notice the lingering smells of last week’s dinner, knowing how to clean a microwave can help.

Cleaning your microwave regularly will help keep this handy appliance well-maintained and working properly, plus it will prevent residual odors from affecting your food. Like cleaning your oven, how frequently you need to clean a microwave mainly depends on how much use it gets. If it starts to develop an unpleasant smell or build up a lot grime, it’s probably time to wipe it out. Thankfully, there are many microwave cleaning methods you can use, most of which require only normal household supplies. Here are the  best ways to clean a microwave.

1. Water and vinegar

Vinegar is a great product to use when cleaning your house, and there’s no exception here. For this method, fill a microwave-safe glass halfway with water and add one tablespoon of white vinegar. Microwave on high for five minutes. While it microwaves, the vinegar-and-water solution will cause the interior to steam up and loosen any stuck-on food. Once it’s done, wipe down the inside with a sponge or paper towel.[1]

2. Baking soda

A baking soda paste can help remove the more stubborn spots in your microwave. Combine ¾ cup baking soda with ¼ cup water. Apply the paste to any rough spots and let sit for about five minutes. After the time has passed, wipe up any baking soda clusters with a wet sponge or cloth — it shouldn’t require too much scrubbing.[1],[2]

3. Dish soap

With a little help from your normal dish soap, the hardened grime in your microwave should fall right off. Grab a microwave-safe bowl and fill it with warm water and a teaspoon of dishwashing soap. Heat the mixture for one to two minutes so that the interior steams up. Let it sit for a few more minutes, then remove the bowl and wipe everything down with a sponge or paper towel.[1],[2]

4. Commercial microwave cleaner

There’s a variety of products you can find at the store made specifically for cleaning your microwave. Simply follow the directions listed on your chosen cleaner, and your microwave messes should be taken care of. Keep in mind that some of these cleaners have a harsh scent and can at times leave a residue, so it’s a good idea to leave your microwave door open for a few hours to air out after cleaning.[1]

5. Lemon

Possibly the most natural way to clean your microwave is to use a lemon. Pour about ½ cup of water into a microwave-safe bowl. Slice a lemon in half, squeeze the juice into the water and then place the peels of the lemon halves into the bowl. Microwave the mixture until the liquid comes to a boil and steams up the inside, about three to five minutes. Let it sit for five minutes to allow the accumulated steam to loosen any solidified grime, then use a sponge or paper towel to wipe it down.[3]

6. Wet towel

For a really easy cleaning method, all you need is a small towel. Drench a towel in water then microwave it for up to five minutes. The steam released from the wet towel will soften any tough, caked-on spots. When the time’s up, you can use the same towel to wipe down the microwave. If you don’t want to use a towel, a handful of paper towels should work just as well.[1],[2]

No matter which way you choose to clean your microwave, don’t forget to wash the turntable once you’re finished cleaning the interior. The turntable can either be cleaned with dish soap or run through the dishwasher.[1]

Check on your other appliances

Now that you know how to clean your microwave, it may be a good time to see if your other appliances need any upkeep. For help maintaining your home’s appliances, following these appliance care and safety tips.





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