If you’ve ever experienced a minor microwave food explosion – and let’s be honest, most of us have – you’ll know the frustration of trying to get into every corner and clear off splattered, baked on food.
Even if you do your best to contain your cooking inside the container – you’ll still need to regularly clean your microwave oven regularly, so why not make it an easy and painless job?
While it’s easy to give the inside a wipe with a wet paper towel, this method isn’t effective when you need to get rid of tough stains and strong odors.
The good news is that there are some simple at-home options that are cheaper and work just as well, if not better, than costly microwave cleaners and solutions from the store.
Method 1 (The Best Way): How To Clean Microwave With Vinegar or Lemon
This is by far the quickest and easiest method of cleaning your microwave.
You Will Need:
- Microwave-Safe Bowl
- 1 Fresh Lemon – bottled or concentrated lemon isn’t an effective substitute and is more expensive.
Substitution: As an alternative to using a lemon and water, you could use 1-cup of water with ½-cup of vinegar.
- Fill your microwave-safe bowl about halfway with water.
- Cut the lemon in half, squeezing the juice into the bowl.
- You can throw the lemon skin/rinds into the bowl too.
- Put the lemon-water mixture into the microwave and “cook.” The time will depend on how dirty your microwave is: 3 minutes is a minimum, and 10 minutes maximum, for built-on grime.
- After the timer goes off, don’t open the door – leave everything sitting inside for at least 5 minutes – or longer if you can. Leaving the hot bowl of water in the microwave allows the steam to remove and loosen any gunk and spatters making it much easier to wipe off.
- When you’re ready, remove the bowl and wipe the insides clean using a non-scratch sponge. The grime should come off easily, leaving the fresh smell of lemon behind.
Caution. – bear in mind that liquids in a microwave may not look hot even when super-heated. Always give heated liquid time to settle and cool a little before handling it. Microwave not heating?
Method 2: How To Clean A Microwave With Dish Soap
You don’t need harsh cleaners to effectively sanitize the inside of your microwave. General dish soap mixed with water will do a great job.
You Will Need:
- Microwave-Safe Bowl
- Soft kitchen sponge or paper towels
- Regular dish soap
- Similar to the method above, you can half-fill a microwave-safe bowl with warm water and a few generous squirts of dish soap, before microwaving it for around 1 minute. Leave the bowl inside to steam for as long as possible.
- The resulting steam will have loosened up the dirt so you can wipe it off with a damp sponge, before drying with paper towels or a dry cloth.
- Alternatively, remove any plates or racks from inside the microwave – you can wash these by hand in the sink using dish soap also.
- Get rid of the larger loose crumbs sitting on the base first by using a damp paper towel or cloth.
- Mix your dish soap with a bowl of warm water, then soak a non-abrasive sponge in the mixture.
- Gently wipe all surfaces with the sponge – make sure no excess water drips through the vents.
Other Parts That Need Cleaning Outside & Inside
Cleaning The Outside
Before you begin, make sure you always unplug your microwave oven from the wall socket before cleaning.
Once the interior of your microwave is sparkling like new, it’s time to attend to the exterior.
For an easy, at-home cleaning solution, you can either use warm soapy water or the same vinegar or lemon-water mixture from method 1 above.
Avoid using abrasive sponges or cleaning solutions such as ammonia or alcohol which can damage the surface of your microwave.
You don’t want the outside to be dripping with water – this may seep down through the vents into the electronics or the control panel – so apply either your soapy water or lemon-water to a cloth and squeeze it thoroughly before gently wiping the exterior surfaces.
For cleaning the control panel without damaging it, make sure the cloth is damp, not wet.
Using a soft cloth or paper towel, dry all your surfaces.
For the oven door, you can use a gentle glass-cleaner to avoid streaks, however, the vinegar or lemon-water mixture also works well and is more environmentally friendly.
Cleaning Your Turntable
If your sink is big enough, you can try soaking the turntable in it with hot water and soap. Water is a very mild corrosive – over time it will start to loosen up those tough spots.
The key here is time. Leaving it in the sink overnight is probably the best way to achieve great results.
Cleaning With Baking Soda And Salt
To remove stubborn spills from the turntable, mix one part water with two parts baking soda. Apply the mixture to these tough spots and let it sit for 5 minutes, then try to clean it off.
Salt is an abrasive substance which you can sprinkle on the turntable in an attempt to rub off gunk and grime. However, there is the risk of scratching your turntable – no pun intended – especially if it is made of glass.
Is Your Microwave Dirty? You Need To Clean It!
Obviously, it’s important to clean your microwave to maintain good hygiene. The accumulation of grime means there will be a corresponding build-up of germs and bacteria. Regular cleaning will help ensure your food has less chance of becoming contaminated.
Food splatters leave the microwave interior looking unsightly. You may assume that since the spills are behind closed doors, nobody will notice.
Imagine if you had a guest who was in your kitchen while you were preparing food. Would they be amazed at how spotless the inside of your microwave looks, or will they be repulsed by the charred remains of weeks-old food inside?
Cleaning spills in a microwave isn’t difficult, but it does become more so the longer you put it off. So, stop procrastinating and use these easy methods to keep your oven sparkling.