What Is The Best Way To Clean The Inside Of A Microwave?

Cleaning your microwave is one of these tedious “have-to-do” household chores. You should do it regularly, though, to ensure the machine’s proper working condition. And if you’re wondering, “how can I clean it?” then this is your lucky day! 

A dirty microwave oven

There are plenty of cleaning tips to clean your microwave inside-out, and they’re all working. As simple as it may sound, the DIY cleaning solutions most likely lie already onto one of your kitchen’s shelves, and they are not only cost-effective: They’re all-natural and safe for your health, too!

Why should I clean my microwave?

A dirty microwave is a perfect place for bacteria and germs to grow. Food residues, warmth and moisture help them multiply and contaminate every meal, with adverse effects on your digestive system and your organism’s overall well-being. At some point, consuming heated food in a dirty microwave can cause even food poisoning. So, cleaning and sanitising your microwave should be a top priority, like it is for the rest of your cooking tools and appliances.

How to properly clean my microwave?

The frequency of using your microwave determines how often you should clean it. Daily usage requires more cleaning sessions, too. This way, you will avoid germ building-up and foul odours. So, let’s take a close look at some tips on how you can adequately clean your microwave.

a woman cleaning the micowave with a microfibre cloth

  1. Let it cool down: Never try to clean the unit right after use. You should first let it cool down and then start cleaning it.
  2. Don’t leave your microwave without cleaning for too long: Every time you use it, you better wipe it out, so that food splashes and leftovers don’t build up. Burnt food can cause sparks on the inside and damage it.
  3. Avoid cleaning with bleach: Many people use it to clean and sanitise surfaces and appliances. And the truth is that it does a great job. However, it is considered highly toxic for our respiratory and digestive system. Plus, it is so strong and consists of harsh chemicals that it can ruin the appliance since it can make all the plastic parts fragile. 

Homemade solutions to clean the inside of your microwave

Hopefully, we use plenty of ingredients for cooking and other tasks in our daily life that have powerful cleaning properties. You can make solutions to remove all the gunk and grime off your microwave, along with some elbow grease. Perhaps, you’ve already heard about homemade cleaning remedies with white vinegar, baking soda or lemon juice. If you’re suspicious about how effective they are, we promise you’ll be surprised by the amazing results. Just give them a try!

1. Vinegar

Vinegar is the ultimate natural disinfectant. You can use it to clean everything from your oven’s glass door and countertops to kitchen tools, and there’s no need to rinse it. There are two vinegar cleaning methods.

1st method:

To apply this method, you’re going to need:

  • A spray bottle
  • White vinegar
  • A clean, dry microfibre cloth

Now, the steps are easy:

  1. Fill the spray bottle with vinegar and spray the inside of your microwave.
  2. Let it sit for 15 minutes.
  3. Wipe it with a clean cloth.
  4. Remove the rotating glass tray, and hand wash it or use the dishwasher.

a bottle of white vinegar

2nd method:

We’ll let the vinegar do all the work for us once again. It’s more time-consuming than the first method and has more steps. 

You’ll need:

  • A bowl  (make sure it’s ok to use it in the microwave, or instead, you can use a measuring cup)
  • 2 cups of water
  • A tablespoon of  vinegar
  • A clean towel

Then, follow the below steps:

  1. Fill a bowl with 2 cups of water and a tablespoon of vinegar, and place it in the microwave.
  2. Turn it on for 5 minutes until it gets steamy inside. (No reason to panic, that’s what we want!)
  3. Keep the door closed for 15 minutes to soften all the leftovers. 
  4. Remove the bowl of water.
  5. Pull out the turntable, wipe it out or wash it.
  6. Wipeout all the inner sides with a clean towel: the bottom, the top and the door.
  7. Place back the clean turntable.

After cleaning, you can also turn on the microwave for a while to dry off completely. Alternatively, you can just leave the microwave door open for a short amount of time.

Extra tip: If you can’t stand the vinegar smell, add a few drops of your favourite essential oil to eliminate the odour.

2. Baking soda

It is another budget-free substance found in every kitchen cabinet. It works perfectly on removing spills and hardened leftovers on many surfaces, silver, kitchen appliances and even clothes. 

A jar of baking soda in a microwave oven

Here’s what you need to clean your microwave oven using soda:

  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • A wet sponge
  • Some paper towels

And this is how you can use it for your microwave oven:

  1. Make a paste of soda and water in the following proportions: 2 parts soda dissolved to 1 part water.
  2. Apply it to every stain and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Take a wet sponge or cloth and wipe up the dirty spot. The paste will remove any hard leftovers.
  4. Dry the inner side of the microwave with kitchen paper.

3. Lemon

Lemon properties are equivalent to those of vinegar. It’s antibacterial, antiseptic, and a natural bleach, while the oil we get from its peel is an excellent natural cleaning agent and a polisher! So, when it comes to cleaning your microwave interior, there are two methods with excellent results.

1st method:

To apply this simple method,  you need:

  • A plate
  • A lemon
  • A tablespoon of water
  • a microfiber cloth

You can use it as follows: 

  1. Cut a lemon and place it cut-side down on a plate in the microwave.
  2. Add a tablespoon of water.
  3. Heat the microwave on until lemon’s halves are hot and you see steam coming from inside the appliance.
  4. Turn it off and wipe it down with the cloth.

A piece of lemon in a microwave oven

2nd method:

This method is a bit more complicated than the 1st one but still so simple:

Needed materials:

  • A microwave-safe bowl
  • A lemon
  • ½ cup of water
  • A clean cloth

Once you’ve gathered all the materials, do as follows:

  1. Squeeze the lemon juice into the bowl, add water and the lemon halves.
  2. Place the bowl in the microwave, turn it on the highest setting and let it run for 2 minutes. Or until the bowl gets steamy.
  3. Once it’s done, keep the door closed for a while. This way, you’ll give time to steam to loosen the dried stains.
  4. Then, remove the hot bowl. Be careful! Don’t touch it with bare hands, or you’ll burn yourself. It’s too hot.
  5. Wipe the inside of the oven with a cloth.

Extra tip: If there are any stubborn stains, you can dip the soft scouring pad side of a sponge into the lemon solution and scrub them.

4. Vinegar and baking soda combo

For even more thorough natural cleaning, you can combine vinegar and soda to get excellent results, with no extra cost at all. See how!

A bottle of white vinegar next to a jar of baking soda

Needed ingredients:

  • 2 bowls (suitable for the microwave)
  • Warm water
  • 2 tablespoons of baking soda
  • A clean cloth
  • Vinegar
  • Water (hot) 
  • Dish detergent

The steps to success are:

  1. Fill in a bowl with a quarter of warm water.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of soda and stir until the soda dissolves.
  3. Dip a cloth into the bowl and wipe the inside of the oven with the damp cloth.
  4. Then, place equal parts of water and vinegar into another bowl and put it again into the microwave.
  5. Run it for 3 minutes on high power.
  6. Keep the door closed for 10 minutes allowing the steam to act on the persistent stain.
  7. Open the door and remove the bowl, along with all the removable parts of the microwave.
  8. Soak them into hot water and add the detergent.
  9. Finally, wipe the inside of the microwave until there are no powder residues.

5. Wet paper towels

Wet kitchen towels are a handy, fast cleaning method but need extra attention not to get your hands burnt.

Some paper towels for cleaning

Materials you need for this simple method are:

  • kitchen towels
  • A bowl filled with water

Then: 

  1. Dip the towels in the water until they are soaked.
  2. Squeeze them a bit and place them in the microwave.
  3. Run it on the highest power for 5 minutes.
  4. Keep the door closed for 10 minutes and let the steam act.
  5. Wait until the paper towels cool down enough so you can safely touch them.
  6. Wipe the inside of your microwave oven. 

6. Dishwashing liquid

This can be a practical choice but less natural compared to the ones we’ve seen up to now.

A woman cleaning a microwave with a sponge and dish soap

You need:

  • A microwave-safe bowl
  • Warm water
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • A damp sponge

Now, you can follow the below steps: 

  1. Get a bowl and fill it with lukewarm water.
  2. Add a generous amount of dish soap to it. 
  3. Place the bowl with the soapy water in the microwave for a minute or until it boils.
  4. Let it until it starts to steam.
  5. Get the bowl out and wipe the microwave with a damp sponge.
  6. Open the door and remove the bowl and all the removable parts of the microwave.
  7. Soak them in hot water where you have added detergent.

7. Window cleaner

This is a strong and non-natural product that can be very effective for your microwave oven. However, have in mind that it contains ammonia, and thus, you should never combine it with other products – natural or not. 

A woman cleaning a microwave with window cleaner

To begin the cleaning process, you need to have on hand:

  • A bowl
  • A window cleaner
  • A cup of water
  • Some cleaning cloths(damp and dry)

Then:

  1. Fill a bowl with ten pumps of the window cleaner.
  2. Add the water.
  3. Spray the interior of the microwave, paying extra attention to the burnt stains.
  4. Place the bowl in the microwave and run it on high power for 5 minutes.
  5. Keep the door closed for 5 minutes.
  6. Remove the bowl and the rotating tray.
  7. Wipe the inner sides of the microwave from bottom to top with a damp cloth. Then, repeat with a dry one. 
  8. Wash the turntable and then place it back into the microwave.

8. Commercial cleaning products

If you feel that the above cleaning methods won’t do the work for you, try some commercial products tailor-made for various types of soft and hard stains. Bear in mind, though, that they create fumes that are not ideal for your food quality, whilst it can add a strange taste and smell to your food- not a very pleasing one.  In this case, at least opt for fume-free products and remember to leave the door open for a few hours when you finish with cleaning. 

4 extra tips for a clean microwave

Keeping your microwave clean after each use can be much more comfortable than cleaning it after a long period has passed. Hence, we’d like to share with you some extra tips you can follow every time you use your microwave to eliminate the frequency and the time you spend cleaning it.

  1. While heating food, cover it to prevent splattering. You can use wrapping cling film for that. Just make sure to pierce a few holes on it to let the steam escape. And a warning, here: Never – We mean it! Never! – use foil to cover your food in the microwave as there might be an explosion or fire.
  2. After every use, wipe down the inside of the microwave. This way, you prevent food’s leftovers from building up and staining the device.
  3. Remove and wash all the removable parts every time you finish cleaning.
  4. Always wipe away the residue after cleaning it with a damp clean cloth or sponge, and then repeat with a dry one.
  5. Don’t forget about the outside of the microwave and the door. You can use an all-purpose cleaner, an ammonia-free window cleaner or a dishwashing liquid instead.

The ideal frequency to repeat the cleaning process is once a week. That way, you prevent bacteria and germs’ growth while eliminating the chances of damaging the most-used cooking ally in your kitchen.

A woman cleaning a microwave over

Either you go for a chemical cleaning product or a more natural cleaning agent, we hope that among the microwave cleaning hacks and methods we have here, you will discover the most suitable for you. As long as you keep your microwave clean and food-safe, it will continue to work and smell like new for the years to come!

Coming next: Can you put a microwave in a cupboard? Find out!

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