Best Way to Clean a Microwave
Microwave ovens tend to get dirty and gross easily. Food and drinks pop and spray in them, children and adults spill things in them, and the inside is generally hidden away and doesn’t get much attention.
Microwaves can be pretty dirty before we get to cleaning them with caked on and baked on stuff. Although it’s easier to clean them before they are too bad, here are two methods that work well once they are disgusting.
First, regardless of whatever method you’ll use, give them a good wipe down inside. You want to get rid of anything that comes off easily, and probably a lot will. A couple of wipes might be in order. Don’t chip or force though; we’ll take care of the tough stuff in the next step.
Take a microwave-safe bowl and spray about ten pumps of window cleaner in it, or about a two-second pour, and then add about a cup of water. Spray the inside of the microwave with window cleaner –– especially on baked-on, large spills. Place the bowl in the microwave and run it on high for about five minutes.
Now, to handle the stuck-on mess, use one of the two methods below.
Either, spray with a cleaning spray and then microwave on high for a minute. Or, add a bowl of warm water and microwave that for three minutes.
Open the microwave, carefully removing the bowl of water if you’ve used that method, and scrub gently. I like to use a moist sponge.
Much if not all of the remaining mess will come off easily. If not you may need to repeat the last step, possibly more than once depending on how bad your microwave is.
In the future, it helps to regularly clean the microwave before it gets bad. Unfortunately in my household, this never seems to happen.
11 Best Way to Clean a Microwave oven 2021
All kitchens have a stove and other kitchen utensils that can be used for cooking. However, one can never be complete unless you already have a microwave open that would help you prepare foods easier.
And if you have been using this appliance very often, then don’t assume that your microwave turntable is still clean after heating and cooking a couple of foods in it.
It is important that you keep it dirt free and unsoiled to prevent bacteria from building up. After all, the microwave glass turntable is the part of the appliance that holds your food.
You can never clean the microwave turntable unless you take it off of your microwave. This would also allow you to clean the rest of the microwave as well by wiping it with a clean and damp piece of cloth or napkin.
As for the glass turntable, soak it in the sink and wash it just like the way you wash your dishes and other kitchen utensils.
Use any kind of dish detergent and your typical sponge. And in case that there are tough stains or foods that already became hard on the table, use warm water and let it run over on the stain until it softens.
Then scrub it again using your sponge and the dish detergent. Rinse it from time to time so you can see if there are still stained areas especially if you just baked a cake or heated any messy food.
By the time that you are done washing the microwave glass turntable, make sure that it is completely dry before returning it to its place. You can air-dry it on your dish rack or simply dry it using your kitchen towel.
As much as you want to keep it spotless, never use any kind of glass cleaner on the microwave turntable. This would definitely contaminate any food that you would put in the microwave.
1. Baking Soda
To remove cooked-on spills from the floor or turntable of your microwave, make a paste by combining two parts baking soda to one part water.
Apply it to the hardened mess and let it sit for about five minutes. Wipe up the baking soda with a wet sponge or cloth and remove any leftover residue with a paper towel.
2. Lemon Juice
Cut a lemon in half, and place both halves cut-side down on a microwaveable plate. Add a tablespoon of water. Microwave for one minute, or until the lemon is hot and the inside of the oven is steamy.
Then just wipe down the inside with clean paper towels. As a bonus, the lemon makes an excellent natural, organic cleaner for your garbage disposal. All you have to do is separate the halves into smaller slices and run them through the machine with plenty of water.
- Take one lemon and squeeze it to get it a little mushy. Then, cut it in half.
- Place about one cup of water in a microwave-safe bowl or large glass measuring cup.
- Squeeze as much lemon juice as you can out of each half of the lemon into the water.
- Drop the squeezed lemon halves into the water, as well.
- Place the container in the microwave, and run it on high for five to ten minutes.
- Let it stand for another five minutes. Then, open the door and carefully remove the bowl. Note: It might be hot.
- Remove the turntable, wipe it clean with a dishcloth, and then wipe all the surfaces of the inside of the microwave with the dishcloth.
- Replace the turntable.
3. Diluted Window Cleaner Solution
In a bowl, mix two parts window cleaner with one part water. The diluted solution is sufficient to clean the inside and outside of the microwave.
Soak a sponge in the mixture and wipe the interior of the microwave. Remove the carousel and rub-down the base of the microwave until you remove all the spots and stains.
Clean the vents of the microwave from the inside to eliminate any debris. Soak tough stains and spots in the window cleaner solution for five minutes before scrubbing. Make sure to wipe down the upper shelf and ceiling, since food tends to splatter onto the top of the microwave.
After the interior is glistening, dip a fresh rag in clean water and wash it down once more. This will ensure that no residue remains from the solution because it does contain chemicals.
If a few tough spots remain, use a cloth soaked in olive oil to clean them. Let the unit dry after wiping it out with a clean rag.
Smell the inside to see if you detect a window cleaner scent. If you do, take a clean cloth soaked in freshwater and wipe it out again.
4. Commercial Microwaves
Several types of commercial cleaners can adequately clean just about any mess in your microwave, but typically they create heavy and often unpleasant fumes that remain in the microwave. The leftover residue from the cleaner can produce an odd taste to your food.
If you do opt for a commercial cleanser, try a fume-free product and leave the door open for a few hours after you finish cleaning. Use caution when using any commercial cleaning products inside of your microwave.
You should never use pre-soaked scrubbing pads inside of your microwave because the loose particles will catch fire and explode.
As a final touch, wipe down the exterior of the microwave, beginning with the top, sides, back, and finally the front.
Dry and replace the turning element and the turntable. Plug the microwave back in, and it is ready to do its job once again. The more that you use your microwave oven, the more frequent cleanings it requires.
However, on average cleaning it once every few weeks is an appropriate schedule if you want to keep it looking and smelling like new.
5. A handful of Wet Paper Towels
The fastest method for cleaning your microwave oven is to place a handful of soaking wet paper towels inside and run it on high power for up to five minutes.
The steam from the towels will soften and loosen caked-on grime. Once the towels cool down, you can use them to wipe the interior clean.
6. Water and Vinegar
Fill a microwave-safe glass or bowl halfway with water. Add one tablespoon of white vinegar. Microwave on high for five minutes. This process will steam up the walls of the microwave and loosen the dried-on gunk.
Carefully remove the glass container and wipe down the inside of the microwave with a clean rag or paper towel. Take out the turntable and wash it as you would a dish. You can even run it through the dishwasher.
- Using a microwave-safe bowl or large glass measuring cup, fill it with two cups of water and two tablespoons of vinegar. You can add one drop of your favorite essential oil to lessen the smell of the vinegar if you want. Place the container in the microwave.
- Turn the microwave on high for five minutes. You want it to get really steamy in there. Don’t open the door for another fifteen minutes, to make sure all the baked-on grime has softened.
- Carefully remove the container. Note: It might be hot.
- Remove the turntable, and wipe it down with a clean rag.
- Wipe down the sides, door, bottom, and top of the inside of the microwave with paper towels or a rag, being sure to avoid getting any liquid in the vents. If spots remain, use a sponge dipped in the water/vinegar solution.
- Replace the turntable.
7. Dish Soap
Fill a microwave-safe bowl with warm water. Add an ample amount of dishwashing soap. Put the bowl in the microwave for one minute, or until it begins to steam.
Remove the bowl. Dampen a sponge and wipe the inside of the microwave. The steam will loosen all of the dried-on debris so that you can easily clean your microwave. You can also add baking soda to the bowl to serve as a deodorizer.
The hands-on method:
- Put some dishwashing liquid in a bowl of warm water. Soak and squeeze a sponge in the bowl until the water gets full of suds.
- Remove the turntable and scrub it in the sink with the soapy sponge. Rinse it off and let it dry.
- Try to remove all the crumbs from the inside of the microwave with a damp paper towel or rag.
- Use the soapy sponge to scrub the inside surfaces, starting with the top. Using a circular motion, coat the top, sides, bottom and door with suds, being careful not to get them in the vents. Repeat with clean suds to make sure all the grime is gone.
- Wipe down all the surfaces with a damp paper towel to remove the suds, being careful not to get water in the vents.
- Now, wipe everything with a dry paper towel or rag to avoid streaking.
- Replace the turntable.
The hands-off method:
- Put some dishwashing liquid in a microwave-safe bowl and fill it with warm water. If your microwave needs to be deodorized, add a little baking soda to the mixture.
- Place the bowl in the microwave and run it on high for five minutes.
- Let it stand for another five minutes. Then, remove the bowl. Note: It might be hot.
- Take the turntable out and wipe it off with a damp sponge and dry it with a paper towel.
- Wipe down the surfaces of the microwave with the damp sponge and dry them with a paper towel.
- Replace the turntable.
8. Vinegar and Baking Soda
Both ingredients are inexpensive, and most people have them on hand. Add four tablespoons of baking soda to a quart of warm water.
Make sure to mash and stir vigorously so that the powder completely dissolves. Dip a cloth or sponge into the mixture and wipe it over the whole inside of the microwave.
Next, pour equal parts of water and white vinegar into a microwave-safe bowl. Place the bowl in the microwave and run it for three minutes on high power, or until the water boils vigorously.
Keep the microwave door closed for 10 minutes so that the steam can work its magic. Open the microwave door and remove the bowl, the turntable, and the carousel.
Soak the removable components in hot, soapy water while you wipe down the microwave interior with the vinegar and water solution. Repeat until no baking soda residue remains.
9. Cleaning With Window Cleaner
Most window cleaners contain ammonia, which should never be mixed with other household cleaners.
- Take a microwave-safe bowl and spray about ten pumps of window cleaner in it, or about a two-second pour, and then add about a cup of water.
- Spray the inside of the microwave with window cleaner –– especially on baked-on, large spills.
- Place the bowl in the microwave and run it on high for about five minutes.
- Wait about five minutes and carefully remove the bowl. Note: It might be hot.
- Remove the turntable and wipe it clean first with a damp paper towel, and then with a dry one.
- Do the same with the inside surfaces of the microwave, starting at the top and working your way to the bottom. Make sure you wipe it completely dry.
- Replace the turntable.
How to Clean a Microwave Like a Pro
Cleaning a microwave oven does not mean you have to use harsh chemicals. The only items you will need are a microwave-proof container, water, and a cloth or sponge. The microwave container should not be too large. A coffee cup or bowl is large enough.
Fill the container two-thirds with water. You need to leave some space for the water to boil. Set the container in the microwave and turn the power on to High.
Set the time for 2 to 2-1/2 minutes. After the timer goes off, let the container sit in the microwave for 5 minutes. Do not open the door.
After 5 minutes, open the microwave door. It should be a little steamy inside. Take your sponge or cloth and wipe the interior down. Cooked on food should slide right off.
If you have stubborn food particles that you cannot wipe off, repeat the process. No need to spend time scrubbing. Very dirty ovens with baked-on food residue may need a second “steaming.”
This method works because steam is created inside the oven. The hot water boils, causing the steam to penetrate beneath the food residue, making it easy to wipe down.
This is why it is important that you do not open the door for at least 5 minutes. If the colder air comes in contact with the steam inside the microwave, the interior of the microwave will dry before it has time to do its cleaning magic. This cleaning process takes little effort and can be done as needed.
Microwave ovens are fantastic time-saving devices, for warming food, cooking, and for even rewarming coffee. I’m not sure how I would get by without mine.
They sometimes tend to get a bit dirty inside, especially if you have children who have just gotten old enough to use them as well as a messy spouse.
Gross and disgusting might be better words for it, with food that popped and sputtered during microwaving littering the inside surfaces. Cleaning them can be a big chore f you do not know-how.
How do you easily clean a microwave?
First, try to not get it filthy! Cover all food you cook or warm well. A paper towel or napkin works pretty well, but special purposes covers are also available and do a better good.
I find having a special purpose cover and letting people know about it makes it more likely others will cover their food before placing it inside.
Make sure it’s easily accessible and near the microwave for convenience and regularity of use. Also, stopping, mixing, and then restarting soups, chowders, or other liquids during warming not only helps them warm more evenly but keeps them from sputtering up and making messes.
Make sure you don’t over warm foods either as that will tend to spray the inside as well. This is all good, but with a house full of kids or less attentive adults it doesn’t totally prevent your microwave from getting dirty inside.
To clean the inside, first, use a wet sponge to remove any crumbs or other loose debris. For caked-on bits or other substances, use a fingernail or other blunt object, gently removing whatever comes off easily.
Be gentle but persistent and you’ll get some major crud easily. Next spray with an all-purpose cleaner, let it sit for a minute or so, and then wipe off. I might do this a couple of times depending on how well the first worked.
If your microwave is like mine, it’s still somewhat dirty. Spay on more all-purpose cleaner, and then microwave for 30-60 seconds. Now the remaining mess should wipe off much more easily.
Repeat if necessary. You may also want to wipe down the exterior with the cleaner and a paper towel or sponge.
Ideally, clean your microwave oven periodically before it gets very dirty. It’s easier and faster that way.
Best Way to Clean a Microwave