There are many ways to clean a microwave, below we offer some great ways to clean your microwave, but first a safety tip: Using unsafe chemicals can cause the unit to catch fire or cause other safety hazards, if you plan on using these, un-plug your microwave first. Otherwise, just choose one of the methods below:
Method 1 (The Fruit/Veggie/Lemon/Vinegar Method)
1. Place inside a 4-cup large microwave-safe bowl that contains 1 cup of water and a chopped-up lemon, lime, or orange or several tablespoons of vinegar.
2. Turn on High for several minutes or until the solution boils and the window is steamy. But don’t let it steam for too long, you don’t want that microwave door to blast open and hit you with super hot water.
3. Let it sit to cool for 15 minutes before opening the door. Remove and wipe out inside.
4. Clean the rubber gasket around the door with a sponge dampened with water only. If the window is greasy, clean with a mixture of half vinegar and half water, then dry.
Method 2 (The Water and Vinegar Method)
- Pour equal parts vinegar and water into a bowl. Measure based on how long you plan on steaming your microwave for. Using half a cup of each liquid is good enough, but if your microwave really needs a deep clean, then use one cup vinegar and one cup water.
- Insert a toothpick or another small wooden object (such as a wooden spoon) into the vinegar-water mix. This is a cautionary step just to be on the safe side – you don’t want an explosion – although chances are slim to none, slim meaning you’re still using a microwave that is 30 years old
- Heat the bowl for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how dirty the microwave is. When the time is up, leave it in for a minute or two to let it steam it up some more.
- After letting it sit for a little bit, take the bowl out with oven mitts, because it’s going to be very hot- don’t want to burn yourself. Then, take a sponge and dip it into the hot vinegar-water mixture and scrub down your microwave. But chances are you won’t need a sponge, and the gunk will come off easily with a few swipes of the rag or paper towel.
Method 3 (The Dish Soap Method)
- Take a microwave safe bowl (such as a glass bowl) and fill it up with warm water (pro tip: add a teaspoon of baking soda)
- Put as much dish soap as you feel necessary into the water (2 tablespoons should do the trick)
- Put the dish soap and water bowl into the microwave and run it for 1 minute
- Take the bowl out
- Grab a damp sponge and wipe the inside (all that gunk should easily come off now)
Method 4 (The Window Cleaner Method)
- Un-plug your microwave.
- In a microwave safe bowl, mix 2 parts window cleaner and 1 part warm water.
- Dip a sponge in the cleaning solution and use it to wipe the inside of the microwave. Remove the spin tray and wipe the base of the microwave until all the spots and stains have been removed. Wipe the vents of the microwave oven from the inside to remove any gunk that has collected there.
- Soak tough stains and spots in the window cleaner solution for 5 minutes before scrubbing them away.
- Make sure the upper shelf and ceiling get wiped down, since food tends to splatter onto the top of the microwave
- Wipe the microwave down with a clean rag. Once the inside is sparkling clean, soak a clean rag in fresh water and wipe it out completely. Make sure to clean up all of the residue left by the window cleaner, since it contains chemicals you don’t want in your food next time you use the microwave. Go over it one more time with a clean, dry rag.
- If a few tough spots remain, using a cloth soaked in olive oil to clean them.
- Stick to window cleaner or a natural solution like vinegar or lemon juice.
- Allow the microwave a few minutes to dry after wiping it out with a clean rag or paper towels. Smell inside the unit to see if it is safe to use. If you smell window cleaner, take a clean rag soaked in fresh water and wipe it out again.
- Use that bowl of window cleaner and water to wipe down the outside of your microwave to make it shiny and clean.
Method 5, the easiest method (The Angry Mama Microwave Cleaner)
- Use steam to clean the crud from your microwave, just add vinegar and water, then microwave for 7 minutes
- The steam comes out of mama’s head and softens microwave dirt and stains for easier cleaning
- To use: first remove angry mama’s hair and head from body, then add vinegar and water to fill lines on the body, add a squeeze of lemon Juice (or essence) to liquid for a pleasant odor
- Replace her head and hair parts then microwave for 7 minutes on high and allow to stand for 2 additional minutes, remove angry mama from the microwave by her arms, which stay cooler
- Angry mama is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning
Method 6 (The Glisten Microwave Cleaner) recommended for stainless steel microwaves
- Steams to soften grunge and build-up
- Foams away stains and odors for like new clean
- Safe for all microwaves
- Biodegradable; won’t harm plumbing; plastic case stores compactly
- Recipient of cooking club of america seal of approval
- Made in the USA
How often should you clean your microwave?
You should always clean your microwave if you made a mess after microwaving anything. But we understand microwaves are used a lot when you’re in a rush, so if you make a mess, don’t sweat it. The methods mentioned above only take a few minutes when you do have some free time.
For good, routine maintenance, you should clean your microwave one to two times monthly – depending on how much you use it.
A great tip for preventative maintenance is to cover your food lightly with a paper towel when microwaving.
Feel free to comment below and add any thoughts!
Rachel’s cooking passion began in Paris, France—where she went to school, studied and was on the student president board. While she started by learning how to cook pastries, she quickly found skills in seafood and French food. Now, she loves all things cooking.