How to Clean A Microwave? Step-by-Step

Written by: Kaushik Jethva

Last Updated: August 21, 2023

front view of woman in green gloves opening the oven door, wiping dirt at the baking tray inside a microwave oven
Front view of woman in green gloves opening the oven door, wiping dirt at baking tray inside a microwave oven

A microwave oven, commonly called a microwave, is a staple in many kitchens. Due to its frequent use, it’s not uncommon for food splatters, spills, and even the dreaded burnt popcorn smell to accumulate inside. If you’ve found yourself wondering how to clean a microwave effectively, you’re not alone. This article will delve into the nuances of keeping your microwave oven spick and span.

1 How to Clean a Microwave in 8 Easy Steps?

List of essentials required to clean your microwave

Before diving into the cleaning process, ensure you have all the essentials ready. You’ll need:

  • Microwave safe bowl
  • Baking soda
  • Dish soap
  • Lemon juice or white vinegar
  • Paper towels
  • Clean cloth or microfiber cloth
  • A damp cloth or damp sponge
  • Warm water
  • Oven mitts Spray bottle (optional)
  • Essential oil (optional)

Unplug the Microwave

For safety purposes, unplug the microwave from the outlet.

Remove the Microwave's Turntable and Filter

Carefully remove the microwave turntable and set it aside. If your microwave has a filter, gently pull it out. Place both items in the kitchen sink for washing later.

Steam-Cleaning Mixture

In your microwave-safe bowl, mix equal parts of lemon juice or white vinegar and warm water. This solution is excellent for softening dried food splatters and eliminating odors. For an added pleasant aroma, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the mixture.

Heat & Steam

Place the bowl in the microwave. Heat the solution for 5-7 minutes on high power. As the solution heats up, it will produce steam that will soften the stuck-on food and grease. Allow the solution to sit for a couple of minutes after the timer goes off for optimal results.

Scrubbing Time

Create a paste with baking soda and a few drops of warm water. Dip your damp cloth or sponge into this paste. Open the microwave door and scrub the insides, paying special attention to any stubborn spots. The combination of steam and baking soda will make this task easier. For the exterior, a little dish soap diluted in water (which you can put in a spray bottle) works wonders. Simply spray and wipe down with your microfiber cloth.

Washing the Turntable and Filter

Using dish soap and warm water, scrub the microwave turntable and filter. Ensure that any stuck-on food or grease is completely removed. Rinse thoroughly and allow them to air dry or dry with a clean cloth.

Reassemble and Reconnect

Once the turntable and filter are completely dry, place them back in the microwave. Plug the microwave back into the outlet.

Final Touch

For a fresh scent, you can put a few drops of essential oil on a paper towel and wipe the inside of the microwave. Not only does this leave a pleasant aroma, but some oils like lavender or eucalyptus have antibacterial properties as well.

2 How do you clean a dirty microwave?

Using Water and Vinegar

woman cleaning microwave oven with brush baking soda and vinegar at home
Woman cleaning microwave oven with brush, baking soda and vinegar at home

Materials

  • A microwave-safe bowl
  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • A clean cloth or sponge

Steps

  1. Mix equal parts of water and white vinegar in the bowl.
  2. Place the bowl inside the microwave.
  3. Set the microwave on high for 5-10 minutes. The mixture will boil, creating steam that will soften the grime.
  4. Carefully remove the bowl (it will be hot) and leave the microwave door open for a few minutes to let it cool down.
  5. Wipe the interior with a sponge or cloth. The dirt and food particles should come off easily.

Using Lemon

cleaning a microwave with lemon
Cleaning a microwave with lemon

Materials

  • A microwave-safe bowl
  • One or two lemons
  • Water
  • Clean cloth or sponge

Steps

  1. Slice the lemons and place them in the bowl.
  2. Fill the bowl halfway with water and squeeze some of the lemon juice into the water.
  3. Place the bowl in the microwave.
  4. Set the microwave on high for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Carefully remove the bowl and wipe the microwave interior with a cloth or sponge.

Using Baking Soda

Materials

  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • A clean cloth
  • Or a sponge

Steps

  1. Make a paste using two parts baking soda to one part water.
  2. Apply the paste to the areas with stubborn stains inside the microwave. Leave it on for about 5 minutes.
  3. Use a sponge or cloth to scrub gently and wipe away the grime.

Using Dish Soap

Materials

  • A microwave-safe bowl
  • Dish soap
  • Water
  • A clean cloth or sponge

Steps

  1. Fill the bowl with water and add a few drops of dish soap.
  2. Place the bowl in the microwave and heat on high for 5 minutes.
  3. Let the microwave sit for a few minutes to cool down.
  4. Carefully remove the bowl and wipe down the interior.

3 How to Clean a Microwave with Baking Soda

Baking soda, known for its deodorizing and abrasive properties, is a natural and effective cleaner for your microwave. Here’s how you can get a sparkling clean microwave using this kitchen staple:

Materials Needed

  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • A microwave-safe bowl
  • A sponge, cloth, or scrub brush
  • Microfiber cloth or paper towels

Safety First

Before you begin, ensure that your microwave is turned off and unplugged from its power source to avoid any accidents.

Prepare a Baking Soda Paste

In a small bowl, combine 2 parts baking soda with 1 part water to create a smooth paste. The consistency should be spreadable, similar to toothpaste. If it’s too thick, add more water; if it’s too thin, add more baking soda.

Apply the Paste

preparing a baking soda paste
Preparing a baking soda paste

Using a sponge or cloth, apply the baking soda paste to the inside of the microwave, focusing especially on areas with stuck-on food or stubborn stains. Remember, the walls, ceiling, base, and the inner side of the microwave door need attention too. Allow the paste to sit for about 5-10 minutes. This gives the baking soda time to work its magic on the grime.

Clean the Turntable

BestCheck placeholder
a woman wearing gloves and cleaning the turntable in an oven

Remove the microwave turntable. In the sink, apply some of the baking soda paste to it and scrub gently with a brush or sponge. Once cleaned, rinse thoroughly and set aside to dry.

Scrub and Rinse

close up of woman cleaning and scrubbing oven at home
Close up of woman cleaning and scrubbing oven at home

After allowing the baking soda to sit, scrub the inside of the microwave using the sponge or scrub brush. The abrasive nature of the baking soda will help in lifting and removing grime and food particles. For tougher spots, you may need to apply a bit more paste and scrub harder.

Once the dirt and residue have been scrubbed away, take a cloth dampened with clean water and wipe away the baking soda residue from the microwave’s interior.

Dry and Reassemble

Using a microfiber cloth or paper towels, dry the inside of the microwave to ensure no moisture is left behind.

Once the turntable is completely dry, place it back into the microwave.

Odour Removal Bonus

bowl of baking soda
bowl of baking soda

If your microwave has a lingering odour even after cleaning, place a microwave-safe bowl filled with water inside. Add a tablespoon of baking soda to the water.

Turn on the microwave and let it run until the water starts to boil. Then, turn off the microwave and let the bowl sit inside for a few minutes. The steam combined with baking soda will help neutralize odors.

Carefully remove the bowl (it will be hot), and wipe the interior one more time with a dry cloth.

4 Additional Tips for cleaning Microwave ovens

  • Burnt Popcorn Smell: Besides lemon and vinegar, orange slices can also be used. They not only create steam for cleaning but also leave a pleasant aroma behind.
  • Essential Oils: Adding a few drops of essential oil, like lavender or eucalyptus, to the cleaning solution can give your microwave a fresh scent.
  • Safety: Never use strong chemicals inside your microwave. They might leave residues that can become a fire hazard or contaminate your food.
  • Outside of Your Microwave: Don’t forget to clean the top and sides. Dust and grease can accumulate there.
  • Dry Completely: Before using the microwave, make sure it’s completely dry. A damp microwave interior can be a fire hazard.
  • Deodorizing: If the burnt smell persists, keep a bowl of baking soda inside the microwave when not in use. It acts as a natural deodorizer.
  • For Deep Cleaning: If your microwave hasn’t been cleaned in a long while, you might want to repeat the cleaning processes mentioned above for a more deep clean.

5 Wrapping Up

Cleaning a microwave doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With tools like white vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, and regular dish soap, you can keep both inside and outside of your microwave spotless. Whether you’re tackling stuck-on food or looking to refresh your appliance post-burnt-popcorn incident, these methods are sure to help. Remember, consistent care ensures longevity and efficiency for your microwave oven. So, the next time you wonder about the best ways to clean your microwave, revisit these proven methods and enjoy a fresh, clean microwave once more.

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About This Article

Kaushik Jethva
Written by: Kaushik Jethva author

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Updated: August 21, 2023
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