If you’ve ever gone to warm up a midnight snack only to see splatters and grime covering the inside of your microwave, it may be time to learn how to clean a microwave. Beyond being visually unappealing and potentially smelly, the bacteria breeding ground created by a dirty microwave can make you sick, and it can even be a fire hazard.
We’ve compiled a list of the top hacks for cleaning a microwave so your appliance stays as pristine as when you first bought it.
Here are a few tips before you get started:
Make sure that you unplug your microwave from the outlet. Although it’s unlikely that cleaning a plugged-in microwave could harm you, it’s better safe than sorry.
Be careful when handling the microwave glass plate.
To clean a microwave with vinegar, mix two tablespoons of white vinegar with two cups of water in a microwave-safe bowl or large glass measuring cup. If you’re not a fan of the scent of white vinegar, you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to cover the smell.
Microwave the mixture on high for five minutes. It might boil over slightly, but that’s okay; you want it to get as steamy as possible inside the microwave to soften any stubborn grease and grime.
Wait at least 10 minutes before opening the microwave door. The bowl, its contents, and the steam might still be hot even after this time has passed, so be extremely cautious.
Remove the glass plate and turntable from your microwave and wipe them down using a clean rag. Be extra careful when handling the plate since it’s likely slippery when wet.
Wipe down the microwave’s interior—including the sides, door, top, and bottom—using a soft rag or paper towels. Make sure not to get any liquid in the vents since that could cause mechanical issues in the future. If you still see stains in your microwave, dip a sponge into the residual water/vinegar solution and gently scrub.
Finally, replace the turntable and glass plate, and voila! You have a clean microwave once more.
For those who might not like the smell of white vinegar, cleaning your microwave with lemon might be the way to go.
Start by squeezing or rubbing a lemon between your palms to get the juices flowing.
Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice into a microwave-safe container, making sure to use a sieve or manually picking out any seeds that fall in.
Drop the squeezed lemon halves into the container, too. Mix the lemon juice and halves with approximately one cup of water.
Place the container in the microwave and run it on high for five minutes. As with the vinegar solution, let this one sit for at least 10 minutes, so you don’t accidentally scald yourself when removing the container.
Remove the turntable and glass plate and clean them with a soft rag. Then, wipe down the microwave’s interior using a rag or paper towels.
Replace the turntable and glass plate and revel in the fresh scent of your newly cleaned microwave.
The sodium bicarbonate that gives you fluffy pancakes and light-as-air muffins is also a fantastic microwave cleaner. Baking soda is a natural deodorizer and cleaner, so pull that Arm & Hammer out from the back of your kitchen cabinet and use it to clean away microwave dirt and grime.
Start by mixing at least two tablespoons of baking soda with one cup of water in a microwave-safe container.
Microwave the mixture on high for five minutes. This mix will create extra-dense steam that breaks up grime and kills bad odors.
After five minutes, carefully remove the container.
Remove the turntable and glass plate. Wipe them down with a rag, then wipe the microwave’s interior with a damp rag.
Although the steam should loosen any food debris, you may still have extra-stubborn gunk. You can dip a sponge into the baking soda/water mixture and use this microwave cleaner paste to scrub away any residual mess.
Replace the turntable and glass plate.
This is one of the best ways to clean a microwave because you probably always have dish soap on hand. Simply follow the steps for Hack #1 and Hack #2, but substitute dishwashing liquid for the white vinegar, lemon, or baking soda.
If you prefer a more hands-on approach, follow these steps:
Mix a few squirts of dish soap and warm water in a bowl. Soak and squeeze a dishwashing sponge in the bowl until the water gets full of suds.
Remove the interior glass plate and turntable. Handwash the glass plate in your kitchen sink using your sudsy sponge and dish soap as you normally handwash your dishes.
Then, use the soapy sponge to scrub the microwave’s interior. Start at the top to ensure that you don’t have to wash the same section twice from food or grease falling. Using a circular motion, coat your microwave’s ceiling, floor, walls, and door. You want every inch covered in suds. Make sure to take care of your microwave by not letting water get in the vents.
Rinse and repeat until your microwave so spotless.
Wipe up the last drops of sudsy water using a damp paper towel, then wipe your microwave down again using a dry paper towel or rag.
Replace the turntable and glass plate.
A melamine foam sponge—better known by the brand name Magic Eraser—truly feels like magic. Though you may think you should avoid putting it in the microwave, think again! Using this sponge is a great microwave cleaning hack.
After removing the microwave turntable and glass plate, simply wet the sponge slightly to activate the melamine foam. Then, use small, circular motions to clean the glass plate and your microwave’s interior, making sure not to get any moisture into the vents.
If your microwave grime is so tough that it feels like your Magic Eraser isn’t casting its cleaning spell, replace the turntable and glass plate. Then, soak the melamine foam sponge in water and then microwave it on high for five minutes.
After allowing it to cool, use the sponge to wipe away the last stubborn bits of food and grime. Your microwave should be clean and fresh.
Now that you have a clean microwave, make sure to keep it that way by cleaning up spills and splatters as soon as they happen. Wipe down the inside weekly to prevent any remaining residue from sticking around, and change your microwave filter about every six months.
If you find that your built-in microwave has stopped working, don’t worry. If you are an American Home Shield® member, just submit a service request, and we’ll send a qualified service technician to your home to troubleshoot your microwave. If the issue is covered by your home warranty plan, we’ll repair or replace it (up to your coverage limits and subject to the limitations and exclusions of your contract). Microwave warranty coverage from American Home Shield will help protect your wallet and provide peace of mind.
AHS assumes no responsibility, and specifically disclaims all liability, for your use of any and all information contained herein.