How to clean a microwave

How to clean a microwave

Learn how to clean a microwave and make it look like new by following my simple, fast, and easy tips.

Cleaning a microwave is a tedious task that no one thinks about until cleaning becomes a necessity. However, if you clean your microwave on a regular basis, you do not only make it look good but you also extend the lifespan of the unit and you ensure that the food tastes exactly as it should.

No matter what approach you choose or what type of microwave you have, these tips guarantee you leave no splatter behind. They are highly effective and they make your job far easier than any other method you tried in the past.

Let’s get started!

Supplies You Need For Microwave Cleaning

Before diving into the different microwave cleaning methods, we should discuss supplies. Household essentials work well for microwave cleaning so here’s what you’ll be needing:

  • Cleaning products: both natural and commercial cleaning products work, however, you should steer away from bleach because bleach makes the plastic parts brittle
  • Kitchen sponge
  • Cloth or paper towels
  • Microwave safe bowl

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

Different cleaning methods require different steps so, if you want to learn how to clean a microwave, you have to decide on a method first. If there’s a lot of build-up residue, I recommend creating a steaming environment that can get rid of gunk and goop. This method ensures easy cleaning without the use of chemical cleaners. If your appliance is not very dirty, you can stick to a faster method that doesn’t require steaming.

Before you proceed:

  • Unplug the power cord
  • Wipe off the power cord – dirt and dust can accumulate on the power cord, turning it into a fire hazard
  • Take out any removable parts from the inside of the unit and soak them in soapy water in the sink
  • Clean the vents to eliminate any debris
  • Determine what the dirtiest areas are and choose the method for cleaning your microwave accordingly

Cleaning Your Microwave With A Steaming Solution

To clean a microwave with a steaming solution, you need to:

  • Fill up a bowl with water and your cleaner of choice
  • Put the turntable back in the microwave
  • Place the bowl inside the appliance
  • Microwave on high for a few minutes or until the window is steamy
  • Let it cool for approximately five minutes
  • Then remove the bowl from the microwave and wipe the inside clean

For this method, you can use different cleaning solutions, including natural ones you can make at home.

How to clean a microwave with vinegar

The first steaming method uses white vinegar, which is one of the best natural cleaners. Vinegar cleans and sanitizes at the same time. If you want to clean your microwave with vinegar water, you need:

  • Microwaveable bowl
  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Kitchen sponge


  • Mix two cups of water with two tablespoons of vinegar in a bowl
  • Microwave the vinegar water solution on high for five minutes
  • When the timer goes off, leave the door shut and let the solution steam for a couple more minutes – the steam will help loosen any caked up food residue, while the vinegar will get rid of any odors
  • Remove the bowl from the microwave
  • Remove the turntable tray and wash it in the sink
  • Clean the inside of the microwave with a sponge – the steam from the water and vinegar solution loosened up any caked up spills so you can wipe the surface without scrubbing it
  • Use a cloth or a paper towel to dry the inside of the microwave

How do you clean a microwave with lemon?

If you don’t like the smell of vinegar and you prefer a vinegar-free cleaning method, you can use lemon. This method is just as simple as the first one and it uses:

  • Water
  • Lemon essential oil
  • Spray bottle
  • Sponge


  • Get your sponge soaking wet and place it in the microwave
  • Fill a spray bottle with two ounces of water in which you mixed three-five drops of lemon essential oil
  • Spray the inside of the microwave with the water and lemon mixture – make sure you cover all inside areas including the top, sides, and bottom
  • When you’re done spraying, shut the door and microwave on high for two minutes with the sponge inside
  • Leave the sponge inside to steam after the timer goes off
  • Open the door and wipe the inside with the sponge (when the sponge is cold enough to handle)

If you don’t have lemon essential oil, you can use an actual lemon. To do it:

  • Cut a lemon in half
  • Place both halves cut-side down on a plate with a tablespoon of water
  • Microwave for a couple of minutes
  • Leave the water and lemon steam for a few more minutes
  • Wipe down the microwave

You can also substitute lemon juice for vinegar in the first method and follow the steps as described.

Cleaning microwave with dish soap

The last steaming method doesn’t use natural cleaners. For this, you need to create a steaming solution by mixing warm water with dish washer soap in a bowl.


  • Microwave the bowl with the solution for a few minutes or until the window is steamy
  • After the timer goes off, allow the steam to do its job for a couple more minutes
  • Wipe the inside of the microwave with a damp sponge
  • You can add a little bit of baking soda to the water-soap solution if you want to get rid of unpleasant odors

Clean the microwave with damp paper towels

The last steaming method is also the fastest one. It doesn’t require any solution; just a few soaking wet paper towels placed in the microwave.

  • As you already know, you have to microwave on high until steamy since the steam will loosen grime and other residues
  • Once done, wipe the interior clean with a clean microfiber cloth

This method works best when your appliance is not very dirty. It’s also a great method you can use weekly to maintain your unit clean.

Cleaning Microwave Without Steaming

You can clean your microwave without a steaming solution if you’re in a hurry or if your appliance is not very dirty. Just like with the steaming method, you need some type of solution to fasten up the process. Both store-bought and homemade solutions work for this method.

Microwave cleaning with baking soda

Baking soda is not only great for cleaning the inside of the microwave but also for deodorizing it. To clean your microwave with baking soda, you have to follow four simple steps.


  • In a bowl, combine one cup of water to two parts baking soda to make a white paste
  • Apply the mixture to the hardened residue and let sit for approximately five minutes
  • With a wet sponge, rub away the grease stains
  • Wipe away the residue with a microfiber cloth or paper towel

Microwave cleaning with diluted window cleaner solution

Another great way to clean your microwave is to use a diluted window cleaner solution mixed with water.


  • Start by combining two cups of window cleaner with one cup of water
  • Soak a kitchen sponge in the solution and wipe the interior until you remove all the spots and stains
  • With a damp clean cloth, go over the interior one more time to ensure there is no cleaner residue
  • For stubborn stains, let the window cleaner solution sit for five minutes before scrubbing.

How To Clean Greasy Microwave Doors

When you finished cleaning the inside, you can move to the door. You can remove grease stains and dust in three simple steps:

  • Step 1: With a sponge damped in water, clean the rubber gasket around the door
  • Step 2: For the window, soak a cloth in a white vinegar-water mixture or a grease-cutting cleaner and clean any stains
  • Step 3: Wipe the door dry with a clean cloth

How to Clean Microwave Exteriors

clean kitchen

You should not forget the exterior since grease residue that’s not properly cleaned on a regular basis is hard to remove. Not only that, but grease can get into vent holes and turn your microwave into a fire hazard.

For cleaning the exterior, you can use a mix of dish soap and water or an all-purpose cleaner. If your cleaner comes in a spray bottle, don’t spray it directly on the microwave. You don’t want the cleaner to get onto the control panel or into the vent holes because it can damage the microwave. Instead, spray your solution on a sponge or cloth and wipe the appliance with it.

  • Step 1: Rub the sides, top, and display panel with the damp cloth – make sure you spend more time on the display panel since it can be very sticky
  • Step 2: With the same cloth or with a kitchen sponge, wipe around the microwave handle
  • Step 3: Soak a clean cloth in hot water and go over the microwave to rinse off cleaner residue
  • Step 4: Go over the appliance with a dry cloth to remove water residue

If your microwave is very dirty or if you want to go the extra mile to give your microwave an extra-polished look, the following tips will make the process easier:

  • Use a disinfectant cleaner after you cleaned the microwave to remove any stubborn grease spots or stains
  • Spray glass cleaner onto a clean cloth and wipe the microwave window
  • To make the outside really shine, you can pour a little bit of rubbing alcohol onto a clean cloth and buff the microwave until it sparkles.

How To Clean Stubborn Spots

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, there are stubborn spots and stains you cannot clean using the basic methods we discussed so far. For these particular stains, you can use nail polish remover or chemical cleaners.

Remove stubborn spots with nail polish remover

Use the nail polish remover trick only after you removed the majority of the stains using one of the methods described above!

For this simple trick, you need:

  • Water
  • Cotton ball
  • Nail polish remover or pure acetone
  • Soap
  • Microfiber cloth


  • Dip a cotton ball in nail polish remover or acetone and wipe the yellow stains until they are completely gone
  • Soak a sponge in hot water and soap and use it to remove any traces of nail polish remover
  • Use a damp cloth to get rid of the harsh acetone smell

Microwave cleaning with commercial cleaners

Commercial cleaners are not typically recommended for your microwave because they usually create fumes that remain in the appliance and can add an unpleasant taste and smell to food. However, some stubborn stains require the power of chemical cleaners.

If you opt for removing stains with a commercial cleaner, select a fume-free product. Moreover, it is recommended to leave the microwave door open a few hours after you finished cleaning.

How To Prevent Excess Microwave Grime

As a rule, the more you use the microwave, the more frequent you need to clean it. On average, you should clean your microwave once every few weeks if you want to keep it working and looking like new.

People don’t give a lot of thought to their microwave until its cleaning time but a dirty microwave doesn’t perform as good as a clean microwave. In addition, you’re exposing yourself to many unnecessary health risks caused by the caked-on food residue.

To make your cleaning experience easier and to prevent any health problems, wipe down your appliance every few days with a cloth damped in hot water. It is, of course, important to wipe off any splatters immediately after they happen so the spilled bits don’t bake on. Ideally, you want to prevent splatters in the first place by covering up any foods you reheat with a lid or a plate.

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