How to Clean a Microwave

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Ugh. It’s a job that everyone hates. And we all know that kids will completely ignore how filthy a microwave is after they’ve used it.

Because no child EVER covers their food to prevent it from popping all over the place when it heats. I digress.

The point is the microwave is one of those things that doesn’t get cleaned as often as it should. Once you learn how to clean a microwave without a lot of fuss, you’ll be more likely to keep it clean. Let’s take a closer look.

What is the easiest way to clean a microwave with vinegar?

Take one 16.9oz bottle of water and pour it into a bowl along with two tablespoons of white vinegar.

Heat in the microwave for 5 minutes and allow to set with the door closed for three minutes. Using an oven mitt, remove the bowl from the microwave and set it aside.

Use a cleaning sponge to wipe down the turntable and set it aside. Next start at the ceiling of the microwave and work your way down.

Everything should come off easily due to the steam from the water and vinegar. If it’s really stuck on, add a bit of elbow grease.

Once clean, use a dry cloth to wipe down the surfaces and turntable. Place the turntable back in the microwave and you’re done.

Can I use dish soap to clean a microwave?

Yes. Add a bit of dish soap to a bowl of warm water and wipe the outside of the microwave down before moving to the inside. Wipe down the turntable and set it aside.

Next, do the ceiling and walls before cleaning the floor of the microwave. Be extremely careful not to get suds inside the vents or fan.

Wipe everything down with a cloth dampened with clean water to remove the soap residue. Dry with a dry cloth and you’re done.

How do you clean a microwave that has food exploded?

You’re going to want to do the steam cleaning method listed above multiple times to take care of a really bad food explosion incident, especially if the food has dried.

If the mess is fresh, you can cut down the cleaning time drastically by cleaning right away. Use a damp cloth to wipe away the excess and then use the steam cleaning method.

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The Steam Cleaning Method

The steam cleaning method is when you heat water and vinegar or lemon juice to create steam in your microwave. The steam loosens the stuck-on gunk and makes it much easier to clean your microwave. Best of all, it’s completely natural. There are no harsh chemicals.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 bottle of water, 16.9oz
  • 2 tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice
  • Cleaning sponge
  • Dry cloth


  1. Combine the water and vinegar/lemon juice in a large bowl.
  2. Heat for 5 minutes and then allow to cool with the door closed for 3 minutes.
  3. Use an oven mitt to remove the bowl and turntable.
  4. Take your cleaning sponge and clean the turntable.
  5. Next start with the ceiling of the microwave and work your way down to the floor wiping with the sponge.
  6. Once clean, use a dry cloth to dry the microwave.
  7. If your microwave is extremely dirty, you may have to repeat this process a few times.


The vinegar/lemon juice also works to sanitize the microwave.

What Not To Do

Here are a few things you never want to do when cleaning your microwave:

1. Use harsh chemicals. Remember that you’re going to be heating food in your microwave. Any fumes that get into the vents and fan are going to get into your food. Keep it natural.

2. Allow messes to set until later. The longer the mess sets, the longer it will take to clean. This is especially true if someone comes along and ignores the mess and uses the microwave because the mess is now really cooked on there. Clean ASAP!

3. Allow children to use the microwave unsupervised. Just kidding, but seriously, if your kids aren’t keeping the microwave clean, consider foods that don’t need to go in the microwave.

Tips to Maintain a Clean Microwave

Once your microwave is clean, you should take measures to keep it clean. Here are some tips to make it easier.

1. Cover your food when heating. You can use a simple paper towel, or you can purchase covers that are made specifically for this purpose.

2. Pay attention to cook times. Overcooking food can lead to boilovers and messes. It can also lead to burnt food which will stink up your microwave and house.

3. Wipe up small spills and splatters immediately. It will take you two seconds to grab a wet paper towel and clean them up. Do it.

There you have it. It’s easy to clean your microwave. You just need water and vinegar or lemon juice. You don’t need fancy cleaners to remove all that stuck-on food.

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