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How To Clean A Microwave – 14 Exceptional Methods + Recipes

How To Clean A Microwave

Cleaning a microwave used to be one of my least favorite chores, but now it’s super simple, and it only takes me a few minutes.

What’s more, I do it on the cheap and only use natural ingredients that are already in my kitchen store. 

So, here are my 12 fast-acting all-natural microwave cleaner recipes that are low on elbow grease but high on effectiveness. 

Warning: – Microwaves heat things very quickly. So when you use a microwave, always check how hot something is before removing or using it.

This site uses affiliate links, and I am also a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This means that I may make a small commission on products purchased through links clicked on this site. 

How To Clean The Outside Of A Microwave

Due to the large variations in materials and design, it best to clean the outside of a microwave with hot soapy water. For stubborn stains, you can use a soft, non-abrasive cloth dipped into a 50/50 mix of vinegar and warm water.

However, It is always best to refer to your operates handbook for specific instructions on outer cleaning. 

Supplies: 

  • Dry lint-free cloth or rag
  • Hairdryer (optional)
  • Non-abrasive cloth
  • Hot water (vinegar optional)

Instructions:

Step 1: Unplug the microwave. 

Check the plug and cable for signs of damage and wipe them down with a dry lint-free cloth. 

Step 2: Blow away dust from the air grills and filters.

It is not usual for microwaves to collect dust around these grills, but any dust can quickly be blown away with a hairdryer.

Do not dismantle the microwave to do this; however, the filters of over-the-stove microwaves’ can be removed and air blown.

Step 3: Wipe and dry the exterior.

Use liquid soap, hot water, and a non-abrasive cloth to wipe the exterior of the microwave.

Take care around the grills and buttons. Once the wet wipe has been completed, dry the microwave exterior and plug the unit back into the mains.

If stubborn stains persist, place a 50/50 mixture of warm water and vinegar or lemon juice in a spray bottle and apply directly to the stain. Leave this mixture to work for 10 minutes, then wipe away with a soft, damp cloth. 

It would be best if you wiped clean your microwave after each use but don’t clean it immediately after use. The best advice to avoid harm is to give it time to cool down before cleaning.

How to Clean A Microwave Turntable

The most effective way to clean a microwave turntable is by handwashing it in hot soapy water. Microwave turntables must never be hot when washed, and cooled turntables can be placed into a dishwasher.

Supplies:

  • Hot water
  • Liquid Castile soap (few drops)
  • Lightly abrasive scourer, cloth, or sponge
  • Dishwasher (optional)

Instructions:

Step 1: Start with a cool turntable. 

Microwave turntables are made of strong thick glass that looks unbreakable but do not let this fool you. A microwave turntable will shatter if it is plunged into cold or even warm water when the glass is hot.

Step 2: Wash by Hand or in a Dishwasher

Wash a turntable by hand using hot soapy water and a lightly abrasive sponge, scourer, or cloth. For baked-on, tough stains, leave the glass to soak for half an hour or overnight before scrubbing. 

To wash a turntable in the dishwasher, first, check that it is dishwasher safe. This information can be found in the microwave manual. If the answer is yes, then the turntable should be placed in the dishwasher’s bottom rack alongside your plates.

Step 3: Dry and replace

When the turntable is clean, it should be dried and immediately and placed into its housing within the microwave. Do not use the microwave oven without its turntable in place and sited correctly.

Never run an empty microwave as the waves produced will have nothing to absorb them. These waves will then reflected back and be absorbed by the magnetron.

A magnetron creates microwaves, and without a magnetron, your microwave will no longer work.  

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How To Make An Effective Cleaning Spray To Clean A Microwave 

To make this microwave cleaner, simply pour equal amounts of lemon juice, distilled white vinegar, and water into a spray bottle and shake. 

All-Natural Microwave Cleaning Spray Recipe

  • Distilled water (1/2 cup)
  • 10 drops citrus essential oil or 1/2 cup lemon juice 
  • Distilled white vinegar (1/2 cup)
  • Dark glass spray bottle

This cleaner is both cheap to make and will break down newly hardened food splatters in minutes.

How To Clean A microwave Using A Homemade Cleaner

This homemade cleaner recipe only requires you to spray, leave, wipe and rinse – nothing could be simpler!

Supplies:

  • D.I.Y microwave cleaner
  • Hot water
  • Non-abrasive cloth

Instructions:

Step 1: Combine the ingredients

Place all the ingredients into the bottle, seal, and shake until all the contents are thoroughly mixed.

Step 2: Spray 

Spray the microwave inside and out (taking care near the grills) and leave for about 5 minutes. 

Step 3: Rinse the interior and dry.

Wipe clean and rinse the interior with clean water and dry with a soft, non-abrasive cloth. Leave the door ajar to dry the interior.

Never combine commercial cleaners and natural cleaners; as a result, maybe the creation of a potentially toxic chemical. For example, vinegar + bleach = Chlorine gas.

How To Clean A Microwave with Paper Towels

This is an excellent cleaning method for those who don’t have any natural cleaners to hand. Simply soak microwaveable paper towels, fold them twice, heat for 1 to 2 minutes, leave them for 3 minutes, then use them to clean the interior.

Supplies:

  • Cold water 
  • Paper towels
  • Dry lint-free cloth or rag

Instructions:

Step 1: Soak microwavable paper towels.

Grab a large handful of microwavable paper towels, fold them twice, and soak them thoroughly in cold water.  

Place the soaking wet paper towels in the microwave and run the microwave on full power for about 1 to 2 minutes. The steam will penetrate and loosen the baked-on dirt making cleaning easier. 

Step 2: Wipe clean with hot wet paper towels

After a further 3 minutes, open the microwave door and allow the paper towels to cool until they are safe to touch. Now simply use the towels to wipe clean the interior and repeat if necessary. 

Step 3: Remove the excess moisture.

Dry the interior with a soft, lint-free cloth and leave the microwave door open for 20 minutes to let it dry out.

Recycled paper towels, paper towels with printing, and brown paper bags should not be used as they pose a potential safety hazard.

Do not microwave dry paper towels as they may catch on fire.

How to Clean A Microwave with Soap And Water 

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The method I use is to heat a cup of water for 3 minutes, then add a few drops of castile soap to the water. I use this to clean the interior before giving it a final rinsing.

I do this regularly to prevent a build-up of burnt-on dirt and the associated odors. 

Supplies: 

  • Microwavable container
  • Water (1 cup)
  • Lightly abrasive scourer, cloth, or sponge
  • Castille liquid soap (few drops)

Instructions:

Step 1: Pre-clean the microwave interior

Wipe the inside of the microwave with a damp cloth to remove any loose gunk and expose the hardened burnt-on debris.

Step 2: Steam with water

Follow this by placing one cup of water in a microwave-safe container and heat for 3 minutes. The steam will penetrate and soften the hardened gunk.  

Step 3: Clean with soapy water

Mix some of the hot water with cooler water and add a few liquid soap drops. Dip a clean sponge or scourer into the soapy liquid and wipe the interior until clean. 

Step 4: Rinse the interior and dry.

Rinse the interior with clean water and dry with a soft, lint-free cloth. Leave the microwave door open for 20 minutes to let it fully dry out.

Dry foods have a greater chance of burning in a microwave due to the low water content. Always keep a close eye on these products and add a teaspoon of water if necessary.

How To Clean A Microwave With Lemon Juice (Lightly Soiled)

Lemon is a weak acid and natural deodorizer. This recipe combines 1 tablespoon of lemon juice with 1cup of water and is sufficient to clean a lightly soiled microwave.

Supplies: 

  • Microwaveable container
  • Lemon juice (1 tablespoon)
  • Water (1 cup)
  • Non-abrasive cloth

Instructions:

Step 1: Pre-clean the microwave interior

Wipe the inside of the microwave with a damp non-abrasive cloth to remove any loose gunk and expose the hardened burnt-on debris.

Step 2: Mix and steam

Combine the lemon juice and water in a microwave-safe container and heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Leave the door closed for a further 2 minutes.

Step 3: Rinse the interior and dry.

Wipe clean and rinse the interior with clean water and a soft, non-abrasive cloth. Leave the microwave door open for 20 minutes to let it fully dry out.

If burnt-on debris is left for too long in the microwave, it can turn into carbon. Carbon within a microwave has the potential to cause electrical sparks. And these sparks can damage the appliance or ignite the contents of the microwave.

How To Clean A Microwave With Lemon Juice (Heavily Soiled)

This method combines 1/4 cup of water with 1/4 cup of lemon juice plus heat, time, and elbow grease to remove even the hardest gunk from your microwave.  

Supplies: 

  • Microwaveable container
  • Lemon juice (1/4 cup)
  • Water (1/4 cup)
  • Non-abrasive cloth

Instructions:

Method 1 Step 1: Pre-clean the microwave interior

Wipe the inside of the microwave with a damp non-abrasive cloth to remove any loose gunk and expose the hardened burnt-on debris.

Step 2: Mix and steam

Combine the lemon juice and water in a microwave-safe container and heat for 2 minutes. Leave the door closed for 3 to 5 minutes to let the solution do its job.

Step 3: Rinse the interior and dry.

Wipe clean and rinse the interior with clean water and a soft, non-abrasive cloth. Leave the microwave door open for 20 minutes to let it air out.

You can also use this same method to clean a microwave with distilled white vinegar. Simply leave out the lemon juice and replace it with vinegar but beware, the odor is very different.

How To Clean A Microwave With A Fresh Lemon (Medium Soiled)

Use the power of citric acid by heating a sliced lemon combined with a teaspoon of water for 1 minute. When the lemon is cool, use the two halves to directly wipe and remove the burnt-on debris before rinsing. 

Supplies: 

  • Microwaveable bowl/plate
  • Lemon  
  • Water (1 tablespoon)
  • Non-abrasive cloth

Instructions:

1 Step 1: Pre-wipe the microwave interior

Wipe the burnt-on gunk with one half of the lemon or a cloth pre-loaded with some lemon juice.  

Step 2: Heat the lemon

Place the two halves of the lemon cut side down on a microwaveable bowl/plate and add one tablespoon of water—heat on full power for about 1 minute.

Step 3: Wipe the interior of the microwave

When the are lemons cool, use the cut side to wipe clean the microwave’s interior and remove the gunk.

Step 3: Rinse the interior and dry.

Wipe clean and rinse the interior with fresh water and a soft, non-abrasive cloth. Leave the microwave door open for 20 minutes to let it fully dry out.

Disposable paper plates, bowls, and cups may be covered in a thin layer of plastic. Always check your items are microwave safe before placing them in the appliance.

How To Clean A Microwave With A Fresh Lemon (Heavily Soiled)

If you have a lime or a grapefruit, you could use those in place of lemons. However, lemons are the cheapest and best.

Supplies: 

  • Microwaveable bowl/plate
  • Lemon (1)  
  • Water (1/2 cup)
  • Non-abrasive cloth

Instructions:

1 Step 1: Pre-wipe the microwave interior

Wipe the burnt-on gunk with one half of the lemon or a cloth pre-loaded with some of the lemons juice. 

Step 2: Heat the water and lemon

Add the water to the microwavable container and combine it with the juice of the lemon. Drop the squeezed lemon into the bowl as every little helps, and heat for 3 minutes.

Step 3: Wipe the interior of the microwave.

Leave the microwave door closed for 5 to 10 minutes to let the steam work, then remove the lemon water. Dip the non-abrasive cloth into the lemon water and wipe clean the interior of the microwave. 

When the are lemons cool, use the cut side to wipe away any stubborn spots of gunk.

Step 4: Rinse the interior and leave it to dry.

Rinse the interior with clean water and dry with a soft, non-abrasive cloth. 

Strong odors like fish or curry can persist in a microwave and contaminate a room. However, cleaning a microwave with citrus fruits deodorizes the appliance and leaves the room smelling citrus fresh.

How To Clean A Microwave With Vinegar 

This simple method combines vinegar, water, heat, and steam to loosen, then remove burnt-on gunk and odors.

Supplies: 

  • Microwaveable bowl/plate
  • Vinegar (1 to 2 tablespoons)
  • Water (1 cup)
  • Non-abrasive cloth
  • 4 drops of essential oils ( any and optional)

Instructions:

Step 1: Pre-clean the microwave interior

Wipe the inside of the microwave with a damp non-abrasive cloth to remove any loose gunk and expose the hardened burnt-on debris.

Step 2: Heat the Vinegar

Combine the vinegar, water, and optional essential oils in a microwave-safe container and heat for 4 minutes. Citrus essential oils will help boost the cleaning power, but their primary purpose is to combat the vinegar’s odor.

Leave the microwave door closed for 4 minutes to let the steam penetrate the gunk.

For heavily stained microwaves, you can increase the water to vinegar mix to a 50/50 concentration.

Step 3: Wipe the interior of the microwave.

Remove the hot solution and use it to clean other areas of the home. Rinse the interior with clean water and dry with a soft, non-abrasive cloth.

Leave the microwave door open for 20 minutes to let it fully dry out.

When vinegar is hot, it gets a cleaning boost, so don’t waste hot vinegar if you have other cleaning tasks to accomplish. But be careful: please read 15 things you should never clean with vinegar and why. 

How to Clean A Microwave With Baking Soda (No Rub Method)  

To clean with baking soda, simply add 2 tablespoons of baking soda to 1 cup of water and heat in a microwave for 4 minutes. Open the door after 10 minutes and wipe clean.

Supplies: 

  • Microwavable container
  • Baking soda (2 tablespoons)
  • Water (1 cup) 
  • A soft sponge or non-microfibre cloth (x2)

Microfibre cloths release plastic microfibres with every use. It is estimated that half a million tons of plastic microfibers are dumped into the ocean each year. This is equivalent to 50 billion plastic bottles.

Instructions:

Step 1: Pre-clean the microwave interior

Wipe the inside of the microwave with a damp non-microfibre cloth to remove any loose gunk and expose the hardened burnt-on debris.

Step 2: Steam with baking soda and water

Combine one cup of water and two heaped tablespoons of baking soda in a microwavable container and stir vigorously. Heat this solution on full power for 4 minutes and remove it from the microwave after 10 minutes. 

Step 3: Clean and rinse the interior 

Dip a clean non-microfibre cloth into warm water and wipe the interior until clean. Finish off by wiping with fresh, clean water again if required, as baking soda can leave a light white film when dry.

Leave the microwave door open for 20 minutes to let it fully dry out.

Never use baking soda on black stainless steel as its abrasive qualities can etch into and mark the surface.

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How to Clean A Microwave with Baking Soda (The Rub Method)

Baking soda can remove moisture from your skin, so please wear hand protection when cleaning with a baking soda solution.

This method, therefore, requires rubber gloves and a little elbow grease, but it is very effective. 

Supplies: 

  • Container for a paste
  • Baking soda (1/4 to 1/2 cup)
  • Water (2 to 3 tablespoons)
  • Water 1/2 cup 
  • A soft sponge or non-microfibre cloth (x2)

Instructions:

Step 1: Mix up a paste of baking soda and water

Remove the turntable and support frame and wash them in warm soapy water. And then, combine the baking soda and water to form a light paste. 

Step 2: Apply the baking powder paste to the interior 

Next, Dip a clean but slightly moist cloth into the paste and begin applying the paste to the microwave interior.

Step 3: Heat the water and wait.

Place 1/2 a cup of water into the microwave and heat for 2 minutes. Wait for a further 5 minutes before opening the microwave door.  

Step 4: Clean and rinse the interior 

The microwave can now be scrubbed clean using a non-microfibre cloth and gentle pressure. Do this by dipping your original non-microfibre cloth into the warm water and wipe the interior until clean.

Step 5: Rinse the interior and leave it to dry.

Rinse the interior with clean water and dry with a soft, non-abrasive cloth. Finish off by wiping with fresh, clean water again if required, as baking soda can leave a light white film when dry.

Leave the microwave door open for 20 minutes to let it fully dry out.

Baking soda is known by many names, and these include:

  • Sodium bicarbonate
  • Bicarbonate of soda
  • Bread soda
  • Sodium hydrogen carbonate
  • Saleratus

How to Clean A Microwave With Baking soda And Vinegar  

Add 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 1 cup of water, then use a non-abrasive cloth to wipe this across the interior of the microwave. Combine 2 tablespoons of vinegar with 1 cup of water and heat for 4 minutes. After 10 minutes, open the door and wipe clean with fresh water.    

Supplies: 

  • Microwavable container
  • Baking soda (2 heaped tablespoons)
  • Vinegar (2 tablespoons)
  • Water (2 cups) 
  • A soft sponge or non-microfibre cloth (x2)

Instructions:

Step 1: Wipe the microwave interior with baking soda.

Combine one cup of water and two heaped tablespoons of baking soda in a bowl and stir. Dip a soft non-microfibre cloth into this mixture and wipe the interior surfaces until all have been covered.

Step 2: Steam with Vinegar and water

Combine one cup of water and two tablespoons of Vinegar in a microwavable container and stir. Heat this solution on full power for 4 minutes and leave the oven door closed for a further 10 minutes. 

Step 3: Wipe the interior of the microwave.

Remove the warm solution and use it and the original non-microfibre cloth or sponge to wipe clean the microwave’s interior.

Step 5: Rinse the interior and leave it to dry.

Rinse the interior with clean water and dry with a clean, soft, non-microfibre cloth. Finish off by wiping with fresh, clean water again if required, as baking soda can leave a light white film when dry.

Leave the microwave door open for 20 minutes to let it fully dry out.

Deodorize a microwave by placing an open box of baking soda in the microwave and leaving it overnight. 

How To Clean A Microwaves Grease Filters

Over the range, microwaves usually have grease filters that should be cleaned every month to ensure peak performance. 

Supplies: 

  • Baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
  • Castille liquid soap
  • Bowl of hot water  
  • A soft sponge or non-microfibre cloth 

Instructions:

Step 1: Remove the filter

Grease filters are located on the bottom of over-the-stove microwaves and do not require tools to remove them. The filter should slide or pop out with a small amount of pressure but should never be forced.

Step 2: Submerge the filter in hot soapy water.

Place the microwave grease filter in a sink, basin, or bowl of hot, soapy water. It is best if the filter is completely submerged and left to soak for 10 to 15 minutes.

Add about a 1/ 4 cup of baking soda to the water for particularly dirty filters.

Step 3: Gently scrub the filter

Grease filters are more fragile than they look and will bend easily, so be careful when cleaning them. Once the grease is loosened, gently scrub the submerged filter with a dish brush or scouring pad. 

Step 4: Rinse and repeat 

Heavily clogged filters may need a second cleaning in hot soapy water, so be prepared for this. However, if the filter is clean and for maximum safety, allow the filter to air dry. 

Once the filter is dry, it can be popped back into place, ready for cleaning next month.

Over-the-range microwaves may have a charcoal filter near the top of the appliance. If there is a constant burnt-on smell, these filters should be changed. This should be done half-yearly. 

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How To Clean A Microwave With Bleach

Never clean a microwave with bleach, as it has the potential to emit fumes that are extremely hazardous to your health.

Moreover, bleach will not actually clean your microwave. Instead, it actively bleaches the color from the stains to give you the impression that it has.

Here are some of the dangers of using bleach to clean a microwave:

  1. Heating bleach will release dangerous, noxious fumes like chloramine gases. 
  2. Bleach does not mix well with a wide range of chemicals and can create potentially lethal toxins.
  3. Ammonia + Bleach = Chloramine gas.
  4. Vinegar (or other acidic products) + Bleach = Chlorine gas.
  5. Alcohol + Bleach = Chloroform.
  6. Bleach + Organic material in water may create Chloroform gas. 
  7. Bleach can damage the plastic components of a microwave by making them brittle.

So to summarize, bleach is not an effective microwave cleaner and will react badly to the heat generated by it.

Furthermore, it may produce noxious and potentially fatal fumes when it reacts with the remnants of your previous cleaners.

In Conclusion

The biggest tip is to clean your microwave regularly and prevent the need for a big clean. Old food, drink, gunk, and spillages can cause operating problems, and natural cleaners are great at removing them.

Never mix your chemical cleaners with your natural ones, and stay away from bleach. If your microwave is still smelling and making strange noises after all this, I think you should contact a repair agent.

Thanks for your time, 

Mark

Related articles:

How to clean using baking soda – 16 bathroom problems solved

5 things you should never mix with vinegar when cleaning

15 things you should never clean with vinegar and why

17 easy swaps for a healthier, more eco-friendly kitchen

Differences of baking soda, bicarbonate of soda, and baking powder explained

sustainability dad

Mark Aspland is a proud father of two boys, an amateur actor, and a green living enthusiast. He has been sharing hints, tips, and sustainable living content on his website Sustainability Dad since august 2019. 

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He now has an army of like-hearted individuals passionate about the environment and positive change through peaceful action. For a little inspiration on this, check out the articles and videos referencing sustainability quotes that can be found on the site. Enjoy

Mark

A proud father of two boys, an amateur actor, and a green living enthusiast, Mark has been sharing hints, tips, and sustainable living content on his website Sustainability Dad since august 2019.

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