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What is the Best Way to Clean a Microwave?

By B. Miller
Updated May 16, 2024
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It is important to regularly clean a microwave to prevent the build-up of smells, grease, crumbs, and stains. If anything spills in the microwave, it is a good idea to wipe it up right away. For regular cleanings, however, most experts recommend using household items like lemon juice, vinegar, baking soda, and water to clean a microwave, instead of any harsh chemicals that could potentially leech into food.

To quickly and easily clean a microwave, begin by removing the glass tray, if the microwave has one. That tray can be washed with warm, soapy water and dried, or even run through the dishwasher. Next, wipe any crumbs out of the inside of the microwave. The next step allows the microwave to do most of the work, and is a simple and easy way to effectively clean a microwave.

Fill a microwave safe bowl with water, and add either a few drops of lemon juice, half a sliced lemon, or a small amount of white vinegar. Then, microwave the bowl for between two and five minutes, depending on the power of the microwave, until the water begins to boil. Leave the microwave door closed for a few minutes so the steam can fill the microwave.

Next, carefully remove the bowl from the microwave and wipe down the walls with a damp cloth. Any stains or baked-on food should wipe off easily, and the steam should have destroyed any lingering smells. For persistent stains, apply a little baking soda to a damp sponge and rub the stain for a few seconds, which should take care of it. Finally, wipe the inside of the microwave one more time with plain warm water. Using natural items like these to clean a microwave ensures that no harmful chemicals end up in the air or in the food.

Another option is to simply use a sponge or damp cloth with lemon juice or vinegar on it to wipe the microwave without first heating a bowl of water. However, that method will require more scrubbing and effort. Microwave cleaning products are sold in stores as well, and can be found in the household cleaning section. Regular cleaning products can be used to clean the outside of the microwave, but take extra care if the outside of the microwave is stainless steel. If natural cleaning products are preferred, it is perfectly fine to use lemon juice or vinegar diluted with warm water to wipe the outside of the microwave as well.

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Discussion Comments

By anon85280 — On May 19, 2010

A great way to clean a microwave is to boil a cup of water for two to three minutes and then wipe with a micro fiber cloth. The moisture loosens everything up and the micro fiber cloth grabs everything.

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