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How to Clean a Microwave

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Microwave is a perfect kitchen appliance that all of us love to have. From heating leftover food to make delicious and quick meals, this kitchen companion does everything. 

But what about the mess it leaves behind? The splatters, the grime, the stuck-on food, and the smells in the interior can drive us crazy.

Although cleaning a microwave is a tedious task, it should not be. Cleaning it on a regular basis will help you maintain the appliance. Further, it helps taste your food as it should. 

You may have been doing it regularly. But are you doing it the right way?

Here are the different ways to clean a microwave without damaging it. Follow these methods, and you will no longer feel cleaning a dirty microwave is a big deal.

Let us get started with the discussion.

What Are The Different Ways to Clean Microwave?

Let us learn about the fantastic ways to clean a microwave. These super hacks will make your appliance look and smell like new. By the way, we will be using the items available at home to accomplish this task. Here are the different ways you can try:

Cleaning Method 1: Using Baking Soda

Simple Baking Soda Method

Baking soda is an awesome ingredient for cleaning. It is so versatile that it can tackle tough stains in your microwave, and also neutralize the odours from it. This cleaning method is best suitable for clearing the food splatters or spills inside. You can also use it to clear the mess caused by an egg explosion. Let us learn how to do it.

 This is all you need:

  • Bowl
  • Microwave-safe Bowl
  • Baking Soda
  • Water
  • Wet Sponge or Cloth
  • Paper Towel

Instructions:

  • Take a microwave-safe bowl and fill half of it with water.
  • Take baking soda and add about two tablespoons to the water. Mix it well.
  • Now, place this bowl in your microwave unit. Turn it on and leave it for about three to five minutes.
  • After the specified time, take out the bowl from the appliance. 
  • Take a sponge to wipe away the grime in the interior.

You may say, what about the food spills on the rotating turntable? Yes, you can clean that mess, as well. If your microwave unit does not require deep cleaning, using baking soda is a quick method to get rid of all the grime. Follow the below steps to clean the floor and rotatable of your appliance:

  • Firstly, let us try to prepare a cleaning solution.
  • Take two parts of baking soda and one part of the water in a bowl. Mix them properly to form a paste.  
  • Use this paste to apply on the parts in the interiors of the microwave containing food spills.
  • Let it sit for a couple of minutes.
  • Now, take a wet sponge or cloth to wipe off the paste inside. Remember, you do not have to turn on the microwave here.
  • You can even use a paper towel instead of a wet sponge to clean the residue.

Cleaning Method 2: Cleaning With Lemon

Cleaning with Citrus or Lemon juice

The next fantastic method to clean your dirty microwave is using a lemon. We all know the special characteristics and properties of lemon. It is a natural cleaner and deodorizer. It removes the dirt and keeps your appliance smell fresh and look sparkling clean. Let us look at the steps below.

This is all you need:

  • Lemon
  • Microwave-safe Bowl
  • Water
  • Microfiber Cloth

Instructions:

  • Firstly, take a lemon and cut it in half. 
  • Take a microwave-safe bowl and add one cup of water to it. 
  • Now, squeeze the maximum lemon juice from both halves and add it to the water. 
  • After squeezing, drop the lemon halves also into the bowl.
  • Now, place this bowl in your microwave unit. Turn it on and leave it for about five to ten minutes.
  • After the specified time, turn off the appliance. 
  • Let the bowl remain inside for another five minutes.
  • This will allow the steam to get to work inside. While the steam helps in loosening the stuck food particles, the lemon water solution helps in eliminating the odours.
  • Now, open the door and remove the bowl from the microwave. The container would be hot, so make sure you are using oven mittens to take it out.
  • Take a microfiber cloth and damp it with the lemon water solution in the bowl.
  • Use this cloth to wipe away the grime in the interior. You can also clean the exterior surface with it.
  • For cleaning the turntable, remove it from the appliance first. Wipe it with the cloth properly and then replace it in the unit.

Cleaning Method 3: Using Vinegar and Water

Vinegar with water

Let us move on to the next cleaning method. This works effectively in getting rid of the stubborn grease stains and dried food spills inside your microwave. The best thing about this method is that you can use it to clean your device after a butter explosion. Below are the steps to follow.

This is all you need:

  • Microwave-safe Bowl
  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Essential Oil
  • Wet Sponge 

Instructions:

  • Firstly, take a microwave-safe bowl.
  • Add two cups of water and two tablespoons of vinegar to it. If required, add a few drops of essential oil to it. This will keep the strong vinegar smell at bay.
  • Drop a toothpick inside the bowl. This prevents the water from boiling out of the bowl. 
  • Now, place this bowl in your microwave unit. Turn it on, choose the settings as high and leave it for about five minutes.
  • After the specified time, turn off the appliance. 
  • Let the bowl remain inside for another two to three minutes. This will allow the steam to get to work inside. While the steam helps in loosening the stuck food particles, the vinegar, and oil help in eliminating the odours.
  • Now, open the door and remove the bowl from the microwave. The container would be hot, so make sure you are using oven mittens to take it out.
  • Take a sponge to wipe away the grime in the interior. The dirt and other dried food particles will come off right away. 
  • For cleaning the turntable, remove it from the appliance first. Wipe it with the sponge properly and then replace it in the unit.

Cleaning Method 4: Vinegar and Baking Soda

baking soda with vinegar

This is yet another most effective cleaning process to do away with grease, stuck-on food, and other tough stains. You can even use this method for cleaning after there is a fire or burn inside or if you have burnt popcorn. Below is the step-by-step process for cleaning a dirty microwave using vinegar and baking soda.

This is all you need:

  • Bowl
  • Microwave-safe Bowl
  • Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Water
  • Soapy Water
  • Clean sponge or cloth
  • Dry paper towel

Instructions:

  • Firstly, take a bowl and add some lukewarm water to it.
  • Now, add four tablespoons of baking soda to the bowl.
  • Mix both properly to let the baking soda completely dissolve in the water.
  • Now, take a sponge or a clean cloth and dip it in the bowl of water solution.
  • Use this sponge to wipe off the interiors of the microwave neatly.
  • After finishing, allow the appliance to sit for a while.
  • Now, take a microwave-safe bowl and add white vinegar and water in equal proportionate. (3 portions each)
  • Place this bowl in your microwave unit. Turn it on, choose the settings as high and leave it for about three minutes.
  • After the specified time, turn off the appliance. 
  • Let the bowl remain inside for another ten minutes. This will allow the steam to get to work inside. While the steam helps in loosening the stuck food particles and gunk inside, the vinegar will help in eliminating the odours.
  • Now, open the door and remove the bowl from the microwave. The container would be hot, so make sure you are using oven mittens to take it out.
  • You will have to clean the turntable and carousel, as well. Simultaneously, remove them from the appliance.
  • Take a bowl with soapy water and soak the removed parts in it for some time.
  • Meanwhile, take a sponge and dip it in the water and vinegar solution in the bowl. Use it to wipe away the grime in the interior. The dirt and other dried food particles will come off right away. 
  • While the parts get soaked, you can finish cleaning the interiors of the microwave.
  • After cleaning, blot the interiors using dry paper towels.
  • If you still notice some gunk in the interiors, repeat the process until there is no trace of them.
  • Remove the turntable and carousel from the soapy water, wipe them with a sponge, and then with a dry paper towel. 
  • After you finish cleaning, replace the parts properly in the unit.

Cleaning Method 5: Paper Towels and Water

Cleaning a microwave with Paper Towels

This is the most common method that many of us follow. The paper towels work best in absorbing grease and other oil-based stains present in the microwave. It is a very effective method to get rid of the grease accumulated on the sides, walls, and windows of your appliance. Below are the steps to follow.

This is all you need:

  • Paper Towels
  • Water

Instructions:

  • Take some paper towels and soak them in water for a couple of seconds.
  • Place these soaked tissues inside the microwave.
  • Turn on the appliance, choose the settings as high, and leave it for about five minutes.
  • After the specified time, turn off the appliance. The steam from these soaked towels loosens the stuck food particles and grease inside. 
  • Let the paper towels stay inside until they become cool.
  • Once they cool down, use the same tissues to wipe off the interiors of the microwave neatly.

Till now, we have seen how to clean a microwave using household ingredients. Let us now see the other ways for cleaning using dishwasher soap or dishwasher liquid. 

Cleaning Method 6: Using Dishwashing Liquid

Cleaning with Dishwash or Handwash Soap

Let us look at the step-by-step cleaning process of a microwave using a dishwasher soap or liquid.

This is all you need:

  • Microwave-safe Bowl
  • Dishwashing Liquid
  • Baking Soda
  • Water
  • Clean sponge or cloth
  • Dry paper towel

Instructions:

  • Take a microwave-safe bowl and fill it with some warm water. 
  • Now add some dishwashing liquid to the bowl.
  • To deodorize the microwave, you need to add some baking soda to the soap water solution. (You can skip this step if your appliance is not smelly or stinky.) 
  • Place this bowl in your microwave unit. Turn it on, choose the settings as high and leave it for about five minutes.
  • After the specified time, turn off the appliance. 
  • Let the bowl remain inside for another five minutes. This will allow the steam to get to work inside. The steam will help in loosening the stuck food particles and gunk inside.
  • Now, open the door and remove the bowl from the microwave. The container would be hot, so make sure you are using oven mittens to take it out.
  • Take a clean damp sponge to wipe away the grime in the interior. The dirt and other dried food particles will come off right away. 
  • After cleaning, dry the interiors using dry paper towels.
  • For cleaning the turntable, remove it from the appliance first. Wipe it with the sponge properly, and then dry it with a paper towel.
  • Now, replace it in the unit.

Cleaning Method 7: Diluted Window Cleaner Solution

Window Cleaner

This is yet another method to clean your microwave. However, you can follow this way only for small stains or splash marks. It is not advisable to use this method to getting rid of dried food spills or gunk stuck inside the microwave. This is similar to the one using dishwasher soap, as mentioned above, and highly effective for removing greasy or oily marks.

This is all you need:

  • Bowl
  • Window Cleaner
  • Water
  • Clean sponge 
  • Damp paper towel or cloth
  • Dry paper towel

Instructions:

  • Take a bowl and fill it with one part of water and two parts of window cleaner. 
  • You can use this diluted solution to clean both the interior and exterior of the microwave.
  • Take a clean sponge and soak in the diluted solution for a couple of seconds. 
  • Use it to clean the interior of the appliance.
  • To clean the carousel and turntable, remove them from the appliance first. Rub the base with a sponge to remove any stains or marks on it.
  • Clean the vents properly from the inside to wipe away the debris.
  • For those stains or spots that are tough and stubborn to remove, soak them with the diluted window cleaner solution for five minutes.
  • After soaking them, you can scrub the stains easily.
  • After removing, take the sponge and wipe down the inside surfaces gently. Starting with the top, rub the walls, sides, bottom, and door of the appliance.
  • Now, take a damp clean cloth to clean the soaped areas in the interior of the microwave neatly.
  • If you still notice some splash stains in the interiors, repeat the process until there is no trace of them.
  • Now, replace the carousel and turntable in the unit.

Note: If you find it difficult to eliminate the tough spots in the appliance, you can try this. 

  • Take some olive oil in a bowl. 
  • Soak a clean cloth in the oil and use it to clean the spots.
  • After cleaning, take a clean rag to wipe it off and allow it dry.  
  • Check if you can detect the window cleaner smell inside. If no, take a clean cloth soaked in freshwater to wipe the appliance’s interior once again.

How to Clean a Self-Cleaning Microwave?

Modern microwave ovens, these days, come with a self-cleaning option. If your appliance is a self-cleaning device, then there is very little you may have to do. If you are unsure about whether your unit has this option or not, have a look at the knobs. If you notice a setting for cleaning, then your appliance is a self-cleaning device. This is the easiest way to clean a microwave oven as it requires almost nothing to do from your end. The appliance does the cleaning all by itself.

This process works by heating the oven really high and breaks the grease present inside the oven. During this self-cleaning process, the oven will smell very terrible. So, it is better not to enter the kitchen until the process is complete. After you finish cleaning, it is a better idea to open the windows and doors to clear the smell quickly. If you are not sure how to start this process, then follow the below steps.

  • Turn on the microwave oven.
  • Press the button or move the knob beside the cleaning option. This activates the cleaning process.
  • Some ovens start the cleaning process as soon as you close the door. While some ovens lock the door and start the process.
  • The cleaning process may take about six hours. Once the process is complete, the door will get unlocked automatically.
  • We recommend letting the microwave cool down for a couple of hours. This will avoid any scalding grease.
  • Once you open the door, you will notice a lot of greases and burned food scraps. You can use a paper towel or clean cloth to wipe the interiors carefully and remove them.

How to Clean a Microwave Filter?

Cleaning a microwave involves cleaning the grease or exhaust filter present in it, as well. You need to clean it regularly to ensure it works efficiently. It is advisable to clean the filters monthly once, depending on the usage of your appliance. Below are the steps to follow for cleaning the filter.

As a first thing, you need to locate the grease or exhaust filter. If you are unsure about this, refer to the user manual for the same.

  • After locating the exhaust filter, carefully remove it. You can easily remove it and do not require any tools.
  • Take a bowl and fill it with water. Now, add some liquid soap to it.
  • Soak the filter in this solution for about 10 minutes. You can allow it to remain for a longer time if there is more grease.
  • After that, use a toothbrush to scrub the filters. Make sure you do not apply more pressure when doing this to avoid any breaks.
  • Once you finish the scrubbing, rinse it under running water.
  • Let it air dry or pat dry before replacing it.
  • Do not use a microwave oven without an exhaust or grease filter.

How Often Should I Clean the Microwave?

Many of us have this question. Well, the answer is to do it weekly once to prevent the worst scenarios. You can even clean it whenever any mishap occurs, like during a butter explosion, burnt popcorn, or others. Though this may seem like overkill, cleaning regularly will prevent the tiresome scrubbing process later. If you leave the microwave oven uncleaned for a longer time, there are chances for it to become a breeding ground for germs. So, it is important to clean the microwave oven regularly – at least once a week to ensure its effective functioning.

Tips and Precautions to Take While Cleaning Your Microwave

There are certain precautions one needs to take when cleaning the microwave. Here are some cleaning hacks that will help you see the best results:

  • While cleaning the exteriors of the microwave oven, see to it that water does not get into the backside of the appliance. This will damage the unit.
  • Always unplug the microwave before cleaning the exterior with a wet cloth. Cleaning the appliance while it is plugged in could be dangerous.
  • Always turn off the appliance while cleaning the interior of the microwave.
  • Plugin the microwave only when you are placing something inside it and microwaving it.
  • If you are cleaning the microwave using any of the methods mentioned above, you may notice a terrible smell at the end of the process. In such a case, take a small bowl of water and add a teaspoon of baking soda to it. Microwave this bowl for a couple of minutes. This will deodorize any odours.
  • As a rule of thumb, wrap smelly foods before you microwave them. (like fish or eggs with shells or maybe processed meats) This will prevent any smelly occurrences or preserve the hygiene of your microwave.
  • In cases of internal splashes and food spills, do not directly go ahead and rub off the spillage. Let the interiors cool down before using any wet cloth or paper towels to clean them.

How to Eliminate The Burnt Smell and Other Odours from the Microwave?

Let us say you burnt popcorn inside the microwave. It is natural that smell will retain, and you may notice the same as soon as you turn on the appliance. Hence, it is advisable to get rid of the odours immediately after you had an explosion or burning episode. 

  • If you notice light odours like string aroma from the spicy food, you can air it out by leaving the microwave door open for a while. You can also try this hack. Place a bowl containing water and baking soda inside the microwave and run it for a few minutes to deodorize the strange smells.
  • If you smell strong odours that usually happen after an explosion or burnt episode, clean the leftover residue immediately. After cleaning, place an odour-absorbing gel inside the microwave and let it remain until you run the appliance, again.

What Are the Best Microwave Cleaning Practices to Enjoy a Clean and Fresh Appliance?

Who wouldn’t love having a microwave that looks clean and smells fresh every time! If you want to free yourself from the hassle of deep cleaning and have a clean appliance, here are some effective tips. These can come in handy in keeping the messes away and further increase the lifespan of your unit.

  • Take out the turntable and platter from the microwave weekly twice or more often to wash them. After washing them thoroughly in the sink, you can replace them in the device.  
  • Do not forget to clean the exterior of the microwave by wiping it down and also the touchpad every day.
  • When you are warming messy foods, make sure you use the low power settings to avoid food spills inside.
  • When cooking or heating food in the microwave, always cover it with a paper towel or plate. This will avoid splatters.
  • For food that bubbles over when cooking in a microwave, put a plate under the bowls containing the dishes.
  • Wipe away the food spills immediately and do not let them dry.
  • Always leave your microwave doors open between the uses to reduce moisture and odours.

Regular maintenance of the microwave together with some best practices will help prevent the odours and germ build-up inside.  

Some Frequently Asked Questions:

1. How can I clean the leftover spill particles on the glass part of the microwave door panel?

You can use a paper towel for removing the stains. Adding few drops of olive oil can also do the charm. Once the food particles are removed, you can wipe the door using soap water to remove the oil.

2. Is it ok to use oven cleaners to clean microwave?

We don’t recommend using them because the chemicals in the commercial cleaners can damage the coating present inside the microwave oven.

3. There are yellow stains present inside the microwave. How can I remove them?

Yellow stains occur due to oil accumulation or deposits. For removing them, you can place a bowl of vinegar water inside the appliance and run it for 1 to 2 minutes. The vinegar steam will soften them. Wipe them using a dishcloth. If you leave these yellow stains uncleaned for long time, then they become tough and permanent.

4. My microwave oven is emitting a weird smell. How can I get rid of bad smells from it?

For removing light odors, we recommend to air it out. Just leave the door open for couple of hours. Or else, you can place a bowl of baking soda in the oven for an hour. This will absorb smell and leave it refreshed. However, if there are strong odors like burnt food or popcorn, you have to first clean any leftover residue. Now you can place any odor absorbing items like salt, baking soda, activated charcoal or any other until you use the microwave oven again.

5. How can I clean the heating element or light present in the microwave?

Heating elements are usually present in the convection microwave ovens. You have to be very careful while cleaning them as a simple damage can affect the performance of the whole appliance. For cleaning heating elements, you can follow the steaming or lemon method provided in this article.

6. I purchased microwave oven recently. How can I clean it before using it first time?

You can place a small bowl of water. Add few drops of lemon juice into it. Close the door and turn it on for couple of minutes. Open the door and remove the bowl. Take few paper towels or a clean cloth and gently wipe off the steam. This process is enough to clean before you start using the appliance.

7. How to clean the control panel or buttons present on the microwave oven?

For cleaning the buttons or control panel, you can follow the process mentioned here. First take a bowl. Combine warm water and some mild liquid soap. Using a tooth brush (soft bristles), dip it into this solution and gently scrub it on the control panel. After cleaning them, you can wipe the area with wet cloth and again with a dry cloth. You can use the same process for cleaning the door latch of the microwave oven as well.

Conclusion:

Cleaning a microwave on a regular basis will keep the appliance performing its best and also increases its longevity. Follow any of the methods cited in this article to clean your kitchen companion. This should give you the best results and will no longer make you feel microwave cleaning is a herculean task. I am sure you are now aware of what to do and how to do to keep your microwave clean. If you have not tried these cleaning methods yet, try them and share your experiences in the comments.

Write to us in the comments section below if you find this article helpful and insightful. Let us know if you have any questions or need more information on the same. We would try our best to answer all your queries at the earliest.

Your feedback is important to us. Please feel free to let us know if we missed out on any points or if you have any inputs to add. We would love to hear and learn from you.

Stay healthy and stay safe!!!

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