How to Clean A Microwave Properly Using the Most Common Ingredients

Buying appliances is always fun and exciting because purchasing something new just works that way. But then another common way of living is neglecting to clean those appliances, gadgets, and products on a regular basis as time goes by. Even though that’s just normal human behavior, it’s not so much in the best interest of your investment.

In this post, the focus is on how to clean a microwave properly. Because all it takes is a plate of leftovers or burnt popcorn to turn a sparkly interior into a smelly, grimy mess. And when that happens, cleaning becomes less of an option and more of an obligation. Neglecting regular maintenance depreciates the value and functionality of the unit, no doubt about that.

And, at the same time, you can’t even clean it in a haphazard manner using just about any no-good solution. Particularly if you want your expensive appliance to not get damaged, even if it’s one of these space-saving built-in microwave ovens for a small kitchen.

So Why Clean Your Microwave?

There’s no denying that not cleaning even a slightly dirty microwave is disgusting considering that you use the appliance almost every single day. And multiple times a day that too, which means microwaves are more likely to not be clean. Splattered gravy, liquid stains, crumbs of food, and whatnot are currently just chilling in 9 out 10 adults’ microwaves worldwide.

But then what’s the problem if your microwave is a little dirty? What’s the big deal, right? Well, the big deal is that all those stains and crumbs are potential contaminants just waiting to seep into your next meal to make you sick.

These are microorganisms that thrive in unclean microwave settings. And bear in mind that germs use moisture, food, and warmth to multiply. So that’s a huge health risk you’re dealing with simply by not cleaning your microwave. This means if your new, fresh food isn’t covered during microwaving, then germs in the form of remaining particles contaminate the food.

Even a dirty internal top, and not just the sides and turntable, leads to cross-contamination.

When Do You Need to Clean Your Microwave?

How often should you clean your microwave? Once every week seems the most advisable if you use the appliance every single day. Infrequent use, however, requires a thorough cleaning once every 3-4 weeks.

Thorough cleaning is specifically mentioned because you want to clean the microwave not just to make it shine but also to prevent the build-up of strong smells and bacteria.

And it goes without saying that if your microwave looks dirty and has just too many spots, stains, and smells, then clean it as and when required.

How to Clean A Microwave - 6 Simple Microwave Cleaning Hacks

1. With Lemon Juice

Squeeze one whole lemon into a cup of water. And then drop the squeezed lemon halves into the cup as well. But then make sure that this cup or bowl is microwave-friendly. Place it in the microwave and heat it for 5-10 minutes or till it gets steamy inside. Then wipe the interior, including the turntable, sides, and top using a clean cloth.

Lemon, no doubt, is an organic, natural cleaner that gets the job done in the most thorough and effortless manner.

2. With Vinegar

Microwave for 5 minutes a bowl or cup filled halfway with water and a tablespoon of white vinegar. The goal here is to steam up the inside of your microwave, so that the steam solution loosens all the dried-up, stubborn gunk.

Then wipe down the sides, top, and turntable with the help of paper towels or a clean rag. Obviously, you can wash the removable turntable separately either manually or in your dishwasher.

3. With Baking Soda

Baking soda works the best when you want to get rid of food and liquid spills from the turntable or floor of the microwave. Use one-part water and two-part baking soda for the cleaning job. Apply the solution to the specific messy spots and allow it to just sit on that hardened mess for at least 5 minutes. Then wipe it clean using a wet cloth or sponge.

You can even combine baking soda and vinegar. Here’s the video demonstration…

4. With Dish Soap or Detergent

Add a little bit of your detergent or dishwashing soap into a microwave-safe bowl filled with water. Heat the solution for 1-2 minutes or until steam starts to form. Then, using a damp cloth or sponge, wipe the inside of the appliance clean with the prepared, heated solution.

The steam will have loosened the dried-up dirt, spots, and stains. So wiping it clean becomes much easier.

5. With An Orange

Wait, what? Cleaning the microwave using an orange, are you reading that right? If you can use lemons, then why not oranges? After all, both are loaded with antiseptic and antibacterial properties since they come from the same citrus family.

So throw in some orange peels into a bowl of water and heat that up in your microwave for 1 minute. The steam from the heating process slightly frees up the dirt inside the unit, which makes way for quick, easy cleaning using paper towels or a clean rag with the liquid solution.

6. With Window Cleaner

Use 1-part water and 2-part window cleaner for this particular cleaning method. The diluted window cleaner solution here cleans the microwave very thoroughly from both the inside and outside. Just soak the sponge into the mixture and then wipe the walls and ceiling of your microwave with it.

A less common approach indeed, but window cleaner solutions help in eliminating the toughest of spots and stains. And to make the process even easier, first soak the dirt with the cleaner for 5 minutes before you scrub.

After that, don’t forget to use a clean cloth or rag soaked in clean water to wipe down the  interior of the microwave. You can repeat this twice just to make sure you get rid of the chemicals that are often a part of window cleaning solutions.


So now you have 6 different methods for cleaning your dirty and maybe even smelly microwave. Just pick any one method based on what ingredients you have at your disposal. This could be a lemon, window cleaner, white vinegar, baking soda, dish soap, or even an orange.

The base instructions are pretty much the same, just the cleaning solution is different. So no more neglecting regular maintenance of your precious, daily-use microwave. Otherwise, you’re only just inviting trouble in the form of health risks due to cross-contamination.

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