Raise your hand if you have ever heated up a plate of spaghetti in the microwave only to find the walls and ceiling splattered with sauce. Not to worry, here’s how to clean a microwave, in mere minutes, using vinegar and water.
Microwaves have got to be one of the best inventions. My parents have a picture of me stirring hot chocolate on the stove top when I was young; now, a minute in the microwave is all you need. The not-so-great thing about microwaves is they get dirty. Bags of popcorn leave a little buttery goodness behind and spaghetti sauce explodes everywhere. Not to worry because I have the best way to clean a microwave, inside and out; and it’s so easy.
What You Need to Clean A Microwave
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Ingredients Needed to Clean A Microwave
Supplies Needed to Clean A Microwave
- Microwave-Safe Glass Liquid Measuring Cup
- Cleaning Cloth or Sponge
- Stainless Steel Cleaning Cloth– for those with a stainless steel microwave
How to Clean A Microwave Naturally
Let’s start with the “before shot” of my microwave.
Lots of stuck on food and splatters. Yuck.
The Easiest Way to Deep Clean the Inside of A Microwave
Using a microwave-safe glass liquid measuring cup, add 1/2 cup vinegar and 1 1/2 cups water. I typically use a two-cup measuring cup, but the contents tend to overflow, so you can always go with a larger measuring cup to (potentially) avoid this.
For good measure, I add a toothpick to the mixture to prevent the water from exploding when I open the microwave.
I remember seeing a news show about water literally exploding when it had been heated too long in the microwave. I don’t want this to happen, so I always put a toothpick in the water. I am not a scientist, so I cannot guarantee this works, but apparently by putting a toothpick in the water, it will agitate the water to prevent any explosion from happening. I do it, and the water has never exploded.
Place your measuring cup (with the vinegar, water, and toothpick) into the microwave and heat on high for 5 minutes.
Once the timer goes off, keep the door closed for an additional 5 minutes to allow the steam to really work. Open the microwave and carefully remove the liquid measuring cup. This will be hot, so use an oven mitt.
The next step is to remove the turntable, if your microwave has one. Allow the turntable to cool until you can easily handle it. Please note that some of the water and vinegar mixture may have boiled onto the turntable, so use caution as you remove it. It may be hot… and wet. Carefully wash the turntable with dish soap and warm water and thoroughly dry it.
Prior to returning the turntable, wipe down the inside of the microwave with a damp cloth or sponge. Everything should wipe off easily as the steam should have loosened any grime and splatters from the walls and ceiling.
Once the inside is clean, return the turntable to its place.
How to Clean the Outside of a Microwave
For the outside of the microwave, use an All-Purpose Spray and wipe it down with a cleaning cloth. If your microwave is stainless steel, use a stainless steel cleaning cloth. Simply add water to the cloth, wipe, and dry with a lint-free cloth (I always use a flour sack dish towel).
You can check out this post on cleaning stainless steel appliances for more information if you’d like.
That’s it… you’re done cleaning the microwave!
Check out those results!
Common Questions About Cleaning A Microwave
How often Should I Clean My Microwave?
How often you clean your microwave really depends on how often you use it; as well as how dirty it gets. If you are looking for the “right answer”, you’ll find most suggest cleaning your microwave once a week. If you want my honest answer… I clean mine about once a month. Obviously, if something explodes or you see a lot of visible splatters, it’s a good idea to clean it sooner rather than later.
Can I Use Lemons to Clean A Microwave?
I have been meaning to try this trick, but never seem to have lemons on hand when I go to clean the microwave. Lemons are acidic, just like the vinegar, so it would make sense that you could use them either as an addition to the vinegar, or in its place. And let’s be honest, lemons smell a whole lot better than vinegar. Since I’ve never tried cleaning a microwave with lemon, I’ll refer you to this tutorial on using lemon to clean the microwave (via The Kitchn). If I ever have a lemon sitting around, I’m definitely going to try this method and I’ll report back.
Can I Use Disinfecting Wipes to Clean My Microwave?
While disinfecting wipes may seem like a good way to disinfect your microwave, I wouldn’t recommend it. Disinfecting wipes can contain chemicals that are not meant to come in contact with surfaces that touch food unless they are thoroughly rinsed with potable water; and many are not intended to be used on glass (which most turntables are made of). If you want a safe way to disinfect your microwave, I would suggest Force of Nature Cleaner. It is made with salt, water, and vinegar, yet is powerful enough to be registered as a hospital-grade disinfectant. I have a whole review of Force of Nature Cleaner (plus a coupon code) if you want to learn more.
How to Clean A Microwave Easily and Naturally
- ½ Cup Vinegar
- 1 ½ Cups Water
- Dish Soap
- Liquid Measuring Cup Microwave Safe
- Cleaning Cloth or Sponge
- Stainless Steel Cleaning Cloth If cleaning the outside of a stainless steel microwave
- Add vinegar and water to a liquid measuring cup
- Drop a toothpick in to potentially avoid the water exploding (see post for details)
- Put the liquid measuring cup, with its contents, into the microwave and heat (on high) for 5 minutes
- Keep the door to the microwave closed for an additional 5 minutes to allow the steam to loosen any stuck-on splatters
- When the time is up, remove the liquid measuring cup from the microwave. Use caution (and an oven mitt) as it may be hot
- When the turntable has cooled to the touch, remove it and wash with dish soap and warm water; then dry. Use caution when removing the turntable as some of the water/vinegar mixture may have boiled over onto the turntable
- Before returning the turntable to the microwave, use a cleaning cloth or sponge to wipe down the inside of the microwave.
- Once clean, return the turntable and wash down the outside with an all-purpose spray. If you have a stainless steel microwave, I recommend using a stainless steel cleaning cloth.