Cleaning a microwave oven is a necessary task best done as soon as the appliance gets dirty. Food splatters, stains or lingering odors in your microwave can impact its performance and affect the taste of the foods and drinks you’re heating.
A damp cloth can take care of a recent spill, but sometimes, other methods are needed to remove stains inside the microwave, especially since food buildup and spillover debris can lengthen cooking times and may even damage the oven. This guide will explain how to clean a microwave in just a few minutes using common household supplies.
Clear Removable Parts
Remove the glass tray and turntable support ring. Wash these parts separately by hand with a sponge and dish soap. Typically, these removable parts are also dishwasher safe.
Next, spray the microwave interior thoroughly with an appliance cleaner. You can also use dishsoap or an all natural cleanser like a mixture of baking soda and lemon or vinegar. Sometimes hot water and the rough side of the sponge can do the trick all by itself.
Tip: Use caution with hot water. Make sure it's not too hot to avoid injury.
Heat Up the Microwave
This will help remove any built-up grime and stains. Heating up the microwave performs double duty by disinfecting it as well.
Wipe Away Residue
After you have run the microwave, use a soft cloth or a sponge to wipe away the cleanser and remaining residue. Make sure to get into all the crevices where food and debris can build up.
Wash and Replace Removable Parts
Make sure that you get a great lather with whatever cleaning solution you choose to use. Submerse the removable parts in the water after cleaning them well. Dry the parts off thoroughly with a paper towel or dry microfiber cloth. Afterward, return them to their proper place in the microwave.
Clean the Exterior
Use an all purpose cleaner to clean the exterior. Prevent too much cleaner from entering the microwave oven’s vents by spraying cleaner onto the cloth rather than spraying directly onto the microwave's surface.
If your microwave oven cabinet is made from stainless steel, use a cleaner specifically formulated for stainless steel surfaces. Spray the cleaner onto a cloth and rub gently in the direction of the grain.
Tip: You can also use an ammonia-free glass cleaner or diluted dish soap and a sponge for cleaning the microwave oven cabinet and exterior.
Natural Cleaning Solutions
If you do not have an appliance cleaner or prefer home remedies, use the following methods:
You can use distilled white vinegar to give your microwave interior a steam cleaning.
- Dilute a cup of vinegar with a cup of water in a microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup. Optional: Add a few drops of essential oils or lemon juice to the vinegar mixture to weaken the vinegar odor.
- Place the container inside of the microwave, then turn it on for approximately five minutes or until boiling and the interior is filled with steam.
- Keep the door closed for a few extra minutes after the timer goes off to give the steam time to penetrate the dried-on messes.
- Use a cloth towel or oven mitt to remove the bowl from the microwave.
- Remove the glass tray and turntable support ring as well in order to wash these parts separately.
- Wear rubber gloves and wipe down the interior with a clean towel or sponge dampened with the vinegar solution.
- Rinse the cloth and repeat as needed.
- For stubborn spots, use the soft scouring pad side of a sponge. Do not use steel or stiff plastic scrubbing pads.
- Let everything fully air-dry before reassembling and closing the microwave door.
Alternatively, you can learn how to clean a microwave with lemon. The citric acid in lemon juice combined with steam can help loosen caked-on splatters inside your appliance.
- Leave the glass tray and turntable support ring inside the microwave.
- Cut a lemon in half and squeeze the juice into a microwave-safe bowl.
- Place both lemon halves into the bowl and add a half-cup of water.
- Heat on high power for approximately two minutes or until the mixture boils and the inside is steamy.
- Keep the door closed for several minutes after the timer goes off to allow the steam to loosen any dried splatters.
- Open the door and carefully remove the hot bowl with a cloth towel or oven mitt.
- Wipe down the interior with a cleaning cloth, paper towel or sponge.
- Dip the corner of a cloth into the lemon solution and scrub any difficult areas with the soft scouring pad side of a sponge.
Tip: Occasionally wiping out the microwave interior with a solution of baking soda and water keeps the inside of the microwave fresh and can extend the time between thorough cleanings.
Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for how to clean a microwave before trying any microwave cleaning hack. The Home Depot offers various cloths and cleaners to make cleaning your microwave a breeze. Find everything you need for a tidy microwave using The Home Depot Mobile App.