How to Clean a Microwave Oven

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A microwave oven is an essential appliance in most kitchens. It allows us to quickly heat up or cook food. However, like any other kitchen appliance, microwaves get dirty over time. Food splatters, grease, and grime can build up on the interior and exterior of your microwave. If not cleaned regularly, these messes can lead to bacteria growth and unpleasant odors. Fortunately, cleaning a microwave is relatively easy. With minimal effort, you can make your microwave look and smell like new again!

In this article, we will provide tips on how to thoroughly clean both the interior and exterior of your microwave oven. We will also discuss which cleaning solutions work best and how often you should clean your microwave. Follow these simple steps, and you can enjoy sparkling microwave again!

Supplies Needed

  • Microfiber cloths or sponges
  • Mild dish soap
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Microwave-safe bowl

Before getting started, make sure you have the supplies listed above. Avoid using any abrasive scouring pads or cleaning products as they can scratch the interior surface. Now let’s look at how to clean the inside and outside.

Cleaning the Interior

The interior of a microwave oven tends to get the dirtiest. Food particles and stains often splatter on the walls and turntable. Steam and grease buildup also accumulate over time. Follow these steps to thoroughly clean the inside of your microwave:

  1. Remove the turntable, racks, and other accessories. The turntable needs cleaning just like the rest of the interior. Take it out along with any racks, bacon plates, or other microwave-safe accessories.
  2. Mix warm water and dish soap in a microwave-safe bowl. Fill a microwave-safe bowl with warm water. Add a couple drops of mild dish soap and stir to combine. The soapy solution helps loosen and remove dried-on food and grease.
  3. Soak Crusty Residues. Soak any food residue or splatters on the interior walls and door with the warm soapy water. Microwave the bowl for 2-3 minutes. The steam from the hot soapy water softens the hardened food and grease buildup.
  4. Scrub with a cloth, sponge, or brush. After soaking, open the door carefully as steam escapes. Use a microfiber cloth, sponge or a brush with non-abrasive scrubbing pads to scrub the interior. Remove the softened food particles and wipe away greasy buildup.
  5. Rinse clean. Take a clean microfiber cloth or sponge dampened with plain water. Wipe down the walls, door, and turntable to remove any soapy residue.
  6. Disinfect with vinegar. To kill germs and bacteria, you can disinfect your microwave’s interior with vinegar. Mix equal parts water and white vinegar in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave the solution for 5 minutes. Let stand in microwave for a couple minutes as it steams. Then wipe down the walls and door with a clean cloth.
  7. Dry thoroughly. It is essential to dry the inside completely before using your microwave again. Use a soft clean cloth to dry any wet areas. Run the microwave empty for 1-2 minutes on high heat to evaporate any lingering moisture.

Tip: For extra grimy buildup, make a paste of baking soda and water. Apply the paste to tough stains on the interior. Let sit for 15 minutes before scrubbing and rinsing clean. The baking soda paste helps remove stubborn baked-on food.

Cleaning the Exterior

While the interior takes more scrubbing, the exterior of your microwave also needs regular cleaning. Follow these steps:

  1. Wipe down outside surfaces. Use a microfiber cloth or soft sponge dampened with warm soapy water. Wipe down the door, handle, buttons and any stainless steel or plastic exterior surfaces.
  2. Clean glass window. Mix equal parts white vinegar and warm water in a spray bottle. Spray the microwave door’s glass window pane and wipe clean with a soft cloth. The vinegar solution removes grime and water spots from the window for a streak-free shine.
  3. Remove odors. To remove any lingering food odors, place a bowl of water mixed with lemon juice inside the microwave. Microwave for 5 minutes and wipe dry with a clean cloth. The heated lemon water moisten and refreshens the interior.
  4. Clean vents and filters. Wet a cloth or small brush in warm soapy water. Gently brush it back and forth over the ventilation openings and mesh filters to remove dust buildup. Wipe clean with a dry cloth. Ensure openings are clear of debris.
  5. Buff stainless steel. Use a stainless steel cleaner or polish on any stainless steel surfaces. Wipe down steel exterior and handles to restore shine and protect from corrosion. Avoid metal polishes with chloride; they can damage and oxidize stainless steel over time.

Tip: Place a slice of lemon on a microwave-safe plate with water. Microwave for 3 minutes to loosen grime. Then wipe interior with a soft cloth. The heated lemon steam moistens and cleans the inside.

How Often Should You Clean the Microwave?

To keep your microwave clean, follow these microwave cleaning schedule guidelines:

  • Daily: Quickly wipe spilled foods or liquids immediately after use daily. This prevents stains from setting in.
  • Weekly: Thoroughly wipe down interior and exterior surfaces weekly. Wash removable parts. This regular cleaning prevents significant buildup.
  • Monthly: Deep clean interior, exterior, vents, and filters monthly. Use steam, vinegar, baking soda to remove odors and grime.
  • Yearly: Disinfect all surfaces and crevices with diluted bleach solution annually. Carefully scrub out tougher baked-on stains yearly.

Cleaning the microwave weekly keeps it fresh. But a monthly deep clean and yearly scrub prevent extreme buildup for the long run. Adjust frequency based on your microwave’s usage and condition. Keeping it clean improves safety and lifespan!

Top Tips for Keeping a Microwave Clean

Follow these tips to help keep your microwave clean on a daily basis:

  • Cover foods when cooking. This prevents splatters. Use microwave-safe lidded containers when heating foods with sauce.
  • Ventilate after use. Leave the door open for a few minutes after cooking. This allows steam to escape and moisture to dry.
  • Use microwave liners. Cover the turntable with a disposable paper liner or splatter guard when cooking messy foods.
  • Avoid cleaning products with toxic fumes. Stick to mild dish soap, baking soda, and vinegar solutions. Harsh chemical cleaners release toxic fumes when heated.
  • Check manufacturer guidelines. Consult your microwave’s manual for any specific care and cleaning instructions.
  • Replace old sponges and towels. Bacteria and odors can transfer to your microwave if you use dirty rags to clean.

Related: Is Microwaving Vinegar Safe?

Common Microwave Cleaning Questions

Still have some questions about how to clean a microwave oven properly? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

Is it safe to use bleach when cleaning a microwave interior?

No, avoid using bleach and other harsh chemicals. They release toxic fumes when heated. Instead, disinfect with diluted vinegar or lemon juice.

Should you put metal objects in the microwave when cleaning?

Never put metal objects like steel wool or aluminum foil inside the microwave. It can damage the appliance or cause electric arcing. Use non-metallic scrubbing sponges and brushes only.

Can you put microwave parts like the turntable in the dishwasher?

Yes, you can clean removable microwave accessories like the turntable, racks, and bacon plate in the dishwasher. Use the top rack and skip the drying cycle to avoid any warping.

How do you loosen stuck-on grease and food?

Soak stuck-on messes with warm soapy water to soften before scrubbing. You can also apply baking soda or lemon juice and water to loosen tough grime and grease buildup.

How can you get rid of smells in a microwave?

Clean with diluted vinegar to kill odors. You can also microwave lemon water, vanilla extract, or popcorn to absorb odors quickly. Keep the interior dry after use to prevent lingering smells.

Keeping your microwave clean doesn’t require harsh chemicals or extensive effort. Follow these easy methods to remove grease, food residues, and odors. With regular cleaning and care, your microwave can provide safe and reliable use for years!

By Rosie Elliott

I’m Rosie. I’m a professional chef with experience in Western, Mediterranean, and Italian cuisine. I’ve been cooking for over 15 years, and I have two daughters that keep me busy!

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