If your microwave has remnants from last night's (and last week's) meals, we feel you. And heaven forbid you let it sit for too long; that sticky stuff will attach itself for good. We've all been there!
While there isn't a hard rule on how to clean the inside of a microwave, it's wise to give it a wipe down once a week — or when there are a lot of splatters (we're looking at you, spaghetti sauce). But you don't have to scrub until you work up a sweat.
To help us (and you!) figure out the best ways to clean a microwave, we spoke to cleaning experts Leslie Reichert and Jessica Ek from The Cleaning Institute. Good news — you don't need a lot of cleaning products to get the job done!
What is the easiest way to clean a microwave?
"Clean spills as they happen to avoid getting them baked on, which is harder to remove," Ek explains. "If you catch it quickly, you may just need to wipe it away with a paper towel or cloth."
Even though it may not be ideal, your future self will thank you for catching those spills and splatters when they happen instead of pretending you don't see them and quickly closing the microwave door.
How do you clean a microwave filter?
Yes, your microwave has a filter, which means you should be cleaning it from time to time. "Always follow manufacturer instructions to clean the filter," says Ek, as this is the safest route to not damaging the filter. However, "this can also usually be done with warm or hot water and a little dish soap. Let the filter soak, and then carefully scrub. Let dry before placing it back in the microwave."
How do you clean the outside of a microwave?
Clean both the inside and the outside of your microwave, Ek advises. This includes wiping down the door handle and buttons. You can use your lemon juice or vinegar mixture, or a little dish soap and water.
Don't forget about the turntable! "For the turntable, you can remove it and wash it in the sink with soapy water, or even just stick it in the dishwasher if it’s dishwasher-safe," says Ek. "Just make sure the turntable is cool before washing and dry it before returning it to the microwave."
How to clean a microwave with vinegar
In just two easy steps, you can use vinegar (a household cleaning essential!) to get your microwave sparkling clean. Here are the instructions from Reichert.
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1/2 cup of white vinegar
- A microwave-safe bowl
- Damp sponge or microfiber cloth
- Place the water and vinegar in a bowl and microwave on high until the mixture comes to a rolling boil and the window steams up.
- Allow the microwave to cool for a few minutes, then wipe the interior down with the sponge or cloth.
How to clean a microwave with lemon juice
To clean your microwave naturally with lemon juice, follow these simple steps.
- 1 lemon
- A rag or clean cloth
- A microwave-safe bowl
- Around 1/2 cup of water
- Squeeze all the lemon juice from your lemon into the bowl and combine with the 1/2 of water.
- "Heat the mixture for a few minutes and then let it sit [in the microwave] before wiping it down," says Ek. "The steam can help dislodge stuck-on grime." Bonus: Your microwave will smell lemony fresh now!
How to clean a microwave with baking soda
Cleaning a microwave with baking soda is similar to cleaning it with vinegar or lemon.
- Add a few tablespoons of baking soda to a bowl of warm water. (The measurements don't need to be exact here, according to Arm & Hammer.)
- Mix until baking soda dissolves.
- Place in microwave and run for around three to five minutes, or until the microwave fills with steam.
- Let the mixture sit in the closed microwave so the steam penetrates the grime.
- Wipe clean!
You can also just sprinkle baking soda inside your microwave (removing the turntable first) and use a bowl of warm water to scrub the baking soda and then wipe it clean.
Microwave cleaning products to shop
Not only is white vinegar great for cleaning your microwave, but it's also a versatile pantry staple to clean in the kitchen and bathrooms!
"I never learned how useful vinegar was in the household until just a few years ago. Now I've learned to utilize it not just for cooking but also cleaning," one verified Walmart shopper mentioned about its multipurpose appeal.
These Pyrex mixing bowls with 22,000+ verified five-star Amazon ratings are a great price and perfect for all kinds of baking and cooking projects.
You can never have too many kitchen sponges — and chances are it's been a long time since you've last replaced them.
The same goes for microfiber cloths. These are much more eco-friendly than paper towels since they can just be tossed in the wash and reused!
"I usually wait til things are obviously in need of a go over, but since getting these cloths I actually look for things to wet and wipe," one verified Amazon shopper added. "[I] just did the inside of my microwave (zapped a little dish of water and lemon juice for a few minutes) then wiped out with the microfiber cloths. I was having so much fun, I did the outside of my fridge, as well."