When it comes to kitchen convenience, few appliances come close to the microwave. You can use it to whip up anything from meals to cake in mere minutes, and it’s also great for reheating leftovers. However, it can take just one small mishap to leave your microwave looking like two toddlers had a food fight in it. The good news is that cleaning doesn’t have to be difficult. You can clean your microwave without resorting to harsh chemicals that harm the environment – and your health. Here are some easy and natural cleaning hacks that will leave your microwave sparkling.
Published on May 10, 2019. Updated August 23, 2022.
Wipe Out The Crumbs
Much like with an oven, not wiping out your microwave after each use is one of the most common ways you’re destroying your appliances. Make wiping up crumbs and other loose bits of food a regular habit, using a clean, damp cloth – because that old, dirty kitchen sponge is a paradise for bacteria.
Use Paper Towels
Paper towels are for more than just wiping away dirt. Put a handful of soaking wet paper towels directly in the microwave. Heat them on high for up to five minutes so that they form a steam that will help loosen the grime. Once they’ve cooled down, you can use them for wiping away excess dirt.
Use Vinegar for the Interior
Mix a cup of water with 1/3 to 1/2 cup of vinegar in a microwavable bowl. Put it in the microwave and heat it for about four minutes. The steam will loosen the grime so you can simply wipe it off afterward.
Use Citrus for the Interior
Fill 3/4 of a microwavable bowl with water and add some fresh lemon or orange slices. Squeeze some of the juice into the water, too. Microwave on high for about five minutes, then leave the bowl inside for a few minutes to let the steam do its work. Finally, wipe down the interior with a clean cloth.
Use Vinegar or Lemon Juice and Water to Clean Tough Spots
Sometimes simply steaming and wiping down your microwave isn’t enough. However, that doesn’t mean you need to resort to harsh chemicals. Some commercial cleaning products are one of the ways your house could be making you sick. Instead, once you’ve steamed your microwave using a combination of water or vinegar with lemon or orange, dip your cleaning rag into the hot water and apply a little elbow grease to the tough spots.
Use Dish Soap and Baking Soda for the Interior
For a particularly dirty microwave, you might need a cleaner that packs a little more punch. Or sometimes you just don’t have any vinegar or lemon on hand help you along. Instead, mix water and an ample amount of natural dish soap in a bowl. Toss in some baking soda, which has deodorizing properties. Microwave the mixture on high for a minute or so, until it begins to steam. Then dampen a cleaning rag or sponge with the mixture and wipe away the dirt.
Use an Old Toothbrush for Scrubbing
A cleaning rag is great for large surface areas but it can’t get into those little nooks and crannies. To clean the corners, vents and other hard-to-reach parts of your microwave, use an old toothbrush. It’s small enough to reach those difficult spots and soft enough to scrub without damaging the surface
Use Baking Soda for the Rubber Gaskets
There are many surprising uses for baking soda. One of them is that it’s one of the most efficient and cheapest natural cleaning products you can find. For your microwave’s rubber gaskets, dampen a clean kitchen sponge with water and then dip it in baking soda. Use this to wipe away that gross build-up of dirt and grime.
Hand-Wash The Rotating Plate
The best way to clean the rotating plate is to remove it and hand-wash it. Use a natural dish soap for this. You can also use vinegar and baking soda for stubborn spots. If you don’t have the time or energy for hand-washing, simply run the rotating plate through the dishwasher.
Use Vinegar and Water For The Window
There’s no point in cleaning the interior of your microwave if you leave the window covered in grease. A mixture of half vinegar and half water is a simple, natural grease-cutter. Spray it onto the door and wipe it down. You can also dip your sponge into the mixture before you start wiping.
Use Hydrogen Peroxide for the Exterior
Once you’ve cleaned the inside of your microwave, you need to remember the exterior. The control panel, for instance, can be rife with bacteria. One of the great uses for hydrogen peroxide is that it’s a disinfectant cleaner, so use it to wipe down the exterior of your microwave. Don’t spray it directly onto the oven, though, since it can seep into the vents.
Use a Lemon for the Exterior
Another easy and natural way to clean the exterior of your microwave is to use a lemon. Simply slice a lemon in half, then use the pieces to rub down the outside of your microwave. Be careful not to let the juice get into the vents, though. Afterwards, you can use a damp, clean cloth for a final wipe-off.
Prevention is Better than a Cure
The quickest way to clean your microwave is not to let it get dirty in the first place. If your food is prone to splatter, heat it at a lower setting. Also cover all food that you heat in your microwave, even if it’s just by putting a paper towel on top of it. This will help prevent splatter.