How to Clean a Microwave

Lunch splatters dirtying the inside of your microwave? No worries. Here's how to avoid heavy scrubbing and easily clean a microwave with just vinegar and other natural ingredients.

Bust those hard-to-remove splatters and stains with our tips for cleaning a microwave.

Natural Microwave Cleaners

We've all been there. A debris field forms inside your microwave after oatmeal erupts or the sauce spatters. The exploded bits linger through a few cycles, and soon the dregs become rock hard. (Who has time to wipe down the interior after every use?) So how do you say hasta la vista to cooked-on carnage? Clean your microwave with vinegar and steam, and you'll need just a few minutes and a couple quick swipes with a cloth. Easy peasy!

How to Clean a Microwave

Grab a microwave-safe bowl and fill it halfway with water. Add a few tablespoons of vinegar (white or apple cider vinegar will do), and place the bowl in the microwave.

Using high power, heat the vinegar and water for up to four minutes until boiling. The amount of time to heat the water depends on the power of your microwave. Here's a handy list:

1,200 watts = 1 1/2 minutes

1,000 watts = 2 minutes

800 watts = 2 1/2 minutes

700 watts = 3 minutes

600 watts = 4 minutes

Although the risk of "exploding" super-heated water is minimal, some experts recommend placing a wooden skewer or wooden spoon in the water for bubbles to form around, providing a release for built-up air.

Turn off the power and leave the door closed for several minutes, allowing the steam to soften the debris.

Open the door and use oven mitts or pot holders to carefully remove the bowl of water. Remove the turntable as well. Use a damp cloth to quickly wipe the food debris out of the microwave. Wipe down the turntable. Dry all surfaces with a clean cloth and return the turntable to the microwave.

Use a Lemon

As a fresh-smelling alternative, squeeze the juice of a lemon into a bowl half-filled with water. Drop the lemon rind into the water as well. Or float slices of lemon in the bowl, squeezing some juice into the water. Follow the same steps above, generating steam and wiping down the surface.

Microwave the bowl on 'high' for three minutes. Wipe down the surfaces with a sponge. And there you have it; a microwave that looks as good as the day you got it!

Learn More Ways to Clean with Lemon

More Cleaning Tips and Tricks

Spend less time cleaning with these speedy tips from home cleaning expert Donna Smallin Kuper.


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