DIY Microwave Cleaners


My wife and I have been without a microwave for the last year. In our previous rental, the landlord refused to replace the one that was there when it broke, and in our current rental, it didn’t come with a microwave. No worries, we’ve been using our Foodis! However, my mother-in-law recently got us a microwave, prompting me to figure out what plan we had for cleaning it, and I kicked off this article.

While microwaves are undeniably convenient, allowing you to heat your dinner in just a few minutes, you have probably experienced the dreaded explosion while heating a big bowl of spaghetti, leaving almost all of the sauce splattered everywhere. Sometimes it even cooks hard into the tops and sides, making cleaning that much more difficult.

Almost all of us have been in this situation, and we know how frustrating it can be.

Like all kitchen accessories, cleaning your microwave is essential. Lucky for you, I’ve found a few effective (and easy) ways to disinfect your microwave.

The Power Mix – Distilled White Vinegar and Lemon

There’s no question that the natural cleaning agent known as vinegar is top-rated and for a good reason. However, what you might not know about vinegar is that it also neutralizes smells and disinfects (although not according to the EPAOpens in a new tab., which makes sense as it would be hard to regulate the conditions in which one is using the vinegar). I say it is the perfect solution for a microwave. Here is a vinegar mix that I call The Power Mix, which can be used in other areas of your kitchen than just the microwave.

WARNING: DO NOT USE THIS ON STONE!

Make a Solution:

Starting with vinegar, we will also use lemon juice to help provide additional grease-cutting power while toning down the strong smell of the vinegar. Mix 2 cups of water and a quarter cup of vinegar in a microwave-safe bowl, then squeeze 1/2 to a whole lemon into the bowl.

Wipe the Exterior:

If you use the vinegar and lemon solution in a small amount on a cloth for additional disinfecting power, wipe down the area you cleaned with The Power Mix using a little alcohol to clean, and don’t forget the handle. The vinegar and lemon solution will be powerful at removing any grease marks on the microwave’s outside. Due to the high acidity of our mix, I recommend wiping it down with a wet rag that you are regularly rinsing if you don’t use the alcohol.

Heat:

Microwave the bowl for two minutes at medium power and let it cool for a few moments. The vinegar will release steam and loosen the buildup within seconds, also killing bacteria.

Remove:

After removing the bowl from the microwave, being sure not to burn your hand, use a damp cloth to wipe down the inside of the microwave.

Finally, remove the turntable from the microwave and clean under it and around it using a damp cloth.

Notes:

As mentioned above, do not use this mix on stone. Granet, stone, marble, quartz, and similar countertops, backsplashes, and other stone cookware will break down due to the high acidity content of this mix. This formula is a powerful grease cutter, but you want to be sure and wipe any bare metals that get exposed, such as cast iron or scratches in appliances, as it will cause rust.

Simple Low Ingredient – Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has a high acid content, allowing it to be effective in cutting through old buildup inside your microwave. Of course, you can substitute it with distilled white vinegar if you do not have apple cider vinegar on hand or use The Power Mix mentioned above.

WARNING: DO NOT USE THIS ON STONE!

Fill a Bowl:  

A microwave-safe bowl should be poured with equal amounts of water and apple cider vinegar, and leave some room to the top of the bowl so as not to cause any accidental spills.

Heat:

To loosen the grease and other substances that may have built up in your microwave, you need to ensure that the microwave is set to medium heat and heat the vinegar solution for two minutes.

Wipe:

The lid and turntable on the microwave need to be removed carefully if the contents of the bowl are hot. Use a damp cloth to wipe the entire interior of the microwave, including the corners, the top, and the turntable.

The Most Basic – Steam

If you don’t have vinegar or lemons, using steam to clean and sanitize your microwave is an effective and natural method you can do with little effort. To do this, follow these instructions.

Before trying this, you should check out our article: Is it Safe to Boil Water in the MicrowaveOpens in a new tab.

Fill a Bowl:

In a microwave-safe bowl, add two cups of warm water. Be sure to make sure the water is at a warmer temperature. This extra step will assist you in creating steam as quickly as possible.

Create Steam:

Place the bowl in the microwave; heat it for two to four minutes until the water steams. Once the water is boiling, close the microwave and allow the bowl to rest for a few minutes. Since we’re only using water now, we must allow it time to do its magic.

Remove and Clean:

The bowl will be scalding, so you should carefully remove it from the microwave, use a damp cloth to wipe the inside thoroughly, and remove the turntable to clean underneath it.

Easy Effective – Dish Soap

A simple and easy way to clean your microwave using dish soap is available in our homes. It’s easy to wash your microwave with dish soap, adding a fresh scent.

Fill a Bowl:

Add two cups of warm water and one tablespoon of dish soap in a microwave-safe bowl. Mix the mixture well to ensure everything is well incorporated.

Heat in Microwave:

Heat the bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute. This one doesn’t need to get as hot as the others. It just helps to warm it up and have a small amount of steam in the microwave.

Wipe to Clean:

To clean the bowl’s interior, remove the bowl from the microwave carefully, and you will need to wipe the microwave with a damp cloth. Pay close attention to the corners as well as underneath the turntable.

Fruit to the Rescue – Lemon

Lemon In addition to being practical, you can also use lemon juice to remove greasy stains inside a microwave. You can easily clean microwaves with lemon juice, and you’ll likely have everything in your kitchen.

Combine Water and Lemon: 

Into a microwave-safe bowl, pour 1 cup of warm water and squeeze the juice of 1 lemon into the bowl. Mix into the water.

Heat:

I suggest you put the bowl in the microwave and put it on high for 2 minutes. A little different from our other methods, we will leave the bowl in the closed microwave for 5 minutes, giving the mixture more time to loosen the food particles.

Clean:

Carefully remove the bowl from your microwave and wipe the inside thoroughly with a damp cloth. You can also remove the turntable from the microwave and thoroughly clean it.

The Deodorizer – Baking Soda

It’s time to deodorize your microwave. If you notice an unpleasant smell coming from your microwave, I’ve got a trick for you. How does one do this? I recommend using baking soda because it absorbs odors quickly and creates a neutral environment.

Create a Mixture:

You will need to place three tablespoons of baking soda in the bowl with a cup of water and mix them well until the baking soda dissolves.

Turn Up the Heat:

The baking soda bowl should be placed in the microwave for three minutes and heated until it begins to dissolve in the water. As the baking soda dissolves in the water, it will effectively loosen the buildup in the microwave, removing splatters while performing our primary goal of deodorizing the microwave.

Wipe Clean:

Remove the bowl from the microwave, and be careful not to burn yourself. (Optional: Save the warmed solution for other cleaning tasks.) Carefully wipe down the inside of the microwave with a damp cloth. It would be best if you also took the opportunity to clean underneath the turntable and the leveling feet.

*Every microwave is different. I recommend testing your microwave until you find an optimal power setting and time for each cleaning solution.

Spencer Heckathorn

Spencer loves to learn and try new things. He has been sharing his trials, successes, and failures, online since the early 2000s.

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