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How to clean a microwave oven

Learn how to clean your microwave, from how to clean burnt microwave stains to sorting smelly microwaves! Cleaning inside a microwave is easier than you might at first think.


By Cleanipedia Team

A sparkling microwave which you'll have achieved when you learn how to clean a microwave oven

Key Steps:

Don’t be a lemon, use a lemon! Citrus fruit is an easy and natural fresh-smelling solution for when you need to know how to clean a smelly microwave!

  1. Fill a bowl with water halfway.
  2. Cut a lemon in half. Then squeeze the lemon juice into the water and drop the halves into the bowl.
  3. Put the bowl in the microwave and heat for 3-5 minutes, or until boiling. Keep an eye on the microwave during this process.
  4. Leave to stand for 5 minutes. Keep the microwave door shut, as the steam inside will help to loosen food particles.
  5. Carefully remove the bowl and use a warm, damp sponge or cloth to wipe the insides of the microwave ­– don’t forget the door! Any food stains should now wipe off easily.

We all know how important it is to keep a high standard of hygiene around food. While cleaning a microwave oven can seem like a chore, it’s something that should be done on a regular basis to keep appliances energy-efficient and germ-free. Keeping on top of a clean microwave helps avoid a tricky deep clean of the microwave – nobody has time for that!

Closing the door and forgetting about the stains is all too easy with a microwave (out of sight, out of mind and all that!) but burnt-on food can cause electrical sparking and affect the microwave’s performance. So if you've been wondering, how do I clean a microwave in a safe and thorough fashion – check out these easy clean microwave tips to learn how to clean a microwave oven and keep it in tip top condition.

To remove grease and grime from the outside of your microwave, use a multipurpose cleaner like Cif – it lifts dirt without the need for scrubbing. You won't need to set about buying special microwave cleaning products when you have this all-in-one!

How concerned are you about disinfecting while cleaning?

What is the Best Way to Clean a Microwave? The Traditional Way

When it comes to cleaning your microwave, it’s a good idea to check what the manual says before attempting any of the methods below. So, how do you clean a microwave? Most manufacturers recommend a method similar to the following steps:

  • Prevent splatter by loosely covering food with microwavable plastic film or other items like a lid or paper towel when using the microwave.
  • Avoid food explosions by ensuring covered containers allow steam to escape, and are made of microwavable materials. The burnt popcorn in microwave stain can be amongst the worst to remove, as well as the worst smelling! To avoid, turn down the power of the microwave, and listen out for the corn 'pops' to slow down – this normally indicates that the popcorn is ready.
  • Never put metal, wood, or certain plastics into a microwave.
  • Clean up any spills straight away. Cleaning the inside of the microwave oven with vinegar water will help remove the infamous burnt popcorn in microwave stain.
  • Clean regularly with water, an anti-bacterial spray, and a soft, non-abrasive cloth. Check labels to choose a product that’s suitable for cleaning a microwave, and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions to get the best results and avoid damaging your appliance.
  • Consult the manual for specific care instructions.

How to clean a burnt microwave 

  • To clean inside of a microwave, make sure it's turned off from the mains. If you're wondering what to clean a microwave oven with: use a solution of warm water and washing-up liquid, as well as a gentle scourer that's safe enough to use on non-stick pans. This should remove the worst of the stain.
  • To achieve a clean microwave if the stains are particularly burnt on, it's a good idea to boil a microwave-safe bowl filled with 1 cup water and two to three tablespoons of baking soda. Check out this article for more genius uses for baking soda!
  • The steam and condensation from the bowl will help break-up particularly tough stains. Have a look in the next section for more steam cleaning ideas!
  • If you need to clean a smelly microwave, and the burnt-on odour is the main concern, try boiling two halves of a lemon in the water, instead of baking soda. This is a good alternative to cleaning the inside of your microwave oven with vinegar. Although, vinegar is an equally good option – a natural solution which also helps deodorise.
  • When it comes to knowing how to clean microwave stains, these home remedies for cleaning microwaves have got you covered as natural and environmentally-friendly go-to solutions (especially for when you need to clean a burnt microwave!). 

What is the Best Way to Clean a Microwave? A Guide to Easy Methods

Steam cleaning your microwave comes in three easy ways. Each ‘cooks’ a different item coated in or containing water for a specific length of time to produce steam, which helps shift those stubborn stains. Make sure you watch the process closely when doing this, as continuing to heat your cloth or bowl once the water has evaporated can be unsafe.

1) A paper towel

  • Soak a folded paper towel in water.
  • Place it on the glass turntable.
  • Microwave on ‘high’ for 60 seconds until steam is produced. Pay attention to this process – don’t get distracted and walk away from the microwave!
  • Leave for 5-10 minutes to cool.
  • Use the paper towel to wipe down the inside of the microwave.

2) A cotton dishcloth

  • Soak the cloth in water and place it on the glass turntable
  • Soak the cloth in water and place it on the glass turntable
  • Microwave on ‘high’ for 3 to 4 minutes
  • Pay attention to this process – don’t wander off and start doing something else!
  • Wait for 5 to 10 minutes for the dishcloth to cool down and be careful when removing it from the inside of the machine.
  • Use the dishcloth to wipe down the inside of the microwave.

3) A cup or bowl of water

  • Fill a small microwavable cup or dish halfway with water.
  • Place it in the centre of the glass turntable.
  • Microwave on ‘high’ until the water reaches a rolling boil (2 to 3 minutes on most machines).
  • Pay attention to this process – again, keep your eyes on the microwave!
  • Wait for 5 to 10 minutes while the water cools down.
  • Carefully remove the cup or bowl from the machine and use a cloth or paper towel to wipe down the interior.

With a range of methods and microwave cleaning tips available, you’ll be sure to find one that works for you. Give yourself a pat on the back, that is one exceptionally clean microwave oven you’ve got there. For more tips on how to clean small kitchen appliances, have a look here.

Originally published