Nothing in the house symbolizes the importance of modern conveniences more than the microwave oven. Though arguably the worst way to cook food, microwaves are a mealtime miracle when a hectic schedule tries to get in the way. It’s rarely our go-to option but still as much a kitchen staple as the fridge and oven in over 90% of American households.

The unfortunate part is that the convenience ends with cooking. Cleaning a microwave after reheated tomato sauce splatters the interior is awkward, frustrating, and often the last chore anyone wants to tackle. But with the potential for foul smells, bacteria, and mold to fill the space, it’s also not one to put off.

It’s time to make the microwave cleanup as efficient as the appliance itself. Learn how to confidently clean microwave messes as we walk you through these super-simple tips, tricks, and techniques!

Quick Wipe-Down for Easier Microwave Cleaning

A recent spill or light layers of grime will loosen with water and dishwashing liquid and clear away without a full-blown deep cleaning. 

Need to deep clean a microwave that a simple wipe-down just won’t do? Skip ahead to How to Deep Clean a Microwave Oven to learn how to handle a really dirty microwave.

Here’s how you can clean your microwave in five minutes or less:

  1. Mix warm water with a few drops of dish soap in a bowl to create some suds
  2. Saturate a kitchen sponge in the sudsy water, and squeeze out the excess
  3. Remove the turntable, rotating ring, and coupler
  4. Wipe down the microwave’s interior with the damp sponge
  5. Remove leftover soap residue by wiping the interior again with a damp cloth or the same sponge after wringing out the soap
  6. Wash the microwave turntable in the sink before returning it to the microwave

Assess the condition of the microwave, and if there are still stubborn bits of food debris to clear away, use the following tips to deep clean your microwave.

Equipment for Deep Cleaning a Microwave Oven

Assemble your microwave cleaning equipment, most of which should be within reach when you’re by the appliance. With regular cleaning, there’s no need for harsh chemical cleaning products or special gadgets (except maybe the Angry Mama Microwave Oven Steam Cleaner). Basic household tools to deep clean a microwave interior include:

  • Microwave-safe bowl
  • Distilled white vinegar or lemon juice
  • Oven mitts
  • Cleaning brush with long, stiff bristles
  • Paper towels or clean cloth

Always check your manufacturer’s maintenance instructions to prevent damage and ensure a thorough cleaning. Over-the-range microwaves have extra grease and charcoal filters to clean or replace to keep the fan effective and the kitchen odor-free.

How to Deep Clean a Microwave Oven

For a clean microwave, you can use one process with different materials. Whether you choose a  vinegar or lemon juice solution, follow these cleaning steps:

  1. Add your cleaning solution (see below) to a microwave-safe bowl
  2. Place the bowl uncovered in the middle of the microwave, and heat on high power for 4–5 minutes so that it gets steamy
  3. Wait 5–10 minutes after the bowl is finished heating before cleaning to give the hot steam time to work and cool before opening the microwave door (take this time to wipe down the microwave’s exterior)
  4. Open the microwave door, letting the microwave air out for a few seconds before cleaning
  5. With mitts on, carefully remove the bowl, turntable, rotating ring, and coupler
  6. Hand wash the glass plate with soap and water, or wash it in the dishwasher
  7. Wipe down the interior of the microwave with a clean sponge, microfiber cloth, or paper towel
  8. Replace the cleaned turntable components

Remove leftover grease and food particles by adding a drop of dish soap and water to the scrubbing side of a sponge and gently buffing them away.

1.Vinegar and Water Solution

Solution: Two tablespoons of white vinegar + Two cups of water

No household cleaning breakdown would be complete without an easy DIY vinegar cleaner. And when you’ve got a messy microwave, our favorite all-purpose, all-natural option is once again the best solution!

You’ll love how easy it will be to wipe away old, stuck-on food gunk with a water and vinegar solution, but be aware that the odor can be irritating. You’ll have to stick your head near/in the microwave to clean it while the smell rolls out, and it can catch you off-guard with its pungency. 

Keep the vinegar/water ratio low, and add a few drops of a pleasing essential oil to offset the odor. The acidic scent during the cleaning process may be off-putting, but it will dissipate quickly with the door open as the vinegar evaporates.

2.Lemon and Water Solution

Solution: Juice from one lemon + One cup of water

If you can’t stand the vinegar smell, use squeezed lemon juice. Cleaning the microwave with lemon uses the citrus fruit’s acidic kick to kill bacteria and remove stuck-on food.

Microwave a whole lemon for 20–30 seconds to get the juices flowing and give you a more powerful lemon water solution. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice into your bowl. The delightful, fresh lemon scent does an excellent job of masking light odors from the microwave, like the burnt smell of popcorn.

Alternative Options to Clean a Microwave

If you don’t want to wait around on a heated bowl of liquid to save your microwave, you can also utilize the versatility of a melamine sponge like a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Wet the sponge, and scrub the inside of the microwave, following up with a clean cloth or paper towel to remove the remaining moisture.

A thick paste of baking soda and water can also do the trick. As it does for safe oven cleaning, baking soda inside the microwave can lift stubborn gunk and neutralize foul odors. Apply the paste to grime and stubborn stains around the microwave’s surfaces, and let it sit for five minutes. Wipe the inside of the microwave clean with a damp cloth.

Book a Kitchen Deep Clean with Anita’s

If the microwave is giving you an overwhelming cleaning job, it might be a sign that your kitchen needs a serious deep cleaning. With a local cleaning pro, you can get the incredible sparkle and germ-free atmosphere you deserve in the most important room of the house without the hassle of doing it yourself. Request a booking with Anita’s today to save your kitchen without sacrificing your schedule.


Anita's Housekeeping Editors