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Cleaning hacks for microwaves

Woman using a cleaning hack for microwave
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Microwaves have been a popular addition to the home ever since they first came onto the market in the late 1960s. While they may be a quick and convenient way to cook a meal, they can get messy quickly. However, there are some great cleaning hacks for microwaves that can give your small appliance a new lease of life. 

No matter whether you're cleaning up after a dramatic spill, or you're simply sprucing it up to help prolong its lifespan, cleaning your microwave doesn't have to be a long, boring chore. There are some fantastic cleaning hack ideas for the best compact microwaves (opens in new tab) and best over-the-range microwaves (opens in new tab) that use simple household products and are light on labor and energy for you. 

Cleaning hacks for microwaves

1. Use a lemon

This hack is natural, easily accessible and a great way to use produce that's past its best. Lemon is one of the best cleaning hack for microwave ideas. First, place it on a hard surface and roll it to release the juice. Next, cut it in half and squeeze the juice into a microwave-safe bowl. Add a cup of cold water and the squeezed lemon as well – no need to waste it! Place the bowl inside the microwave and run it on full power for around 10 minutes. 

Safety tip: Leave the microwave oven door shut for a good five minutes before you attempt to open it; it will be hot. Remove the bowl using oven gloves, then the turntable. Wipe the inside thoroughly. 

2. Use dishwasher soap

What the expert says…

Amazing Services, a UK-based company providing cleaner sand domestic appliance repairers, said, “It’s quite possible to clean your microwave of even baked-on grime by using one of a few simple hacks. You can use natural products like vinegar or lemon for an eco-friendly, chemical-free clean too. Make sure you follow your manufacturer’s instructions for removing any moving parts and be aware of safety at all times - the inside can get very hot when you run it to clean it, so leave the door shut for a while and wear protective gloves."

Of course, you’ll need a liquid dishwasher detergent for this, not a pod or powder! Take a large plastic bowl and add warm water and a squeeze of your favorite dishwasher soap. Place the turntable in the bottom of the bowl and then remove crumbs and debris from inside. Next, use a non-scratch dish sponge inside the microwave, using the soapy water. Start with the roof, moving in a circular movement and coat the inside with suds. Be careful not to get it in the vents. 

Wipe with paper towels or a dish cloth and repeat until all mess and dirt has gone. When you are sure it’s clean, use a fresh, dry cloth to dry and polish the inside to prevent streaking and replace the cleaned turntable. You can use this for the outside too!

3. Window cleaner will make your microwave shine

You probably have window cleaner hanging about, so why not put it to use in your microwave? Remember that many window cleaners contain ammonia, which can be dangerous mixed with other cleaners. Pump about 10 sprays of window cleaner into a bowl containing a cup of water. Next, spray the inside of the microwave (avoid the vents) and place the bowl inside. Close it and run on high for five minutes. 

Safety tip: Your microwave will be hot, so leave for 10 minutes. Next, use a damp cloth to wipe around inside, removing the cleaner. Rinse the cloth in clean, warm water several times as you do so to remove every trace, then you’re all done!

4. Use baking soda for stuck-on stains

If your microwave is really grimy, with lots of backed-on splatters from an exploding soup bowl or pasta sauce, you’ll need a thorough clean to get to grips with all the mess. Take a small bowl and a spoon or wooden spatula and make a thick paste from baking soda and a little water. Spread it thickly on any baked-on food spills and leave it for five to 10 minutes. You should then just be able to wipe it off, with paper towels or a damp cloth leaving a sparkling clean microwave. No chemicals, no scrubbing, no problem!

5. Use a wet towel for a steam clean

This method uses steam to loosen any stuck-on grime. Take a kitchen sponge or a clean dish cloth (or even paper towels), soak it in clean water and then microwave it for just two to three minutes. Leave the door closed for the steam to do its work for 10 minutes or so, then use the same towel or sponge to wipe down the interior. Dry with a dish towel.

6. Vinegar will cut through the grease

This everyday condiment is ideal for cleaning and it’s eco-friendly too. Put two tablespoons of white vinegar and two cups of water into a bowl in your microwave (you may want to open a few windows to avoid a pungent vinegar smell in your kitchen!). Run the microwave on high for five minutes and watch the steam filling the oven. 

Safety tip: Leave the door closed for at least 15 minutes, both for safety and because you want to allow the steam to loosen all baked-on food. Then remove the bowl and wipe every spot with paper towels or a cloth, making sure you reach every corner.

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Sally J. Hall is an editor and journalist who has written for many newspapers, magazines and websites on a wide range of subjects within the medical, parenting, and consumer product markets; she is also the author of three books.