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Hopefully, you are wondering how to clean a microwave long before the situation has gotten out of hand. Just like with any house cleaning, if you take care of things right away, like wiping up that spilled coffee, your overall cleaning time is going to be reduced. But have no fear if such is not the case, in house cleaning, there is a solution to everything!

how to clean a microwave

Here is a really easy way to clean your microwave that will take care of most situations. If you do this every few weeks, it will keep your microwave sweet smelling as well as clean. If you remember to put the bowl in the microwave when you start your kitchen cleaning time, your oven will be ready for its wipe as you finish.

One of the advantages of this method is that it doesn’t use any questionable cleaning products. If you use cleaning products to clean your microwave, they will leave traces on the walls of the oven and who knows? Maybe some of that chemical junk is getting into your food.

How to Clean a Microwave

Step 1. Remove any obvious debris and crumbs from the microwave. You can even use the vacuum to do this – just make sure you unplug the oven first.

Step 2. Fill a medium-sized Pyrex glass bowl (or similar microwave-proof bowl) about halfway with water. Slice a lemon into several wedges and add these, squeezing the juice into the water a bit. You could also use 1/4 cup or so of vinegar, but using lemon wedges to trouble the water addresses any fears one might be harboring about superheated liquids.

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Step 3. Place the bowl in the microwave and turn it on high for 5 minutes. Unplug the microwave (this makes it safe for cleaning in a little bit) and leave it closed for 15 minutes or so.

Step 4. When you open the oven, there should be water vapor all over the interior. Along with the acidic action of the lemon, this is what’s going to loosen up all the crud. Carefully remove the bowl of water – it will still be very hot.

Step 5. Remove the plate and rotating apparatus if there is one and set these aside to wash in soapy water.

Step 6. Dip a clean cleaning cloth (I use microfiber cleaning cloths for this and almost all household cleaning tasks) in the hot lemon water, then wipe out the insides of the oven, concentrating on any caked-on bits.

Step 6. Don’t forget the outside of the oven. You can use the same lemon water to clean this as well.

What to do if your microwave smells?

If your microwave hasn’t been regularly cleaned or especially if you’ve burnt something in there (popcorn seems to be a popular item for this), you may have a hard time getting it to smell clean again. Other than repeating the lemon treatment several times, you can also try leaving a bowl of baking soda in the oven – don’t forget to take it out when you use the microwave.

People have also had success with other odor-absorbing materials like ground coffee or activated charcoal. Another alternative is to try to flush the odor out (apparently the burnt smells can coat the ventilation system), by repeating the boiling bowl of water trick, perhaps with cinnamon, vanilla or another scent added.

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Sometimes it’s just time to buy a new microwave!

Cleaning Appliances in General

Other than these common household tips for how to clean a microwave, you may also like to consider using a home steam cleaner. I find this an invaluable tool for cleaning any surface with nooks and crannies where gunk and grease may accumulate. I use it on the exterior of my microwave and in no time flat, my oven is sparkling.

Now that you know how to clean a microwave, why not do yourself a favor and do it regularly? And don’t forget to watch your popcorn – that stuff moves fast!


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Mary Ann

I'm a mom of 3 and spend a good chunk of my time cleaning and organizing our crazy home. My goal is to help people keep their homes tidy in a way that saves them time and money! I hope the resources on this site are a help to you and your family.

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