Best Way to Clean a Microwave

Your microwave may just be the most convenient appliance in your kitchen – but it doesn’t take much to make it grimy, messy, and smelly. Just one overflowing or spitting sauce or pungent food item can emit a strong odor and require a significant cleanup. From slightly burnt popcorn to a reheated Bolognese, just a few minutes in your microwave can translate to a smelly kitchen for hours.

Even without an accidental spill or strong odor, your microwave will develop a gunky build-up over time.

Fortunately, it’s not difficult to keep your microwave clean and smelling fresh – and you don’t even need harsh chemicals or special cleaners to achieve this!

Microwave Cleaning Tips

Most of your microwave cleaning needs will be fulfilled with simple lemon juice, white vinegar, and baking soda. There’s, usually, no need to resort to using bleach or chemical cleaning products – these can be harmful in your kitchen.

The key is using the microwave to steam clean itself, with a little added elbow grease where needed.

Cleaning the Inside of Your Microwave

  • Wipe down your microwave door with a rag dampened with one-part water and one part white vinegar to remove grease.
  • Remove stains and baked-on food and freshen your microwave at the same time by mixing a solution of 5 teaspoons baking soda and at least 500ml of warm water. Using a rag, wipe the solution over the stain in a circular motion. Baked on food can be more effectively removed by applying a little baking soda directly to the rag or cloth.
  • Heat a bowl of equal parts water and white vinegar (I cup apiece is ideal) for 5-10 minutes for a deep clean. Leave it to steam for a further five minutes, then remove the bowl with oven mitts. Wipe the inside of the microwave oven down with a damp rag or paper towel. (You could also use a cup of water with a teaspoon of dish washing liquid).

Cleaning the Outside of Your Microwave:

Simply wipe with a damp cloth and a little baking soda if you need to remove stains or baked-on food spills.

 Removing Smells from a Microwave

Lemon and bicarbsodaEven the cleanest microwave can carry the ghosts of dinners past – lingering smells.You can use your microwave to mask these odors, by replacing them with more pleasant smells.


  • Eliminate bad smells and replace them with the spicy fragrance of cloves. A small bowl of cloves left to sit uncovered in the closed microwave overnight (do not heat) will give a fresh aroma the next morning.
  • Stir 20ml of fresh lemon, lime, or orange juice into a cup of water in a shallow bowl. Heat uncovered in the microwave for 4 minutes (or until it boils). Let it cool in the closed microwave for at least 5 minutes.
  • Add a few slices of fresh citrus to the bottom of a shallow bowl with a cup of water and repeat the above steps.
  • Mix 1 cup of water with 4 tablespoons or 60ml of white vinegar. Heat the mixture (uncovered) in the microwave for 4-5 minutes or until it boils, then leave it steaming in the closed microwave for at least another 5 minutes. Remove after this time and wipe down the inside of the appliance with a paper towel or a damp rag.
  • Coffee is a great odor-neutralizer. Mix 2 tablespoons of (ideally, used) coffee grounds in a half cup of water and heat uncovered in the microwave for 3 minutes.
  • The above mentioned coffee mixture can be substituted for 20ml of vanilla extract mixed with 2 cups of water. Let the mixture steam in the microwave for a few minutes, then wipe it out with a cloth or rag.

           clean microwave Other Important Tips

  • NEVER put any kind of metal in your microwave oven – this includes aluminum foil and utensils – as it can damage your appliance.
  • To prevent the risk of your cleaning/deodorizing solutions from exploding or over boiling, place a single toothpick or similar small wooden object into the solution.
  • Cover all food being heated with a paper towel or similar – this prevents explosions and spitting.
  • Avoid microwaving greasy or smelly food items where possible.
  • Wipe down the inside and outside of your microwave oven every time you wipe your kitchen countertops.

A clean, fresh microwave makes for a much more pleasant kitchen, and much tastier food when you use it to cook!