How to Clean a Microwave

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You can find a microwave in just about every kitchen these days, and a lot of those microwaves need a good cleaning! Because microwaves are used so often, they get dirty really fast. At my house, we use our microwave at least twice a day. That’s 14 times a week. And 14 opportunities a week for our microwave to get dirty, sticky, and just generally icky.

So many people own microwaves, yet many people don’t know how to clean a microwave well. Often, microwaves get sticky or have caked on foods stuck on the inside, and a quick wipe down won’t remove these stubborn spots. And what do people do when that happens? Shrug their shoulders and leave it “for later.” 

Well, later is now! And I’ve got a really easy cleaning hack so you can learn how to clean a microwave quickly and easily. All you need is water, lemon, a microfiber cloth, and a microwave! So let’s tackle those soup stains, tomato sauce stains, and mysterious brown stains. 

clean your microwave

How to Clean A Microwave: Stuck On Foods

I’m going to break down how to easily clean your microwave in six quick steps. This is especially helpful if you have stuck-on foods and stains. 

  1. Cut a lemon in half and squeeze the juice into a microwave-safe bowl. Then, place the lemons in the bowl.
  2. Fill the bowl halfway with water.
  3. Microwave for five minutes on high.
  4. Remove the bowl with a gloved hand (HOT)
  5. Wipe the microwave with a microfiber cloth or double-sided sponge (if the crud is heavy). Ensure you get the top, sides, and bottom of the microwave, and remember to clean the rotating glass dish
  6. Wipe again with a clean microfiber cloth to remove residue.

You might be wondering if I’m totally crazy, but this actually works. The lemon juice and water create hot steam that effectively steams off food and gunk clinging to the inside of your microwave’s walls. Basically, it’s a facial for your microwave. 

I like using the remaining lemon and water to scrub the inside of the microwave. I love this method because it requires zero cleaning products or chemicals, it’s so easy, and it costs about 50 cents. But if you do this, be very careful. The water is boiling hot. 

lemons

How to Clean Big Microwave Messes

Say you have a microwave explosion. Your child tried to microwave a bowl of cheerios or the dreaded play dough fiasco. This is no fun, but there is a great cleaning trick for cleaning really big microwave messes. 

  1. Fill a microwave-safe bowl halfway with water. 
  2. Add two teaspoons of baking soda to your bowl and mix.
  3. Microwave your bowl for five minutes. 
  4. Remove your bowl and scrub your microwave with a heavy-duty sponge. 
  5. If stains and dirt are still sticking, sprinkle a pinch of baking soda on the offending area and scrub again. 
  6. Wipe all the residue with a clean microfiber cloth until all the gunk is removed. 

Baking soda is an excellent cleaning product here because it adds abrasion, just what you need to tackle big messes. And, like the water and lemon, your bowl of water and baking soda will steam in your microwave, loosening even tough stains. For more great baking soda cleaning tips, read 10 Ways to Clean Using Baking Soda!

clean with baking soda

How to Clean the Outside Of Your Microwave

Cleaning the outside of your microwave is really easy, and many of you are probably already doing this. But in case you aren’t, simply grab an all-purpose cleaner and a microfiber cloth. 

You can use any all-purpose cleaner to clean your microwave, but I recommend my DIY All-Purpose Cleaner. It’s super easy to use, and you can make it at home in seconds. Plus, it’s great for all kinds of household cleaning tasks. 

Once you have your all-purpose cleaner, simply spray directly on the outside of your microwave and wipe with a microfiber cloth. If you notice streaks, smears, or fingerprints, use a clean, dry microfiber cloth to buff them out. And it’s that easy; you’re done!

Bonus Tip: How to Keep the Microwave Clean

OK, here’s my final tip for you. If you want to avoid cleaning your microwave for as long as possible, cover your food!

I take an extra plate or bowl and put it on top of the plate or bowl with food in it that I’m microwaving. It’s important to leave enough space for steam to escape but not enough space for splatter to escape. 

How to Clean A Microwave

Microwaves are all about convenience. Luckily, cleaning a microwave is pretty much the most convenient kind of cleaning you can do. In just about five minutes, you can have a sparkling clean microwave with very little work. 

Do you have any microwave cleaning tips we didn’t mention? Leave us a comment below. And let us know if you use our tips and tricks for your microwave cleaning! And when it’s time to clean your kettle, read How to Clean an Electric Kettle and Stovetop Kettle.

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: As an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases on amazon.com.
Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.

15 COMMENTS

  1. I have tried all the cleaning tips including this, but nothing seems to work. My son badly burnt popcorn in the microwave which stained the inside of the microwave. I cleaned it as best I could and while it was cleaner, it was still stained. Shortly after, he microwaved a cheeseburger with the foil Sonic wrapper on it still. It shortly started to burn in the microwave. I tried cleaning it again with several different solutions and techniques, but now it is even more stained. It still smells every time I use it also. Is my microwave just ruined or is there a way to get the burnt stains out?

    • Try a paste of baking soda and liquid dish soap with a few drops of orange essential oil. Leave that on until dry then wipe away.

  2. Hi Melissa

    I have a question. The inside of my microwave is pretty clean as i often wipe it. But its a over the range microwave so my outside is pretty sticky and dirty. And even the glass outside looks untidy. And plus its a stainless steel finish. Any tips on how to clean that?

    Thanks,
    Karen

  3. Thank you so much….my hushband let a bowl of pasta heat without covering it. You can imagine the ess and my anger. Now all is calm….sorta!

  4. be very interesting, is there a chance

    for you to use these skills as a part-time job? fortunately, there is! all you have to do is to look for online writing jobs. there are tons of writing jobs needed online and you cannot just imagine how many individuals

  5. I use a microwaveable spatter guard everytime I microwave. My micorwave is spotless. I also use your tip of cutting a lemon in half and giving the micorwave a sauna bath. :O) I love a clean microwave. But my husband once exploded an egg in the microwave..egg yolk everywhere! He had the task of cleaning the microwave that day,.

  6. How do you clean clear/white plastic containers that have been microwaved with red sauces in them, so that they are back to being clear/white?

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