How to Clean a Microwave

By: Jeremy Glass  | 
clean microwave
Who hasn't been there? Don't worry — there are easy ways to clean up your microwave messes. Steven Puetzer/Getty Images

Of the myriad kitchen tools that have sparked joy through utter convenience, the microwave ranks pretty high up there. You can cook almost anything in a microwave, from popcorn to steak, (though we don't necessarily recommend the latter).

So, why are they so hard to clean? While simply using a damp paper towel may seem like an easy way to remove the zapped-on grease from heating up hundreds of Hot Pockets, it's not. There are actually several innovative ways to clean a microwave that'll leave it looking as good as new.


The Scrub Method

  1. Start by taking out the glass tray and turntable support ring. These can be washed by hand in the sink with dish soap and a sponge or run the tray through the dishwasher.
  2. Vinegar is the great mess equalizer. With the power to thoroughly eviscerate dirt and debris from all your household objects, it's no surprise that vinegar works wonders on microwaves. Using a spray bottle, spritz the inside of your microwave with vinegar or the appliance cleaner of your choice.
  3. Now simply wipe down the interior of the microwave with a sponge or heavy-duty damp paper towel. Make sure you remember the inside of the door — that part can get especially greasy.


The Steam Clean Method

  1. Using a microwave-safe bowl or glass, combine 2 cups of water with 2 tablespoons of vinegar and place inside the microwave.
  2. Close the door and set your microwave on high for five minutes.
  3. Once it's done, keep that door closed for another 15 minutes — the steam will cut through grease and make cleaning a heck of a lot easier.

Pro tip: This same method works with a lemon. Cut a lemon in half, squeeze the juice into a microwave-safe bowl of water, drop the two halves into the water, and run on high for 10-15 minutes.


Combination Baking Soda and Vinegar

  1. Combine 4 tablespoons of baking soda to a quart of water.
  2. Once it's completely dissolved, dip a sponge into the mixture and liberally apply it to the inside your microwave.
  3. Now we turn to the steam clean method we just mentioned, where we combine equal parts water and vinegar in a microwave-save bowl and heat it on high for a few minutes until the liquid is boiling.
  4. Last, you carefully remove the hot bowl and wipe out the inside of your microwave with the vinegar-water combo, being sure to get all the baking soda mixture.