How to clean your microwave: 4 methods

We tested four popular methods for cleaning your microwave to determine which we liked best and why. Thankfully, our favorite was also one of the all-natural versions! Now you can clean your microwave the easy way!

The microwave is one of those kitchen appliances that always seems to be forgotten.  We remember to wash the dishes, sweep the floor, wipe the counters,  clean the oven (or are lucky enough to have a self-cleaning oven); we even clean our refrigerators before our microwaves!

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And that means that by the time we get around to cleaning them, our microwaves are not so simple to clean.  We realize someone reheated spaghetti at some point–without putting a paper towel on top–and red sauce has hardened to the top.  Or ketchup, or cheese, or a combination of every hard-to-remove food product.  And we now have to figure out how to remove it.

Please don’t use the elbow grease method!

You know, the one where you grit your teeth an just scrub and scrub and scrub to clean your microwave until you slowly make a dent in the gunk.  This method can take forever, and it’s a complete waste of your time and sanity.  Instead, I have four methods you should try (and one I am clearly a fan of!).

 the four methods I tried…

  1. All-purpose Cleaner
  2. Dish soap
  3. Lemon
  4. Vinegar

With all four of these methods, you will take out the microwave “tray” and wash it just like a dish.

the results…

All-purpose Cleaner

Untitled design(5)  Spray down the inside of your microwave, generously, with your all-purpose cleaner and then turn it on for 30 seconds.  Wipe out the inside of your microwave.  Repeat if necessary.

I am not a huge fan of this method.  Don’t get me wrong, it does work.  But you are using a ton of chemicals in the process, unless you use an [easyazon_link identifier=”B00LUPNFGA” locale=”US”]all-natural cleaner[/easyazon_link] (which usually doesn’t work as well for this purpose, because it’s designed to be gentler).  And because you typically have to spray down the microwave at least twice…it gets a bit spendy.

Dish Soap

Using a microwave safe bowl, mix together a cup of water and a tablespoon of dish soap.  Place this bowl in your microwave and turn it on for 3 minutes.  Then, let it sit for 2 minutes.  Wipe out the microwave.  Repeat if necessary, using the same bowl of water and dish soap.

This method is…okay.  It usually requires a few cycles, which is more time than anyone wants to spend.  There can also be a residue, which means additional work.


lemonsSlice a lemon in half, place it cut side down on a plate with a lip.  Add a few tablespoons of water to the plate, and place the plate in the microwave.  Microwave for 3 minutes.  Using tongs or a towel, flip the lemon over (careful of the steam!), then close the microwave and let that sit for 3 more minutes.  Repeat with a fresh lemon half if necessary.

This method usually takes both halves of your lemon…but leaves your microwave with a really nice smell.  Additionally, the used lemon halves are great for cleaning your garbage disposal.  Just dump them in and turn it on, followed by a bit of water.  This method, however, means you have to have a lemon, and is the messiest.



Using a microwave safe bowl, combine one cup of water with 2 tablespoons of vinegar.  Place in the microwave and heat for 3 minutes.  Let sit for 3 more minutes.  Wipe, and repeat if necessary.

This method is my favorite!

We prefer this method because it doesn’t use strong chemicals, works well, and is the easiest.  Seriously.  Just dump some water in a bowl, add some vinegar, and turn on the microwave.  This usually requires just one run, but even if it needs a second, just put that same bowl back in and turn it on.  No elbow grease, nothing.

 Do you know any secrets to clean your microwave that we don’t???


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