There is nothing worse than when you open up your microwave to heat up a cup of coffee and what you are greeted with looks like a scene out of a horror movie.
I am not sure why spaghetti sauce feels the need to literally explode when being cooked but if you don’t catch that mess right when it happens you are in trouble. That sauce turns into a cement-like substance that only a strong fingernail or a paint scraper and a blowtorch can remove.
Surely, I cannot be the only one with this problem, so I decided to go on a hunt to find the very best ways to clean a microwave. What I ended up with are 3 microwave cleaning hacks to try and they might just surprise you at how well they work.
Before we dive in on how to clean the inside let’s first tackle the outside.
If you are one of those people who’s microwave sits over your stove you might find the outside gets dirtier more often than the inside does. I am also one of those people and back when we built our home we thought over the stove was a brilliant option. Little did I know back then that anything I cook on the stove will literally cover the bottom and front of the microwave.
The good news is I have since learned a few tricks on how to get that grease and grime off without too much effort.
How to Clean the Outside of Your Microwave
I have found that the best way to clean the outside of the microwave is with good hot soapy water. Dawn Dish Soap works the best here since the main purpose is to remove grease and that is what Dawn is best known for. Most chemical cleaners I have found tend to leave streaks whereas the soapy water does the job quickly and easily. I do find the hotter the water the better it works so pick a temperature that you are comfortable with.
D/M Pro Tip: Be sure to use a sponge or other soft rag to clean and dry the microwave. Abrasive materials will scratch the surface especially the front so take care when choosing what to wash with.
Using a sponge wipe down the front first, re-soaping your sponge often to help break up the grime. Once cleaned use a different sponge to rinse completely. Finally, dry with a soft towel so you can inspect your efforts. If any grease remains you will see it right away and you can wash again.
Do the same process with the sides and the top if they are exposed.
Next up is the bottom of the microwave. Since this is going to be the dirtiest, it has a list of cleaning steps all it’s own.
D/M Pro Tip: When cleaning the bottom of your microwave, place a cookie sheet down on your stove top to catch any “debris” as you are cleaning.
Using a hot and soapy sponge, scrub the bottom working your way over the surface removing any dirt and grime as you go. You can use a soft scrub brush here especially if you have quite a bit to get off. Just be sure to not scratch any surfaces.
If your microwave has a filter you can remove it and soak in a bath of hot soapy water with baking soda. You can see the full walkthrough at Clark.com.
If you find some of the grease is just too thick to remove add a little baking soda to your sponge. The gentle abrasiveness will give you a little more power to your scrubbing. If you need even more help, try Magic Erasers. This is my last go-to but sometimes thicker grease requires some additional help.
D/M Pro Tip: Put this task on your weekly to-do list so you are not faced with such a hard job next time.
Now that you have the outside all clean and shiny, let’s tackle the inside.
3 Microwave Cleaning Hacks to Try
Before we dive in let’s go over a few kitchen cleaning essentials. These supplies are something each household should have on hand but if you do not, be sure to add it to your shopping list now so you have it the next time you are faced with a greasy and grimy mess.
My Top Natural Cleaning Tools Every Kitchen Should Have
- Dawn Dish Soap – Perfect for cutting grease and grime in your microwave so it is easier to remove.
- Baking Soda – Using baking soda to clean your microwave is a great way to add a gentle yet effective abrasiveness to your sponge.
- Vinegar – Another way to cut through grease, but can damage some surfaces so read your manufacturers instructions before using.
- Lemon Juice – Helps to loosen up grease in your microwave so it is easier to remove also gives a pleasant scent.
- Sponge – I always like to have good strong, yet soft sponges for cleaning my microwave and other delicate appliances.
Microwave Cleaning Hack #1
This first tip works best as a weekly cleaning.
Take a handful of paper towels and wet them down just a bit in your sink. I like to use the hose attachment so the towels are heavily damp but not soaking wet. Take them to your microwave and put them in a loose pile in the center “fluffing” them up just a bit. Run on high for 4-5 minutes to create a steam bath that will help to loosen any grease or dirt.
Let things sit for a bit then use the papers towels to wipe down the inside.
Microwave Cleaning Hack #2
This hack will work well on a heavier job.
Using the same steam technique, fill a microwave-safe bowl with water and add a 1/4 cup of vinegar and a few slices of lemon. The citric acid from the lemon will help to loosen any really stuck on food. You can also ad a toothpick or wooden spoon, depending on the size of the glass container you are using, to prevent the bowl from cracking from the heat.
Run on high for up to 5 minutes or until mixture boils and let sit for just a few minutes to let that steam work. Carefully remove the bowl (warning, it will be hot!) and wipe down the inside with warm soapy water. Once cleaned dry with a soft cloth.
Microwave Cleaning Hack #3
Still not cutting the mess? This last hack will surely do the trick!
Take a quart of warm water and dissolve 4 tablespoons of baking soda being sure to mix well so as to break up any lumps. Use your sponge and wipe this mixture all over the inside of your microwave. Next, put a microwave safe bowl with a cup of water and a cup of vinegar inside and microwave until the mixture boils about 4-6 minutes. Let stand for up to 10 minutes with the door closed. This will help all the ingredients work with the steam to loosen the stuck on food.
Remove the bowl and use the (careful it may be hot) vinegar and water mixture to wipe down the inside completely to rinse off the steam, baking soda mixture, and dirt. You may need to do this several times to ensure you have all the baking soda removed.
An ounce of prevention promises a cleaner microwave.
More often than not your best bet is to catch the spills when they happen. A simple tip is to add wiping down the inside of your microwave after each use. A few seconds of effort might just be worth a weekly clean job.
If you have a large family, however, this might be asking too much. To help there are a few preventative measures you can take to make clean up just a bit easier.
My Top Microwave Tools Every Cook Should Own
Microwave Mat – A great way to keep the glass tray clean and keep it from breaking.
Cooking Cover – Keeps splatters to a minimum.
Now that you have your microwave cleaned head on over and read up on Storage Ideas for your Small Appliances. These are my best tips to help you keep your counters cleaned off and clutter-free.