DIY

6 Ways To Clean A Dirty Microwave Using Items You Already Have In Your House

Ariane Cooley LittleThings writer by Ariane Cooley
Ariane is a freelance writer for LittleThings.

Have you ever considered buying a new microwave just because your old one is dirty?  I have. I am a staunch believer in having a clean microwave, and I completely hate when the appliance is dirty — it grosses me out! I feel like my food will come out contaminated with old gross food just from being in there for a minute. The only problem is that I also really hate cleaning microwaves. I once decided that it was worth getting a sizable chunk of money deducted from my rental deposit rather than taking the time to clean my wretchedly filthy microwave.

Maybe some of you think that sounds ridiculous. But maybe, just maybe, some of you are nodding your heads in agreement. This article is for everyone, but it is especially for those of you who are like me. I’m going to tell you how to effortlessly clean a microwave and keep it clean in the future.

These easy methods use items you probably already have in your house. Read below to learn all about them.

Warnings Before Cleaning

A hot bowl of water
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Some of these cleaning methods involve heating, so make sure to use caution when removing hot materials from the microwave. You don’t want to risk burning yourself! First, though, let’s review a few methods for preventing your microwave from getting dirty in the first place.

Preventing a Dirty Microwave

Prevention Method 1: Place Food That Might Boil Over on a Plate

Place a bowl on a plate
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If you suspect that a food or beverage you are microwaving might bubble out of its container when heated, place the container on plate before putting it in the microwave. Foods that can bubble over and make a mess when heated include butter, cheese, milk, and anything containing liquid.

Prevention Method 2: Don’t Microwave for Minutes on End

Food that's burnt to a crisp
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

One of the common mistakes that can contribute to a big mess in your microwave is microwaving something for too long or for too many minutes at a time. If you suspect that a food might boil over (see above) or even explode, then try microwaving it one minute at a time, as advised by Kitchn.

Prevention Method 3: Place a Paper Towel Over the Food

Placing a paper towel over a bowl
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This is one of my favorite tips for keeping a microwave clean, and it’s super easy. Place a paper towel over the top of any food that might splatter or pop when heated. The paper towel absorbs all the splatter, and you can just throw it away or compost it when you’re done. For an added benefit, use a damp paper towel to prevent your food from getting tough, according to Lifehacker.

Cleaning Tips

Cleaning Method 1: Clean Immediately After a Spill or Splatter

Cleaning a microwave
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Clean up any spills or splatters immediately after they happen. This prevents them from hardening during subsequent microwave uses, making them much more difficult to clean up. 

Cleaning Method 2: Vinegar

Placing a bowl of vinegar into the microwave
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

According to The Balance, an effortless way to clean your microwave is to fill a microwave-safe bowl with an equal mix of white vinegar and water, then microwave it for two minutes. After the two minutes, carefully dip a sponge into the vinegar-and-water mix and wipe off any splashes of food in your microwave. The mess should come right off! This also deodorizes and sanitizes your microwave.

Cleaning Method 3: Lemon Juice

Squeezing lemon into a bowl of water
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Consumer Reports recommends microwaving a bowl of water with a few tablespoons of lemon juice for two minutes, until the liquid starts to evaporate. Carefully open the microwave and wipe down the interior using a damp cloth. The lemon juice and water should give your microwave a good cleaning and deodorizing. 

Cleaning Method 4: Dish Soap

Dish soap onto a sponge
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

Digital Trends advises filling a microwave-safe bowl with water and drizzling in a few squirts of a good grease-cutting dish soap. Give the water and dish soap a little stir, and microwave them on high for about three minutes. You’ll want it to get really steamy but not boil over. Carefully open the microwave and wipe down the interior using a damp cloth.

Cleaning Method 5: Baking Soda

A bowl with baking soda
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

The Spruce says to mix 4 tablespoons of baking soda with 1 quart of warm water and use this solution to wash down the inside of your microwave. This should take care of minor spills and splatters. For more caked-on and baked-on food issues, microwave this same solution for a few minutes and then wipe down the interior with a damp cloth.

Cleaning Method 6: Water

A steaming bowl of water
Morgan Swofford for LittleThings

If your microwave isn’t too dirty, then simply microwaving a bowl of water for about five minutes will help loosen up any messes so that they can be easily wiped away with a damp cloth. SFGate praises this easy fix. 

I hope this article has helped you tackle your messy microwave!  Please feel free to SHARE with friends and family.