How to Clean a Microwave

It just takes a round of leftovers or a bag of burnt popcorn to turn a clean, sparkling microwave into a grimy, smelly mess. The key to keeping a clean countertop microwave is regular maintenance – at least every few days. When you notice stains inside your microwave or want to get rid of stuck-on food, check out this surefire guide on how to clean a microwave by Carolyn Forte, director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab.

Unlike other kitchen appliances, you can clean a microwave with everyday cleaning products that you already have in your home, including all-purpose cleaner, baking soda, dish soap, or vinegar (white apple cider or of Apple). That’s right, stay away from bleach as General Electric warns that it weakens the plastic interior and damages the device in the long run. Unless you let the tomato sauce splatter sit for too long, microwaves typically don’t stain like most counters and sinks, so whitening cleaner isn’t needed to start.

Now follow this expert tested guide to cleaning your microwave from the outside to the inside – door, turntable, etc.

How to clean the inside of a microwave

The mixture of splashes and smells can make your microwave look rough. To target the inside of your microwave – turntable included – follow this step by step:

  1. Combine 1 cup of water and lemon, lime or orange slices (squeeze the juice from the fruit slices into the water) in a microwave-safe bowl. If you have white cider or apple vinegar on hand, mix a few tablespoons and 1 cup of water in a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Place it inside the microwave and turn it on high for several minutes until the mixture boils and the window fogs up.
  3. Let cool for 5 minutes before opening the door, then remove the bowl and wipe the inside with a sponge.

    1. How to clean greasy microwave doors

      It’s not just the inside that counts – remove stains and grease from the outside of the microwave with these tips and tricks.

      1. Clean the entire door – the edges, both sides, and where it seals the oven – with a sponge moistened with water and dipped in a little baking soda. Wipe with a damp cloth or sponge to rinse.
      2. For oily glass, clean with a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water. Lift up and wipe dry.
      3. For a heavy build-up of grease, wipe your microwave oven door with a Mr. Clean Clean Freak Mist or a soapy mixture of dish soap and water. Apply the cleaner with a rag or sponge to prevent the cleaner from entering the air vents. Try not to spray cleaner on the electronic controls to avoid damage.

        1. How to get a burning smell (and all smells, really) out of the microwave

          When you burn popcorn in the microwave, the smell comes back as soon as you turn it back on. This means that it is best to get rid of the stench right away.

          • For light odors (spicy foods with a strong aroma, for example), air it out with the door open, or place a bowl of baking soda inside with the door closed to absorb odors.
          • For strong odors (think: burnt popcorn), clean up any residue and place an odor-absorbing gel inside, like Fresh Wave, until you run it again.

            How to remove stuck-on food from inside the microwave

            To get rid of dried out food, use Good Housekeeping Seal Star Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. If it is stuck to the turntable, simply place it in the dishwasher or wash it by hand with soapy water. Just be sure to read the manufacturer’s manual first.

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