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How To Clean A Microwave

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microwave in kitchen

A microwave can be such a useful piece of equipment for your home and we’re sure at some point you’ve all owned or used one in your kitchen.

Whether you use them everyday or just once or twice a month, they need to be cleaned regularly in order for them to work to their full capacity. So we’re pleased to give you this guide on how to clean a microwave, but first let’s take a closer look at these convenient bits of kit.

Microwaves were first invented in 1946, with the first turntable microwave being produced by Sharp Corporation between 1964 and 1966. A countertop version, which we are most used to nowadays was introduced in 1967.

An electric oven that heats and cooks food by using electromagnetic radiation, with a rotatable plate inside, ensuring the heat is distributed evenly and giving you perfectly cooked food. You may only want to reheat the drink you didn’t get chance to drink hot the first time round, or heating up leftovers from the night before, whatever the reason, microwaves are a godsend at times.

We’re sure you all know how to use a microwave, what you can and can’t put in there, as well as how to use the different settings. But the next important thing to know, after how to operate it, is how to keep it clean. And that’s where we come in – we’ve put together this article to show you some of the best ways to maintain the life of your microwave and some of the products you will already have in your home that can be used to clean it.

Cleaning a microwave with baking soda

Baking soda is one of those items you either use all the time or you’ve used it once and it now sits at the back of the cupboard – well good news, you now have a new use for it! Depending on how dirty your microwave is, there are a number of ways you can use baking soda.

  • Take out the plate and ring before you begin. You can then sprinkle baking soda directly onto the bottom of the microwave and using a hot moistened cloth simply wipe down all the areas inside. The baking soda should lift any stains and dislodge food remnants. Rinse the cloth out and wipe the microwave down again to get rid of any residue – ensuring you wipe the walls, roof and door
  • Make a paste by mixing two parts baking soda with one part water and apply with a butter knife – this will work into even the most caked on food. Again using a damp cloth, wipe every part of the microwave interior, rinse the cloth and wipe over again
  • Mix up a solution – Add 2 tablespoons of baking soda to one cup of water in a microwaveable container, put this inside and heat on full power for 3 to 5 minutes. When finished allow it to stand for 10 to 15 minutes. As the solution gets warmer the steam will loosen any stuck on debris and the odours will be absorbed. Carefully remove the container, using an oven mitt or towel if needed and wipe over every part of the microwave with a damp cloth. You can remove the plate and ring before you do this so access to the bottom is easier

Cleaning a microwave with white vinegar

Similar to the baking soda method, you can make a solution with white vinegar. Using 1 cup of water and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar, mix together and pour into a microwave safe bowl. Heat the solution for 5 minutes and then wait another 5 minutes before you open the door – this will allow the steam that has been created to loosen any food or grime inside.

After carefully removing the bowl, you can then dip a sponge or cloth into the solution before wiping down the interior of your microwave. Remove the plate and ring when wiping to ensure you reach every surface.

You also have the option to add citrus to your solution, such as a couple of slices of lemon, lime or orange. This will further help lift the grease from inside, as well as eradicating odours and leaving you with a pleasant smelling microwave.

Cleaning a microwave with washing up liquid

If you don’t have any of the ingredients to make the solutions above, then you can simply use washing up liquid. After all, it is used to clean grease and food leftovers, so it stands to reason that you’d favour it to clean your microwave too. Follow the steps below to find a method to suit.

  • You can add a few squirts of washing up liquid to 2 cups of water and heat it for 5 minutes in a microwaveable bowl or container. Allow it to stand for 5-10 minutes so the steam can work into the grease and grime, to lift it and make it easier to clean away. Carefully remove the bowl, plate and ring before proceeding to wipe the interior down with a damp cloth or sponge
  • An alternative method would be to fill a bowl with warm water and a few squirts of washing up liquid, soaking a sponge until the water becomes soapy. Firstly remove the plate and ring, and starting at the roof of the microwave scrub or wipe (depending on how dirty it is) to clean off any grime or splattered food, then onto the walls and the bottom, until the interior of the microwave is completely covered. Rinse off your sponge and repeat the process again. Using a damp cloth or paper towel you can then wipe away any excess suds and you should be left with a clean, fresh microwave

When cleaning your microwave it is recommend to use warm, soapy water to wash the plate and ring, which can then be dried and placed back inside. If you have the time, it is a good idea to let your microwave air dry by leaving the door open. Alternatively, if you haven’t got time to do this, simply use a clean, dry cloth or towel to do it yourself.

Cleaning the outside of your microwave

Now that your microwave is gleaming inside, you’ll want to finish it off by making the outside shine just as much. You can achieve this result in a number of ways.

  • Using a cloth and washing up liquid, simply wipe down the top, sides and door. Make sure the cloth isn’t soaking wet, just slightly damp will do as you wouldn’t want any water dripping through the vents
  • Using an antibacterial wipe is a quick way to remove any grease, dirt or fingerprints
  • If you find your microwave is particularly dirty on the outside, you could opt for a kitchen or surface cleaner. A couple of sprays onto a cloth should be enough to wipe over and have it looking like new again

How often should I clean my microwave?

This all really depends on two things – how much you use it and personal preference.  I personally wipe my microwave inside after every use, I do this with a sheet of kitchen roll to soak up any moisture and avoid unpleasant smells.

However, if you are only warming a drink up every now and again you will not need to give it a deep clean too often.

Cleaning it using our methods once a week should be sufficient enough, but if you find you are using your microwave quite regularly then you may need to clean in between that too, especially if you have food that leaves splashes on the walls.

Of course, if something overflows or spills it is wise to clean it up straight away. Food left to go cold and harden up will take a lot more effort to remove.


Cleaning your microwave doesn’t have to be a big chore and to be honest it can be relatively easy as long as you do it frequently enough.

It really shouldn’t take you more than 15 minutes for a complete going over and the results will be a clean looking, fresh smelling microwave every time you come to use it.

michelle author bio pic

Meet our reviewer – Michelle Vernon

Michelle is one of the lead writers at Washing Check and also holds an editor role. She is a busy parent who understands the needs of daily domestic life and the challenges it can bring.

She genuinely loves cleaning products and equipment, which although is quite strange to many, is a blessing to us here at Washing Check.