Skip to main content

How To Clean Your Microwave With These Cleaning Hacks

The microwave is a fast and effective kitchen appliance that allows us to quickly cook and reheat food. Common in almost every household, compact enough for small apartments and dorm rooms, and reasonably affordable, there's a good chance you already know the many benefits of the microwave. One downside, however, is that over time the inside of the microwave gets dirty. Covering your food with a paper towel or a specifically designed cover can help reduce this. But inevitably you'll wind up needing to clean your microwave at some point. Thankfully this isn't a complicated process and these cleaning hacks will help you return your microwave to its pristine state with relative ease.

Related Videos




20 minutes

What You Need

  • Sponge

  • Dish Towel

  • Lemon

  • Vinegar

  • Dish Soap

  • Microwave-Safe Bowl

Below you'll find five different ways to easily clean your microwave, including steps for each method. Read on and get cleaning!

Sliced dehydrated lemons placed all over a black background.
Winslow Productions/Getty Images

Clean with Lemon Juice

The first couple ways to clean out your microwave involve steaming liquids inside the microwave to loosen stuck-on food. The heat and moisture loosen everything up so you can go through with a towel and wipe everything down easily. Our first method uses lemon juice.

Step 1: Fill a microwave-safe bowl with 1-2 cups of water.

Step 2: Cut a lemon in half.

Step 3: Squeeze the juice from the lemon into the water. You can toss the lemon into the bowl of water as well.

Step 4: Microwave the bowl of lemon juice and water for 5-10 minutes, then let sit 5-10 minutes.

Step 5: Wipe off stuck-on food debris with a towel or paper towel. The lemon juice and water will have loosened up those food particles making them easy to wipe away. A bonus, your microwave will smell of citrus.

Vinegar, a jar of baking soda, lemon, and towels placed on a white table.

Clean with Vinegar

Similar to the lemon juice method above, you can microwave vinegar mixed into a bowl of water to help loosen food particles that might be stuck to the inside of your microwave. The process will be the same as with the lemon juice method above.

Step 1: Filled a microwave-safe bowl with 1-2 cups of water.

Step 2: Add anywhere from 2 tablespoons to 1/2 cup of vinegar to the bowl of water.

Step 3: Microwave on high for 5 minutes.

Step 4: Let sit for 5-10 minutes.

Step 5: Wipe down the microwave with a towel or paper towel.

Dishwashing sponge with dish soap.

Soap and Water

You can clean your microwave using regular old dish soap and a sponge. If you aren't fighting against a lot of stuck-on food, just wipe down the inside of your microwave with a soapy sponge. If there are tougher bits, microwave the bowl first as in the methods above.

Step 1: Fill a microwave-safe bowl with water and 1-2 drops of dish soap.

Step 2: Microwave for 2-3 minutes.

Step 3: Let sit for 5 minutes so the steam can work away at the dried-on food.

Step 4: Wipe clean with a sponge or towel.

Steam Only Method

Maybe you don't have lemons on hand, you don't like the smell of vinegar, or you don't want to microwave dish soap, using a paper towel or kitchen towel soaked in water is perhaps the easiest way to clean your microwave.

Step 1: Wet a paper towel or dish towel.

Step 2: Microwave for 5 minutes to produce steam.

Step 3: Let sit 5 minutes so the steam can do its work and the towel can cool.

Step 4: Wipe down the inside of the microwave with the towel. Easy!

Eco-friendly natural cleaners with baking soda, sponge, gloves, and vinegar.

Removing Smells From Your Microwave

The above methods are all great at removing stuck on food. But what if your microwave has absorbed odors from previous meals? What's the best way to remove those smells? Baking soda is an excellent ingredient to help remove smalls (and also absorbs moisture). This works in the refrigerator as well.

Step 1: Place an open container of baking soda or a bowl of baking soda in the microwave.

Step 2: Close the door and let sit. You don't actually use the microwave function in this method.

Step 3: After 24-48 hours (or longer if needed) remove the baking soda from the microwave. It's as easy as that.

And that's it. It's really a pretty easy process. Any of these solutions can also be used to wipe down the outside of the microwave. And putting the tray into the dishwasher is a great way to get it really clean. Don't forget to add the microwave to your spring cleaning list! You'll enjoy its spotless interior every time you use it.

Editors' Recommendations

Make these 5 easy appetizer dips for your Super Bowl party
From savory and meaty chorizo to sweet peanut butter cream cheese, these dips have something for everyone
Good Culture Spinach and Artichoke dip placed in a bread bowl on a white kitchen counter with salad in the back.

Thinking about appetizers for your Super Bowl party? For this Super Bowl, why not make a crowd favorite -- a dip? Not only can dips be creamy and savory, but they can also be meaty or even refreshing. As a bonus, these various dips are also delicious with an array of game day favorites such as chips, pretzels, and raw veggies slices. While there are plenty of dip recipes out there, The Manual has collected some of the tastiest, most creative, and easy-to-make dip recipes from chefs and food bloggers. Trust us -- these dips will be a big hit at the Super Bowl party.
Spinach artichoke dip with caramelized shallots

A twist on the classic dip, this Spinach Dip Recipe is from Good Culture, a company focused on high-quality dairy products. Good Culture never uses preservatives, gums, or artificial ingredients in its products, and its sour cream is a creamy revelation filled with live and active cultures.

Read more
The best Super Bowl snacks: Your party will be a win even if your team sucks
Wow your Super Bowl party guests with deviled eggs sprinkled with BBQ rub or smoky guacamole
Rodney Scott deviled eggs with pickled okra on a metal tray with a red fork.

No Super Bowl party is complete without an endless variety of snacks and appetizers. From spicy deviled eggs to guacamole and party mixes, Super Bowl snacks should be flavorful, fun, and plentiful. For expertise on this culinary journey, The Manual has curated five recipes from pitmasters to cookbook authors and pizza experts. One taste of these recipes, and your Super Bowl party guests will be singing your praises all year.
Rodney Scott's deviled eggs

Rodney Scott is a James Beard award-winning pitmaster of Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQ and bestselling cookbook author of Rodney Scott's World of BBQ: Every Day Is a Good Day: A Cookbook. These deviled eggs are upgraded with Rodney's Rib Rub, crispy pork skin, and pickles, making this a perfect bite for a Super Bowl party.

Read more
How to master the perfect ribeye steak: Tips, tricks (and a delicious recipe)
This delicious steak is a breeze to make at home when you know what to do
how to smoke steak raw ribeye

If you love a good steak, chances are you have a favorite cut. For those who like things a little lighter, a good filet is always lovely. The versatility of cuts like flank and skirt steak are the resourceful cook’s dream. If it’s a warm and cuddly, stick-to-your-ribs kind of meal you’re in the mood for, beautifully braised short ribs are always a comfort. The list goes on, and, yes, can be a bit daunting. The world of meat cuts is a complex one, and you aren’t alone if you’ve stood in front of the butcher counter, befuddled and overwhelmed. So we’ll make it simple for you. If it’s a lusciously meaty, gorgeously marbled, rich and tender, melt-in-your-mouth, fill-you-with-love-for-your-fellow-man kind of steak you want, go with the ribeye.

From the same section of the cow as the prime rib, a ribeye is a single steak, sliced on its own, taken from the rib section of the cow. Whereas a prime rib is the entire beef rib primal cut, meant to be roasted whole and served to many. Basically, if you were to take an entire prime rib and slice between the bones, you would be left with roughly six to eight ribeyes. However, the ways these two cuts of meat are prepared are hugely different. While a prime rib is best when slow-roasted, a single ribeye is best cooked quickly on high heat, providing a delicious sear and sinfully juicy center. There are many ways to accomplish this, but our favorite is with a good ol’ fashioned cast iron skillet like grandma used to have. 

Read more