My Secret to Cleaning a Dirty Microwave in Less Than 30 Seconds

My Secret to Cleaning a Dirty Microwave in Less Than 30 Seconds
Photo by New Africa / Shutterstock.com

Want to clean stuck-on gunk off your microwave without scrubbing? Just steam it away, the internet says.

Just don’t ask the internet what liquid to use to create that steam.

Some sites say you should microwave vinegar to create steam. Others say a mix of vinegar and water. Bloggers after a natural alternative insist on lemon juice. One popular site says to mix hand-squeezed lemon juice with water — and then toss in the lemon itself, too.

Here’s the thing: It’s not about the liquid. It’s the steam that loosens up caked-on crud, making it easy to wipe the dirtiest of microwaves clean.

So the only liquid you need to clean a dirty microwave in seconds — no elbow grease necessary — is the water that runs from your kitchen faucet.

I’ve tried all the above-mentioned liquids and more, and the result was the same with each liquid. I figured this could be because I clean my microwave often enough that it never gets that dirty. But my husband recently managed to cake the inside with who knows what, allowing me to really put plain ol’ water to the test.

Lo and behold, the microwave was good as new less than 30 seconds after I removed the steaming bowl of water and picked up a rag. Here’s how I did it:

1. The turntable

My microwave turntable is glass, so I just toss it in the dishwasher, as we advise in “17 Unusual Things You Can Clean in a Dishwasher.”

The turntable was caked with food residue this time, but I still didn’t bother to scrub it beforehand. The dishwasher always does the job on its own.

2. The inside of the microwave

Steam doesn’t do the trick if you don’t create enough of it for long enough, I’ve found.

Start with a large microwave-safe bowl, preferably a clear one. I use a 4-cup Pyrex dish. You want something that will allow for a good amount of water surface area.

Fill it with water — but not too full. You don’t want steaming-hot water sloshing onto you when you remove the bowl from the microwave.

Next, microwave it long enough that the water comes to a boil. For me, this is five to six minutes — during which I go find something else to clean.

If you use a clear bowl, you should see the water bubbling when you open the microwave afterward. Be sure to use oven mitts when removing the bowl from the microwave and setting it aside.

Now it’s time to wipe down the microwave. I use my beloved microfiber cleaning cloths after spritzing the inside walls with a homemade multipurpose cleaner, a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water.

It takes me a few passes with the cloth to wipe out all the gunk if the microwave is really dirty, but that’s about all the time or effort it takes.

3. The outside of the microwave

Here, I also use microfiber cloths and homemade cleaner. I give the outside one spritz and wipe it clean in seconds.

While I’ve found rags and sponges clean the inside of a microwave equally well, microfiber is key on the outside. Microfiber cloths effortlessly erase greasy fingerprints and other smudges from shiny surfaces like plastic, glass and stainless steel.

Once I discovered this, I invested in a few dozen cleaning cloths. I store some under every sink and use them to clean every surface of my home.

Do you have any tips for easy cleaning? Share them with us by commenting below or over on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Popular Articles

16 Uses for WD-40 That Save Money, Time or Headaches
16 Uses for WD-40 That Save Money, Time or Headaches

WD-40 is handy in a lot more situations than you likely realize.

The Secret to Getting Dollar Store Items for Free
The Secret to Getting Dollar Store Items for Free

If you know where to look, you can score freebies at the dollar store regularly.

8 Restaurant Chains With Discounts for Diners Age 50 or Older
8 Restaurant Chains With Discounts for Diners Age 50 or Older

Some restaurant chains offer great senior discounts. Here’s what you need to know.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Comments