Our microwave oven is our go-to appliance when we want to warm up or defrost something fast. This heating method, however, often results in splatters, hard-to-scrub food stains and odours. Good thing it doesn’t take much to clean your microwave. These cleaning techniques should help you handle every nook and cranny.
When to Clean Your Microwave Oven
Learning how to clean microwave ovens is not that difficult. However, it’s always best to clean them habitually after each use. You see, these kitchen appliances work like your conventional oven. Food spills and splatters left inside will bake and burn each time you use your microwave.
A heavy food build-up makes it harder to clean. Bacteria or moulds may also begin to grow. And eventually, the grime can affect your microwave’s heating ability. A quick wipe every day with a damp cloth should do. Then you can deep clean it once or twice every month, depending on use. Here are some tips on how to do it.
How to Clean Your Microwave Interior
Have you tried steam cleaning your microwave oven with lemons? You can also use orange, lime or vinegar. It’s an efficient way to loosen food splatter for a quick clean-up. The citrus smell helps remove odours, too.
- PREP. Get a microwave-safe bowl and fill it with 1 cup of water. Squeeze some fresh citrus juice of your choice into the water and put the sliced fruit in as well. You can replace citrus juice with a few tablespoons of apple cider or white vinegar if you like.
- STEAM. Place the bowl into the microwave, then heat it on high for a few minutes. The goal here is to let the citrus water solution boil and create steam inside the oven.
- WIPE. Once done, turn off the microwave and let the bowl cool down inside for about 5 minutes. Afterwards, grab a sponge or microfiber cleaning cloth, dip it into your citrus or vinegar solution and wipe away food debris and leftover residue.
- WASH. If your microwave has a glass plate, hand wash it or place it in the dishwasher, following your manual’s cleaning instructions.
How to Remove Stains and Baked-on Food
Sometimes, it will take more than steam cleaning to remove those stubborn stains and dried-on food particles stuck in your microwave. In this case, you’ll be needing cleaning reinforcements, like baking soda and some elbow grease.
- MICROWAVE BASE. Use a spray bottle to mist the stained spots, then sprinkle some baking soda. Once the foaming reaction stops, use a damp cloth or sponge to wipe and clean.
- MICROWAVE WALL. Combine enough water and baking soda to create a paste. Dip a dry sponge or cloth into the mixture, then apply it to stained areas. Let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing it away with a damp microfiber cleaning cloth or sponge.
Vinegar and baking soda are excellent natural ingredients for house cleaning. Aside from your microwave, you can also use them for your fridge, cookware, sink drains and more.
How to Clean Your Microwave Door
An immense food splatter can affect even your microwave door. Also, it’s a high-touch surface where grease, smudge and fingerprints can accumulate. So, make sure to clean this part as well.
- GREASY WINDOW. Combine half a cup of vinegar with half a cup of water in a spray bottle. Spritz the oven window, then use a damp cleaning rag to wipe and clean.
- HEAVY GREASE BUILD-UP. Mix 1 cup of hot water with a teaspoon of dish soap. Dip your cleaning cloth or sponge into the solution. Then wipe the area with soapy water. Use a clean cloth dipped in water to rinse.
- FILTHY RUBBER GASKET. If your microwave door has a rubber seal, dip a damp sponge or cloth into some baking soda. Scrub the lining to remove food gunk and stains. Wipe away baking soda residue.
- GRIMY CONTROL PANEL. Spray the area with the same water and vinegar solution you’ve used for cleaning your greasy microwave window. Then wipe it clean with a dry microfiber cloth. For everyday cleaning, you can also clean the panel with disinfecting wipes. Let the surface dry, then buff with a soft cloth.
How to Remove Lingering Food Odours
This one is a common problem after reheating your leftover seafood dish, cooking popcorn or burning something. Here are ways how some natural cleaning products can prevent your microwave walls from absorbing the stench.
- AERATE. The fastest method to remove light off-odours is to leave the microwave door open after use and air it out.
- BAKING SODA. Place a small glass bowl of baking soda into your microwave, then close the door to let it absorb the bad smell. Alternatively, you can combine five teaspoons of baking soda with half a cup of water in a bowl, then microwave it for a few minutes. Let the bowl stay inside for an hour to remove the odour.
- CITRUS PEEL. Save your lemon or orange peels, then place them in a bowl of water. Microwave them for a few minutes. Leave them inside the microwave overnight or for up to 12 hours.
- COFFEE. Combine coffee grounds and water in a small bowl or cup. Microwave it for 10 minutes, adding more water as needed every 2 minutes.
- VANILLA EXTRACT. In a microwave-safe bowl, stir in 4 teaspoons of vanilla extract to half a cup of water. Microwave it to boil the mixture and create steam. Let the bowl sit inside for about 30 minutes before wiping the microwave clean.
Check out this article for more tips to free your kitchen from unpleasant cooking smells.
How to Keep Your Microwave Clean
While it’s easy to clean your microwave, the best microwave cleaning hack of all is to keep your cleaning time to a minimum. These tips should keep your appliance clean and fresh-smelling for longer.
- Cover your food with a paper plate, paper towel or microwave cover to control splatters and odour.
- If possible, avoid putting smelly or greasy foods in the microwave. Or, give your microwave a quick clean afterwards.
- Use a low power setting when heating splatter-prone food, then clean spills immediately.
- Steer clear of any abrasive cleaner or harsh chemicals.
- Include your microwave in your daily cleaning tasks and spring-cleaning routine.