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If you struggle with cleaning your microwave, we’ve got you covered. Check out these 7 Best microwave cleaning methods, many of which use basic household staples that you can easily find around the house.

We also answer some of the Internet’s most popular questions in the FAQ section at the end.

Skip to the Conclusion

1. White Distilled Vinegar

Distilled white vinegar is ideal for cleaning a microwave oven due to its low acidic pH levels and deodorizing benefits.

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Quick Instructions: Using white distilled vinegar to clean a microwave can be done by diluting it with water and spraying it onto the surface of a microwave for cleaner. Try a 1:1 ratio of water and vinegar or to your desired strength. Make sure the space you’re in is well-ventilated, especially if you have kids or pets (i.e., birds around).

Tip: Vinegar can be beneficial for greasy buildup or food stains that are more alkaline.

2. Dish Soap

A good degreasing dish soap can be perfect for deep-cleaning the inside of a microwave oven, especially when using types that have grease-cutting and fast-working benefits, like Dawn Platinum or similar.

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Quick Instructions: Use warm, soapy water and a sponge or cloth to wipe the interior of the microwave surfaces and allow it to sit if necessary. Wipe clean with a lightly damp cloth.

Psst… Looking for more cleaning tips using Dawn dish soap? Check out our post on Top 10 Helpful Tricks for Using Dawn Dish Soap next (new tab).

3. Steam

The power of steam can be highly beneficial when cleaning a microwave oven—especially when dealing with tough cooked-on messes.

  • Handheld Steam Cleaner: Although not always the most convenient method, handheld steam cleaners can often work well on significantly tough or baked-on stains in a microwave oven. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best way to clean a microwave using their device.
  • Bowl or Cup Method: Using steam to clean a microwave oven can be achieved by running a bowl or cup filled with water through the microwave for a few minutes. Then allow it to steam the microwave with the door shut for another few minutes before allowing it to cool. Clean with soapy water or plain warm water and a sponge or cloth as usual.
  • Sponge Method: A lightly damp or soapy sponge can be run through the microwave for 10-15 seconds and then allowed to cool off while steam-cleaning the inside of the microwave to soften cooked-on messes. Some people do this to steam clean their sponges but certain studies have shown that this may not be a great way to save a sponge from bacteria.

4. Microfiber & Water

Sometimes, plain water is all you’ll ever need to clean the inside of a microwave oven.

Quick Instructions: Our favorite method for cleaning a microwave oven with only water is by using a microfiber cloth that’s been lightly dampened with warm water.

Microfiber cloths are great for picking up spills, stuck-on messes, and crumbs. They can also be ideal for using to clean a microwave on a routine basis, whether daily, weekly, or bi-weekly. 

Psst… Click here for tips on creating a microwave cleaning schedule or routine.

5. Baking Soda

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People often use a paste made of water and baking soda to tackle hardened messes inside a microwave oven. Baking soda can also be helpful for natural whitening when cleaning the inside of a microwave.

Simply mix water and baking soda together to form the desired paste-like consistency and gently rub onto the interior surface or wherever tough stains may be working.

Wipe thoroughly clean when finished.

Tip: If you decide to use vinegar and baking soda, try to use them separately to avoid them canceling each other out.

6. Lemons & Limes

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Lemons and limes can be ideal for tackling greasy messes and food odors, thanks to their low-pH levels and refreshing aromatic properties.

  • Slices: Some people may use lemon or lime wedges to clean a microwave. Sliced lemons or limes can be good for scrubbing greasy, stuck-on spills or splatters.
  • Dilute Juice or Juice Concentrate: Diluted lemon or lime juice can be used as a spray or inside a bowl for steaming the interior of a microwave, as shown under the Steam Method.

Tip: If you use a wedge or slice of lemon or lime, try throwing it down the garbage disposal with running water once you’re finished using it in the microwave. Run it for at least a minute in the disposal until it passes through to help clean and deodorize.

7. Store-bought Microwave Cleaners

Store-bought microwave cleaning products and tools can be convenient for seriously baked-on messes, particularly in situations where a microwave hasn’t been cleaned in a long time.  

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Popular Store-Bought Microwave Cleaning Products

Tip: If you decide to use store-bought microwave cleaning products, make sure to follow the instructions to avoid dangers when using high heat and to ensure the product is being used efficiently. Wipe the microwave clean to remove any product residue.

Conclusion

Sometimes, the best method for cleaning a microwave is to stay on top of doing so consistently.

Fortunately, you can usually get the job done using staples around the house, such as some of these most popular microwave cleaning methods.

Best Microwave Cleaning Methods

You can also find more help in our microwave cleaning FAQ section listed below.

About Cleaning The Microwave Oven — FAQS

Can I use Lysol to clean a microwave?

The Lysol brand does not recommend using their product to clean the inside of a microwave. Since microwaves generally run at a high enough temperature, the chances are good that most germs will be killed inside the microwave naturally with regular use.

Try using warm, soapy water and a sponge or steam-cleaning method instead if you feel your microwave needs a deep cleaning. Antibacterial dish soap may also be a better alternative if you really need to disinfect your unit.

Can I use disinfecting wipes to clean a microwave?

While some disinfecting wipe brands may say that you can use their product to clean the interior of a microwave, not every brand agrees and will recommend against doing so.

Some good alternatives for mild disinfecting might include using an antibacterial dish soap or a steam-cleaning machine. However, in most cases, keeping the microwave clean and running it as normal should be enough to kill most germs.

Is it safe to use bleach in a microwave?

Most manufacturers recommend avoiding the use of bleach to clean the inside of a microwave.

Baking soda paste and other microwave-cleaning products will likely be more suitable for tougher stains or cleaning jobs, particularly when whitening or disinfecting benefits are desired inside a microwave oven.

Can I use Magic Erasers in a microwave?

The Mr. Clean brand shows through their videos and other content that you can use a Magic Eraser to clean your microwave and get rid of stuck-on messes.

However, we generally recommend wiping the surface of the interior of your microwave oven clean when finished scrubbing. This is because Magic Erasers—made up of a plastic known as melamine—break down with use, leaving particles behind. Not always ideal for food-prone surfaces!

What should you not clean your microwave with?

While this can vary based on the situation, product, or microwave oven, it’s generally good to avoid using items such as bleach, Clorox and Lysol wipes, hydrogen peroxide, or certain flammable cleaners.

Either way, make sure whatever you use is marked microwave-safe and wipe clean with water and a sponge or cloth. You can also contact a product manufacturer directly to ask ahead of time.

Is it safe to clean inside your microwave?

Yes, it’s safe to clean the inside of a microwave providing that you use microwave-safe products and methods, such as those listed in this post.

Try to avoid flammable or reactive ingredients along with bleach, hydrogen peroxide, disinfecting products, etc.

Can you use Clorox wipes to clean the inside of a microwave oven?

Per the manufacturer’s website, Clorox wipes should not be used to clean the inside of a microwave oven. However, they do say you can clean the outside of a microwave using one.

Can you use bleach to clean the inside of a microwave oven?

Bleach should be avoided when cleaning the inside of a microwave oven. This generally includes using cleaning products listed with bleach in the active ingredients.

Psst… Need help getting into the habit of cleaning your microwave daily or on a more consistent basis? Read How to Keep a Microwave Clean Longer and More Easily next.




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