How to Efficiently Clean a Microwave

Use Baking Soda, Fruit Juice, or Vinegar

Built-in microwave oven
Gunay Mutlu/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images

If you haven't kept on top of cleaning your microwave, it's likely that you've developed a buildup of dried on food. In fact, if it's been coagulating for some time, the tidbits may have hardened which makes it that much more difficult to remove. Messy food spatters aren't just unattractive and smell bad: they actually decrease the efficiency of your microwave. Luckily, you can clean the mess up in your microwave with one of the following easy and simple solutions.

Baking Soda Solution

Baking soda is a good cleaning solution for the microwave when it comes to general maintenance. Mix four tablespoons of baking soda to one quart of warm water and use it to wash down the inside of the microwave oven.

To get rid of baked-on food, simply mix a few tablespoons of baking soda with water in a microwave-safe cup. Then, boil it in the microwave for a few minutes. The insides of the microwave will become damp and easy to clean with a paper towel or dishcloth. This method will also remove odors that may be clinging to your microwave oven.

Tip: Just as you store baking soda in the refrigerator to control odor, you can keep a box of baking soda in the microwave in between uses.

Fruit Juice Solution

An easy and all-natural way to clean the microwave simply involves fruit juice. Find out how to quickly eliminate grime in the microwave with this fix:

  1. Put one cup of water and a chopped-up lemon, lime or orange inside a microwave-safe bowl that holds about four cups.
  1. Place it in the microwave. Turn it on high for a few minutes or until you see that the solution is boiling and the window gets steamy.
  2. Let it sit to cool for 15 minutes. Then remove the bowl and wipe inside the microwave.
  3. Use a sponge (dampened with water only) to clean the gasket around the door. If the window looks greasy, clean it with a mixture comprised of half water and half vinegar.

    Vinegar Solution

    Vinegar is a great cleaning agent, as it is a disinfectant and deodorizer that can cut grease. Clean your microwave with vinegar in these four steps:

    1. Pour equal parts water and vinegar in a bowl. Using half a cup of each is a good rule of thumb. However, if your appliance requires a deeper and longer cleaning, use one cup of vinegar and one cup of water.
    2. It is recommended to place a toothpick or another small wooden object into the mixture. This will minimize the potential for an explosion (which can be caused by vinegar.) With prevention, bubbles will form on the toothpick or wooden object. This allows it to boil without exploding if the bowl is suddenly moved. 
    3. Heat the mixture for five to 10 minutes. The dirtier the microwave is, the longer the cleaning time will be. When the time is complete, leave the bowl inside for a minute or two for additional steam to build up.
    4. Use oven mitts to remove the heated bowl. Next, dip a sponge into the mixture and scrub the microwave. Stuck-on food should come off easily with just a few swipes.