The Easy Way to Clean Your Microwave

using vinegar to clean a microwave

The Spruce / Jenelle Botts

Are you tired of battling all of the baked-on food in your microwave? You can finally put away all of those expensive cleaners and elbow grease because an easy solution is available: Vinegar is the answer. Just fill a microwave-safe bowl with a mixture of half vinegar and half water, and nuke it for two minutes on high. Then dip a sponge into the vinegar-water solution, and use it to wipe all that stuck-on food off of the walls of the microwave. It'll come right off—no strong-arming required.

Why This Works

Heating the vinegar and water steams all of the food spatter off, while the acetic acid in the vinegar sanitizes and deodorizes your microwave. You've heard of steam cleaning a carpet; this process is steam cleaning for your microwave. And it's so effective, you may just find yourself cleaning your microwave more often.

Benefits of Cleaning With Vinegar

There are many benefits of cleaning your microwave—or many other household appliances—with vinegar, including that vinegar:

  • Is inexpensive
  • Has no harsh chemicals or fumes
  • Is an effective sanitizer
  • Removes odors, rather than covering them up
  • Is environmentally friendly

Warnings and Tips

The vinegar-water solution will be very hot after heating. Wear gloves or use an oven mitt to protect your hands.

If you still have vinegar left over after cleaning your microwave, use it to cut through the grease on your stovetop and kitchen cabinets and even to clean the oily fingerprints on your stainless steel appliances. Vinegar is an excellent degreaser. Hot vinegar is even better.

But don't put that vinegar bottle away just yet. Use it to clean your kitchen and bathrooms from top to bottom, dust your furniture, and wash your windows. Then use it to clean and freshen your drains, wash your laundry, and deep clean your carpet. Once you discover vinegar's hidden cleaning power, you'll find that you have very little use for all of those pricey store-bought cleaners. In addition to its cleaning ability, there are many other uses for vinegar. It really is versatile stuff. No household should be without a bottle (or two).

Create Scented Vinegar

You can even give vinegar a more pleasant smell by making scented vinegar if you aren't a fan of its natural odor. You have a wide choice of scents to add, many from your own kitchen or garden. You only need to imagine what scent you like best: Think of roses, lavender, rosemary, mint, lemon peels, orange peels, lime peels, and cinnamon sticks.


Avoid using dark-colored herbs, as these could change the color of the vinegar and potentially stain the surfaces you are going to use it to clean.

lemons and vinegar in the microwave

The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

Vinegar Swap-Out

If you're running a little low on vinegar, try cleaning with baking soda. That box of baking soda sitting in your pantry has just as many uses as vinegar. And when you combine the two, there are very few messes you can't tackle.

using vinegar to clean the microwave

The Spruce / Sanja Kostic