What are the Best Methods for Cleaning a Microwave?

cleaning a microwave

Microwave ovens are a fabulously convenient kitchen tool. We can heat food rapidly without burning it, defrost frozen food quickly, and make snacks like popcorn easily and without mess.  

But when food splatters on the inside of your microwave, you may wind up with a sticky, dirty — and sometimes even smelly —  mess.  Before going into the best methods for cleaning a microwave, here are some fast facts on this handy kitchen appliance:

  •       Microwaves are in more than 90% of the homes in the United States. 
  •       Microwaves cook and heat food by turning electricity into electromagnetic waves.
  •       In 2019, U.S. retail sales of microwaves were approximately $345.3 million.  

Read on for some great tips for cleaning a microwave

cleaning a microwave

How often should you clean a microwave?

The best policy is to wipe down your microwave with a warm, damp rag after each use. But if you can’t make that happen, try to clean it at least twice a week. Splattered food can be a breeding ground for bacteria and can even become mold. In addition, every time you heat something else, it loosens the old residue that’s clinging to the interior walls. That steam can force its way into whatever you cook next, affecting its taste.

Cleaning a microwave with lemon

Here’s how to harness the natural antibacterial, odor-eliminating, and antiseptic qualities of lemons to clean your microwave. 

Begin by pouring ½ cup of water into a microwave-safe bowl. Slice a lemon in half and squeeze it into the water and then drop both halves into the bowl. Place the bowl in the microwave and microwave it on high for three minutes. Leave the microwave door closed with the bowl sitting in it for five minutes, allowing the steam to loosen the caked-on food. Using oven mitts, carefully remove the bowl and the turntable. At this point, you can use a clean dish towel to wipe your turntable clean, then the wipe microwave interior. 

For exceptionally stubborn areas, dip your dish towel into the lemon water and gently scrub until it's gone. Lastly, put your turntable back in place!

Cleaning a microwave with baking soda

Baking soda dissolves organic compounds like dirt, grease, and food, and is gently abrasive thus able to remove caked-on food without scratching your appliance’s surface. 

There are two methods to clean a microwave using baking soda. The first is to apply the baking soda directly onto the surfaces. Begin by removing the turntable and washing it with warm soapy water. Next, sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of your microwave, or use a paste made of two parts baking soda and one part water and spread it on the bottom and sides of your microwave. Then, use a damp, lint-free cloth to remove the stains and food. 

To finish, rinse your cloth, remove the baking soda mixture, and then use it to wipe down the interior, removing the baking soda residue. Lastly, dry the interior and the turntable! 

For the second method, mix a solution of two tablespoons of baking soda and one cup of water. Pour it into a microwave-safe container and then heat it in the microwave on high for three minutes. The solution will remove odors and dislodge any loose food and oils. Let the container stand in your microwave for 15 minutes and then remove it using oven mitts. Lastly, use a damp, lint-free cloth to wipe the surfaces, and dry them by air or with a cloth.

Cleaning a microwave with vinegar

 With its acidic properties, vinegar can tackle even the grimiest microwave. To begin, mix 2 1/8 cups of water with two tablespoons of vinegar in a microwave-safe bowl. Place the bowl in the microwave and heat it on high for about five minutes. When it’s finished, allow the bowl to sit in the microwave with the door closed for three minutes. Next, open the microwave door and remove the jug while wearing an oven mitt. Remove your turntable if you have one. 

Use a sponge or cloth to wipe the inside of the microwave, including the ceiling and sides. Next, wipe the turntable with the sponge and dry it using a clean cloth. Use a clean cloth to buff your microwave dry and then put the turntable back in! 

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