Cleaning Your Microwave: 5 Tips that Will Save You Time and Effort

Use these five tips to help keep your microwave and your kitchen sparkling clean.

By: Amanda Formaro

A dirty microwave is generally one of those out of sight, out of mind chores. That is, until you need to heat something up and you open the door to expose the ugly truth. It doesn't take long for food to splatter and stick to the interior of your microwave. Cleaning it up is a snap with these simple tips.

1. Prevent Spills
When heating food in the microwave, cover it first with plastic wrap or paper towel. When food heats quickly, it can sometimes pop, causing messy splatters all over. Covering food helps keep the mess to a minimum.

2. Wipe Down Microwave Daily
You wash your dishes, wipe down your counters and clean off your stovetop daily, so why not the inside of the microwave? It's closed, that's why. Make an effort to include the inside of your microwave in your daily routine to keep it sparkling clean.

3. Use Simple Steam for Dried on Messes
Cleaning the microwave doesn't mean you have to haul out the hammer and chisel or even the chemical cleaners from under the sink. There's a simple solution that takes just a few minutes and costs almost nothing.

Fill a glass bowl or 4-cup measuring cup half full with water. Place inside the microwave and heat on high for five minutes. Leave the door shut for a few minutes more to allow the steam to really do its thing. Use oven mitts to carefully remove the container of hot water. Next, use a paper towel or damp sponge to wipe down the inside of the microwave. The grime and stuck-on food particles should wipe out easily.

4. Deodorize Your Microwave:

  • Add 1 tablespoon white vinegar to the water before heating. Vinegar has a very strong smell — 1 tablespoon is all you need!
  • Place a tablespoon of water on a microwave safe plate. Halve a lemon and place cut side down on the plate. Heat for one minute. Remove lemons and continue with water heating method above.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to the water before heating.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of bottled lemon juice to the water before heating if you don't have fresh lemons.

5. Safety First
Mishandling hot water from the microwave can result in burns. To be safe always:

  • Use oven mitts to remove the dish of hot water from the oven.
  • Use a bowl or measuring cup with a wide opening, which allows steam to escape. Pent up steam can have explosive results.
  • Stand clear of the microwave door while heating.

A daily wipe down of your appliances not only keeps your kitchen looking clean and fresh, it keeps bacteria at bay as well.

Amanda is a mother of four, craft designer and recipe developer who also runs several sites, including Crafts by Amanda, Cooking with Amanda and the Secret Recipe Club. Her work has appeared on and as well as in Parents, Redbook and Mixing Bowl magazines among others.



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