How to Clean a Microwave with Vinegar

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From popping your favorite snack to warming up last night’s leftovers, your microwave is one of your kitchen’s hardest working appliances. But all it takes is one misstep – forgetting to cover the bowl when you heat up some soup or leaving your microwave popcorn in for a few seconds too long – to turn a clean microwave into a messy disaster. Luckily, cleaning up your microwave is pretty simple. In fact, all you need to do is grab some vinegar! If you’d like to know how to clean your microwave with vinegar, keep scrolling to see how easy it is.

See also: Is the fridge next? Check out our guide to cleaning you fridge here!

How to Use Vinegar to Clean the Inside of the Microwave

Cleaning a microwave with vinegar and water

Whether your microwave has stuck-on food on the walls or a weird smell inside, vinegar can help. To clean the inside of your microwave with vinegar, start by combining one cup of white vinegar with one cup of water in a microwave save bowl or cup. If you’re not a fan of the smell of vinegar, try adding the juice of one lemon or lime to the mixture to freshen your microwave as you clean.

Place the bowl in the microwave and set it to cook on high for five minutes. This will give the water and vinegar mixture plenty of time to boil, causing steam to fill the appliance and loosen stuck-on residue from inside.

After the cooking time is up, allow the bowl to rest in the microwave for at least 5 minutes to give the steam time to penetrate all the stuck-on residue. Then, carefully remove the bowl from the microwave and pour out the hot liquid.

Remove the rotating plate from inside the microwave and wash it with warm, soapy water. Then, grab a wet sponge and start wiping the inside of the microwave. Start at the top of the microwave and work your way down the sides and to the floor, wiping crumbs from the floor and rinsing your sponge as needed.

Clean the Microwave Door with Vinegar

Wiping the outside of a microwave with vinegar

After the inside of your microwave is clean, it’s time to tackle the door and window. Vinegar is great for removing grease and stuck-on residue from those areas, too.

Make a mixture of one-part vinegar and one-part water. Dip your sponge into the mixture and wipe down the door and window to remove residue and grease from the area. If you have stubborn stuck-on food, dip the sponge in a small amount of baking soda to add some abrasive power to your cleaning tool. Scrub the stubborn areas, as well as around the door frame and rubber gasket with the baking soda. Finish by wiping the entire door with a clean, damp cloth to remove the baking soda and vinegar from the door.

Use Vinegar to Clean the Exterior

How to scrub the inside of a microwave

Since the handles and buttons on your microwave can get dirty quickly, you need to disinfecting and grease-fighting power of vinegar to get them clean.

Combine equal parts vinegar and water in a bowl or spray bottle and add a small amount of lemon juice or your favorite essential oil to freshen the cleaning solution, if needed. Dip a sponge into the solution or spray it directly on the exterior of the microwave. Wipe the solution all over the door, window, handle, and buttons, scrubbing dirty and grimy areas. Follow with a dry cloth to remove the cleaning solution from the exterior of the microwave.

If you have a stainless-steel microwave, finish by wiping the metal areas with a cloth dampened with a small amount of rubbing alcohol to remove streaks and fingerprints from the exterior of the appliance.

Remove Odors from Your Microwave Using Vinegar

Cleaning a microwave using vinegar cleaner

The combination of lemon and vinegar is also a great way to refresh your microwave and remove stubborn cooking odors.

Combine ½ cup water, ½ cup vinegar, and the zest and juice of one lemon in a glass bowl or measuring cup. Bring the mixture to a boil in the microwave and allow it to boil for several minutes on high. Leave the liquid in the microwave until it is completely cool, then remove the cup from the appliance. If steam residue remains on the inside of the microwave, use a dry towel to wipe the interior of the microwave.

Tips for Cleaning Your Microwave with Vinegar

Natural lemon and vinegar microwave cleaner
Tips for cleaning the microwave plate

Boiling liquid in your microwave can sometimes be a safety hazard. Since bubbles aren’t able to form on a smooth surface, like the edges of a glass cup or bowl, an explosion of hot liquid may occur when the bowl is moved suddenly. To prevent this from happening when cleaning your microwave with vinegar, place a toothpick or wooden spoon in the bowl of water and vinegar. The wood will create a place for the bubbles to form as the water boils, preventing an explosion when you remove the bowl from the microwave.


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