The Easiest Ways To Clean Your Microwave

Few kitchen appliances work as hard as your microwave, which is understandable because it does so much — from defrosting, cooking, and reheating ingredients and dishes, to helping you sanitize kitchen items like cloth rags, sponges, and certain types of chopping boards. Your microwave may even have other unexpected tricks up its metal sleeve because it can help you accomplish other chores, like proofing your bread and helping you dye fabrics.

But like all workhorses, your microwave oven is bound to become filthy, and how you clean it depends entirely on how the device picks up its stains. It's wise to begin your cleaning journey by having a few natural cleaners on hand, including lemons, white vinegar, baking soda, and dish soap. Heavy-duty commercial cleaners designed to cut through grease and grime may also come in handy if all else fails. You'll also need basic cleaning tools like sponges, microfiber cloths, and paper towels.

Make steam is your best friend

Nice hot steam is your best friend when cleaning the inside of your microwave. Steam is so vital to the process that some ovens now have a "steam clean" function. This is because steam quickly rehydrates dried-up food that becomes stuck to the walls of your unit, making it much easier to mop up.

One quick way to achieve a spotless microwave is to soak some paper towels in water before microwaving them on high until your device's walls are moist (per The Maids). Because the steam this method produces softens stubborn food stains, you won't need an expensive model with a fancy cleaning function to eradicate grime.

Lemons can also help you clean your microwave while deodorizing it. Leaving a mix of lemon juice and water to cook in the microwave on high for five minutes and then having the bowl sit in the oven for 10 minutes will give you a solution you can use to wipe down both the inside and the outside of the device. But if lemons are nowhere to be found, two cups of water and two tablespoons of vinegar heated the same way will do the trick.

Keeping your microwave oven clean is important

If all this sounds like it might be too much for you, consider the consequences. Most homeowners recognize that the longer you put off cleaning something, the harder it is to do it when you finally get around to it. Also, common sense dictates that a dirty microwave that's covered in dried food isn't just an eyesore but a petri dish where bacteria thrives.

However, it's important to be safe before you begin the cleaning process. Unplug the machine if you don't need to use the power, and never use strong, potentially dangerous chemicals such as ammonia or bleach to clean your microwave. Such products can leave behind chemical residue that can contaminate your food.

Remember: Cleaning the outside of your microwave is also essential. Buttons, knobs, and handles get incredibly dirty due to daily use, so try to wipe them down every day. Doing this will ensure germs don't spread, especially since it is a high-touch surface.