Here's How Often You Need To Clean Your Microwave

While you may reluctantly scrub your microwave whenever you have an explosion or have warmed a dish that produces a lot of splatter, how often are you actually cleaning, let alone deep cleaning, this frequently-used kitchen appliance? Chances are, it may be far less than you should be.

While the recommendations vary depending on just how often you use your microwave, Martha Stewart suggested cleaning your microwave a minimum of once a week. However, that refers more so to the interior — you may want to wipe down the exterior even more frequently in order to keep germs at bay.

In a study done by Kimberly-Clark, microwave handles were deemed a bacteria hot spot, with nearly half of microwave handles testing at levels that indicated high levels of contamination. Now, that particular study was done in an office setting, where far more individuals would be using the same appliances than within an average home, but still — you may want to consider adding a microwave wipe-down to your daily countertop wipe-down during your cleaning routine.

Additional research reported by CBS Miami found traces of E.coli within a microwave that was swabbed. Therefore, if you ever use your microwave to do tasks like defrost meat, for example, you may want to consider upping that minimum once weekly number. After all, it only takes a few minutes to wipe down both the interior and exterior.

What to do for a deep clean

So you've committed to a daily wipe-down of your microwave's exterior and interior to make sure you have no undesirable bacteria lingering on the handle or the warming plate. However, you do still want to regularly do a deeper clean — House Beautiful recommended anywhere from once weekly to once monthly, so again, it depends on the frequency with which you use your microwave.

For a proper deep cleaning, as Reader's Digest outlined, you'll want to take out the turntable entirely so you can thoroughly wash it. Since your microwave is an appliance that heats up food, you want to go for food-safe, non-toxic cleaning products, according to Martha Stewart. However, that shouldn't be an issue — you can effectively clean your microwave with natural products like lemons and vinegar. If you have any grime or particles that are stubbornly clinging to the interior of your microwave, a great tip is to saturate a cloth or place a bowl of water inside the microwave and allow it to run for about a minute to create some steam. This tip means you can skip the abrasive scrubbing pads, which can potentially damage your microwave.

If you're ever tempted to skip the microwave during your cleaning routine, just think about what exactly may be lurking in the appliance. Those old food particles can attract unwanted critters or even start to mold, which just underscores how important it is to regularly clean it out.