The year is 1945 and a man named Percy Spencer is building magnetrons for the US Department of Defense. He thinks he’s working on a combat radar system, but he doesn’t yet know he’s about to change the world in a very different way.
While standing in front of an active radar set, he notices the chocolate bar in his pocket melting. Curious by nature, he decides to investigate. As a result, 20 years later we get the first relatively affordable microwave oven.
Microwaves have become a staple of any modern household since then. From reheating leftovers and takeout to preparing quick and lazy dishes, microwave ovens are a game-changer. Especially in these busy times.
The only downside is they can be difficult to clean. Especially when you forgot to clean up last Thursday’s exploded dinner and now it’s impossible to remove. But don’t worry – we’ve got you covered.
In this article:
Microwave cleaning is an important part of kitchen cleaning. Even though it can be challenging, you don’t always need to use harsh chemicals. Most of the time, you can get your microwave back to its sparkly clean and stain-free state with stuff you have lying around your kitchen.
Here’s what you need to keep microwave cleaning eco-friendly:
Everything you need is either already in your kitchen cupboard or will cost you peanuts to buy. Now we’re ready to look at some easy ways to clean your microwave in an eco-friendly way.
Aside from making salad dressing, white vinegar has plenty of cleaning applications. It contains 4-7% acetic acid which makes it a powerful cleaning agent that can help even during spring cleaning.
The easiest way to clean your microwave is by creating a 2:1 solution of water and white vinegar. Mix 2 parts water and 1 part white vinegar into a microwaveable bowl.
Once the solution is ready, place it in the microwave for 5 minutes at the highest power setting. You want the mixture to boil inside the microwave and create more steam than a sauna in a spa resort.
Don’t rush to remove the bowl when the microwave dings. Instead, let it sit for another 10 minutes while you make some tea. Allow the steam to do its magic.
The water/white vinegar mixture will loosen any food splatter inside your microwave oven. When the 10 minutes are up (and you’ve had your tea), remove the bowl.
Note: There is a chance the bowl is still hot, so be careful. Also, to be on the safe side – unplug the microwave before you proceed with the next step.
Now, all you have to do is wipe off the inside of your microwave. You can use a damp sponge or a damp microfiber cloth. Don’t forget the door.
Finally, use recyclable paper towels to dry out the inside of your microwave.
This is the easiest way to clean light to moderate messes. Especially when you’ve allowed to food particles to become a natural part of your microwave’s interior.
As for the exterior, create a 1:1 solution of water and white vinegar in a spray bottle. While the microwave is still unplugged, simply spray the exterior and let sit for a couple of minutes.
Note: Do not spray directly onto the controls. Use the cloth, sponge, or microfibre towel to wipe it clean instead and dry it out immediately.
Once your patience has run out, wipe the exterior of your microwave with a damp cloth, microfibre towel, or a sponge. Dry it out with recyclable paper towels. And you’re done.
You’ve tried the white vinegar solution, but after inspecting the results, there’s a lot to be desired. The microwave doesn’t quite sparkle, yet. Don’t worry. All is not lost.
If the white vinegar solution didn’t manage to remove all the caked-on food splatter and stains, baking soda will.
Baking soda is a great second step after using white vinegar. It will neutralise the odour and handle the tougher stains. It’s time to plug in your microwave oven again.
Pour a glass of water into a microwaveable bowl. Add 2-3 tablespoons of baking soda and stir the mix up.
Next, place the bowl in the microwave and set the timer for 5 minutes at the highest power setting. If you’re getting a sense of deja vu, we’re just getting started.
Once the microwave dings, don’t remove the bowl immediately. Let it sit for another 5-10 minutes and then remove it.
Note: As before, there is a chance the bowl is still hot, so be careful. After you remove the bowl, unplug the microwave again before you proceed. I know it’s annoying, but you can never be too careful.
Now grab your trusty sponge or microfibre cloth and clean the inside of the microwave. Don’t forget the door.
Whatever stains, gunk, or residue is left, should be easy to remove. And the odours should be gone, too.
At this point, your microwave should be clean. But if you want to really add a dash of sparkle and freshness, you can use the microwaveable bowl one last time.
Pour a glass of water into the bowl and cut the lemons or limes into even pieces. Then throw them inside the bowl and set the microwave for 2-4 minutes so you can bring the water to a boil.
When the microwave oven dings, let the lemon and water vapours do their magic for another 5 minutes. Then simply open the microwave and wipe its interior. Your entire kitchen should have a fresh, lemony smell after this.
I know it seems like a lot of work, but this is the easiest way to clean and deodorise your microwave in a natural and eco-friendly way.
Sometimes the mess is so great that natural ingredients just won’t cut it. If you can see your diet for the past three months by opening your microwave (I’m not judging), perhaps you may need something a bit stronger to get the job done.
Or perhaps you don’t like the smell of white vinegar and want to go straight for the chemicals. Either way, you can also clean your microwave oven using commercial cleaning products.
Note: Do not use bleach, commercial oven cleaners, or abrasive cleaners to clean your microwave. They can cause damage in the long run.
Here’s what you’re going to need:
Despite its name, dish soap has applications outside of doing the dishes. You can use it as a way to clean your microwave without involving hard chemicals. Here’s how to do it.
Pour a glass of warm water into a bowl and add some dishwashing liquid. Take the sponge, soak it into the bowl and stir the mix. Then get it out and squeeze it. If the water’s frothy, you’ve added the right amount. If not, add some more dish soap (don’t be stingy).
When you have the right mix, unplug the microwave, open it and remove the turntable. Wash it with soapy water, rinse it and let it dry.
Next, start cleaning and interior and the exterior of your microwave oven with a sponge. Once again, be careful with the control panel.
After you’ve scrubbed your microwave with the sponge, wipe it with a damp cloth. Finally, dry it out with recyclable paper towels.
Even tougher stains should be easy to remove using this method.
Your microwave probably has a glass door, so using a window cleaner to get rid of smudges, grease, and grime makes perfect sense. If you want to polish the glass door, then here’s the solution.
However, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Note: Most window cleaners contain ammonia due to its powerful cleaning properties. Do not use ammonia-based products to clean your microwave, especially on the inside!
Find an ammonia-free window cleaner. Take a bowl and create a solution of 1:1 warm water and window cleaner. Undiluted window cleaner is a bit harsh, so don’t use it directly on your microwave.
Dip the sponge in the solution and then squeeze it well before you begin. You don’t want the sponge to be wet. Damp is better.
Wipe the door with the sponge. Dip the sponge into the solution from time to time, but always squeeze it well before you apply it to the microwave.
Note: To avoid streaking, make sure your microwave is not exposed to direct sunlight while you’re doing this.
When you’re done, dry out the door of your microwave with a dry microfibre cloth. And you’re done – easy as pie.
Commercial microwave cleaners are a dime a dozen, but not all were created equal. Some come in the form of sprays and foams. Others take a more hands-off approach – you simply throw them in and turn your microwave on while they work on the food leftovers.
Whatever the case, commercial cleaning products should be your last resort. Not all of them are food-safe. Some products leave behind toxic fumes that can linger in your microwave for quite a while.
Before you choose your commercial microwave cleaner, do proper research. Read the reviews, make sure it’s not toxic, and check if it contains ammonia, bleach or abrasive particles.
Finally, always sanitise your microwave before using it after you’ve cleaned it with a commercial product.
Now that your microwave is squeaky clean, you want to keep it that way for as long as possible. No one wants to repeat this exercise every few days. Luckily, there’s a way to prevent your microwave from looking like the scene of a food fight.
One of the most common causes for a messy microwave is “exploding food”. We’ve all been there. After a long, hard day at work, we come home and throw last night’s chicken tikka masala leftovers into the microwave.
We go on about our business while the food gets dizzy spinning while suddenly we hear a loud boom. We dash forward to inspect the damage and what do we see – half our dinner is all over the walls of the unit.
The reason this happens is because water inside the food rapidly expands and turns to vapour. If that vapour doesn’t have an escape route, the pressure begins to increase, until it simply explodes.
This is a common tale, but you can easily prevent it. Simply store your food in microwave-safe plastic containers with a lid. This way, it’s both easier and cleaner to store your leftovers. And you can throw them in the microwave and reheat them anytime you want without worrying about exploding food.
Do this, and you’ll have to clean your microwave a lot less frequently.
Cleaning your microwave oven is no walk in the park. However, you don’t have to work your fingers to the bone if you know how to do it properly.
There are plenty of eco-friendly, non-toxic, and easy ways to clean your microwave. They’re effective most of the time.
And if eco-friendly doesn’t work for some reason, you can always move to more heavy-duty cleaning products. Just be careful when using them.
Hi, I’m Atanas - brand consultant and writer. I’m helping Samyx Cleaning create the best cleaning company blog on the Internet. Join us on our journey and learn how to live a cleaner, healthier, happier life in the process.