How to Clean a Microwave

03/10/2012

Your microwave oven, possibly one of the most used appliances in your home, is used to cook food, reheat leftovers, pop popcorn defrost meat and even bake cookies. All of that time spent in use means that your microwave is also one of the least clean things in your kitchen.

Sticky sauces and burnt gravies make scrubbing your microwave a big chore. In most households, cleaning the refrigerator is the only job that we enjoy less than cleaning the microwave oven. But you do not have to dread the chore anymore; cleaning your microwave oven is simple if you know a few tricks.

The Steam Trick

  • Start with a small bowl of water. Make sure the bowl is microwave-safe, obviously
  • Fill the bowl about halfway with water then set it on the turntable inside your microwave oven.
  • Press the button for the microwave’s highest level of heat and set the timer for about 10 minutes.

This will be just enough time to allow the water to boil and steam inside the oven. That steam is going to make cleaning the oven much easier, even without the addition of any chemicals or cleaning products.

You can add a bit of lemon juice or some freshly-squeezed lemon to the bowl of water before you heat it. The lemon has just enough acidity to make that really stuck-on food a little easier to remove than just plain water.

Once your microwave is freshly steamed, carefully remove the bowl of hot water.
Use a soft cloth to wipe down the entire interior of the microwave. (Another tip- I like to use one of those microfiber cleaning cloths for wiping the inside and outside down. The microfibers are abrasive but don’t scratch the nice finish, and you don’t have to do quite as much scrubbing.) Remove the cooking tray or plate and wash that in the sink or even in your dishwasher. The cooking tray is generally the easiest part of the microwave oven to clean, so that will only take a second.

Work Fast

Wipe the inside of the microwave thoroughly because once the steam dries, it will be more difficult to remove stuck-on foods. Wipe the inside of the microwave dry and you are finished with your cleaning project.

If your microwave is really dirty, there are a few simple tips to get it shining again. Instead of lemon and water or just plain water, steam a bowl of white vinegar and water in the microwave.

Vinegar is a wonderful natural cleaning solution that is even environmentally friendly. Vinegar will help you to remove any food that does not come off with just plain water.

You can also try cleaning the inside of the microwave oven with a specialized cleaning solution of water and Dawn dish soap. Heating this solution will also make food removal easier, but remember that you are using chemicals in the oven that will eventually contain your food.

Another tip- I like to use one of those microfiber cloths for wiping the inside and outside down. The microfibers are abrasive but don’t scratch the nice finish, and you don’t have to do quite as much scrubbing.

 

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