Getting ready to prepare a meal and opening up the microwave to find spills, splatters and an unforgettable smell is enough to kill pretty much any appetite. You can avoid this situation by cleaning your microwave regularly. It is relatively quick and simple to do and requires only a few supplies.
You Will Need
- A rag, dish towel or paper towels
- Kitchen cleaner or vinegar
- Glass cleaner or rubbing alcohol
- Lemon juice
- Liquid dish soap
- Scouring sponge or steel wool pad
The Cleaning Process
Step one: Remove and wash the tray
Almost all newer microwaves have a removable revolving tray. The easiest way to wash the tray is to remove it, place it in the sink, and wash it with warm water and dish soap. You can use a steel wool pad, a sponge or even just your hands if it’s not that dirty. Be sure to dry the tray thoroughly with a dish towel or paper towel. Leave it out on the counter while you clean the rest of the microwave.
Step two: Get rid of any stray crumbs
Before you can start the heavy duty cleaning, you need to get rid of any stray food that is inside the microwave and will get in the way of your scrubbing. Sweep out the crumbs gently by using a wet paper towel or a damp rag. You can place a dust pan in front of the microwave and sweep the crumbs into it. Then you won’t have a mess on the floor to clean up later. There’s no reason to make more work for yourself.
Step three: Remove any stuck-on food
Any food that you weren’t able to sweep out with the rag or towel, you will have to physically scrape off of the microwave’s surface. In order to avoid scratching your microwave, you can try to scratch the food off with your fingernail. You can also use a steel wool pad or the rough side of a scouring sponge. Do not use a knife or other sharp utensil.
Step four: Wash off any food or grease stains
Once you’ve removed any food that was stuck on, it should be easy to simply wipe out the rest of the microwave by using your rag or paper towels and the kitchen cleaner or a mixture of one part vinegar and two parts water. If you have a lot of grease inside the microwave that is difficult to remove with your cleaner or the vinegar solution, consider purchasing a cleaner designed specifically for this purpose, such as Simple Green microwave cleaner. Be sure to clean the inside of the roof and the inside of the door.
A note about cleaning the vents:
It is not advised that you attempt to clean the interior vents of the microwave beyond the immediately accessible surfaces, which can be cleaned with the cleaner and rag or paper towel. It is dangerous to attempt to disassemble your microwave and could result in electric shock. Please leave this task to a professional.
If you have a vent hood above your microwave, you can spray it with some WD-40.
Step five: Wipe the inside of the microwave dry
It’s important to dry the inside of the microwave thoroughly. Since it is an enclosed space, it can be prone to odor. Use a paper towel or dish towel to wipe the surface dry before closing the door. Now you can place the tray back inside the microwave.
Step six: Clean the outside of the window
In order to avoid a streaky appearance, you should clean the window of the microwave with a glass cleaner or a mixture of one part rubbing alcohol, one part vinegar and two parts water. Just apply some of the cleaner to your rag or paper towel and that should take care of it.
Step seven: Wipe down the rest of the outside
Use the vinegar and water mixture or surface cleaner that you used for the inside of the microwave to wipe the top and sides of the microwave. You can also wipe the bottom of the microwave, though that may be more of a hassle than it’s worth, unless your microwave is mounted above the stove. Be sure to dry it thoroughly.
Step eight: Deodorize the microwave
Your microwave is fairly easy to deodorize since it contains a built-in steamer. Just place a cup of water, two teaspoons of vinegar and two teaspoons of lemon juice in a small bowl and microwave it on high for about five minutes. As the water boils, it will fill the inside of the microwave with the steam from the solution and should take care of any odors. If any odor still remains, you can try scrubbing the microwave with a solution of water and baking soda.
Keeping your microwave clean
Keeping your microwave clean is fairly simple to do. Every time you use it, wipe it out using a rag or towel and kitchen cleaner or water and vinegar when you’re finished. You should be able to avoid the hassle of heavy cleanings in the future, and it only takes minutes. The hard part may be getting other household members to do the same.