How to Remove Stains in the Microwave


Question: “I just bought a house, the microwave has old stains on the inside. The inside looks like stainless. What can I use to get the stains off?”

Cooked-on stains can be a real nuisance in the microwave. When left for too long, they become hard to remove. Over time, the stains become more stubborn and require some pre-cleaning steps to help loosen the stain before trying to remove it. If you have old, cooked-on stains in your microwave, try the following steps.

Loosen Tough Stains for Easier Removal

When stains sit in the microwave through days or even months of use, they permeate the surface and become very hard to remove. Here are some simple measures that can help release the stain for easier removal.

You Will Need:

  • Microwaveable bowl
  • Baking soda
  • Lemon Juice
  • Water

The Cleaning Process:

  1. Fill the bowl with hot water.
  2. Add either a few dashes of lemon juice or baking soda to the water. If neither of these items are available, you can try plain water as well.
  3. Place the bowl in the microwave and heat on high for five minutes. If using plain water, heat until it is boiling. The steam from the water will help to soften the stain.
  4. Remove the bowl and wipe down the interior with a clean cloth.
  5. If stains persist on the walls, repeat the above steps or try using one of the methods below.

Removing Stubborn Microwave Stains

Often after removing the majority of a stain, you may still be left with yellowed areas inside on the walls. These require a different technique that’s quite simple.

You Will Need:

  • Water
  • Acetone nail polish remover
  • Soft cloth, sponge or cotton balls
  • Soap

The Cleaning Process:

  1. Begin by removing as much of the stain as possible following the instructions above.
  2. Wipe the yellow areas with the nail polish remover until the yellow stain is completely gone.
  3. Wash the entire inside with soap and water to remove any traces of the nail polish remover.
  4. Once the yellow stains are gone, this should eliminate any odor as well. If you still have odor issues, simply wipe down the walls with a water/vinegar solution.
  5. Allow the interior to dry and it should be good as new!

Using Chemical Cleaners

Sometimes stubborn stains require a cleaner with more power. Here are some chemical cleaners that are readily available at your local store and have been found helpful by others.

  • Mr. Clean Magic Erasers – These pretreated sponges have a reputation for cleaning just about anything. Simply wet the sponge and wipe the area clean.
  • Kitchen and Bathroom CLR – This bathroom cleaner has also been found useful for removing all types of stains from hard surfaces. Be sure to thoroughly clean your microwave before using again to ensure that all traces of the chemicals have been removed.
  • 409 – Spray this cleaner on and then allow it to work for about an hour before wiping off.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • To freshen up your microwave, try soaking citrus peels in water and boiling the combination for 4 minutes. Leave the door closed for 12 hours.
  • If an odor lingers inside of the microwave, you can also try boiling a couple of tablespoons of coffee with water in a coffee mug for two minutes.


  1. Hassan says:

    I tried the method you said, and it doesn’t work. Once, I cooked chocolate cake. Would using nail polish remove it or should I use vinegar once again?

  2. Maggie says:

    My stain is on the glass-covered mesh door on the microwave. I have tried the Magic Eraser – no good. Help!

  3. Melanie says:

    You could try baking soda or ammonia.

    Source: – How to Remove Burn Marks from Glass Cookware

  4. Margaret says:

    The fingernail polish removed worked like a champ! First thing this morning, I cleaned the microwave with hot water sitting for 10 minutes in the machine. Then, I didn’t know what to do with the yellow stains. Looked up this site and I was so impressed that the nail polish remover worked – thanks for the advice!

  5. Lisa says:

    I used nail polish remover to remove a stain in the microwave and it actually worded; I am totally impressed.

  6. Carmen says:

    My microwave had a burn stain. So, I used the nail polish remover and it came out, but so did a bit of the paint on my microwave! So now, instead of the stain, I can see the hole where I’ve scrubbed out the stain.

  7. Dianne says:

    Will this help curry stains? I am worried just in case I use nail polish remover that everything I use in the microwave will taste like it.

  8. Maren says:

    Yep, curry stains are the worst. That’s what brought me to this page. I was heating a bag of lentil curry when it tipped over and sprayed the inside of the microwave. Nothing removed it but the acetone. Be quick with its application, and be even more quick with a wet paper towel to remove the acetone. Letting it linger may damage the surface of the microwave. I’m happy with the results of the acetone! Thanks!

  9. Craig says:

    Someone had a small fire in my new microwave heating a yam wrapped in paper towels, leaving a black, smelly, smoke residue on the white interior. None of the suggestions I read worked. Then, I tried Oxy Clean powder as a paste on a small scrubbing sponge (the Teflon-safe plastic type). Scrub, wait, scrub some more, wait, repeat, repeat…looks like new!! Rinse with a wet cloth, repeat, repeat…to get all the Oxy Clean out. I kept the turntable drive covered so nothing would seep inside and gum it up.

  10. Jo says:

    My husband burnt popcorn in the microwave when I was out of town for several weeks – I tried all the above, three times with the acetone nail polisher remover, and nothing worked. Even trying other products that claim to remove “tough stubborn stains” – I’m at my wits end. I just purchased this microwave in December.

  11. Beverly O says:

    I have the same problem with popcorn and tea stains; nothing mentioned has worked. I am hoping OxiClean does something.

  12. Vivian says:

    About 4 weeks ago, someone cooked spinach in the microwave. I guess it blew up and no one wiped it. Since I do not use the microwave often, I did not notice this for nearly 2 weeks later. I cleaned the microwave, but now I have green stains from the spinach sitting there so long. Any suggestions?

  13. Katie says:

    Try spraying some bleach on or leaving a bowl of ammonia inside over night. This is very strong, so be careful when removing it not to inhale.

  14. Vicky B says:

    I just had an exploding curry situation in my microwave and after cleaning up the spill, thought the yellow stain was there forever. One wipe of nail polish remover later, gone. Thanks for the tip; much appreciated!

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