From heating up some leftovers to preparing one of your favorite frozen meals after a long day at work, the microwave is a handy tool that’s sufficiently served as an ideal on-the-go contraption. Many of us use our microwaves for many occasions, but how often do we clean it?
After a number of uses, microwaves can rack up an abundance of grime from splattered food, spilled liquids, and more. It’s easy to close the microwave door and forget about the mess inside, but after a while, that not-so-pleasant gunk can build up, creating an unappealing appliance or worse — stinking up the joint.
In consulting the experts on cleaning, Digital Trends compiled a list of helpful tips and step-by-step actions to take in order to get your microwave looking, smelling, and working like brand new. Below are the steps of the process and here’s what you’ll need to work with:
- A medium-sized microwavable bowl (for 4 cups of liquid)
- Dish soap or vinegar
- A pot holder
- Paper towels or a clean rag
- An abrasive sponge
- Disinfectant cleaner (like Lysol or Clorox)
The step-by-step process to cleaning your microwave
- Fill the microwave-safe bowl with water and 1/4 cup of white vinegar or 1 teaspoon of dish soap.
- Cook the solution for about one to two minutes depending on your microwave’s wattage. This process will get the microwave nice and steamy, allowing the steam to work its magic on the interior of the appliance.
- Once the time is complete, keep the door closed for around three minutes and allow the steam to heat up all areas of the microwave.
- For removing the bowl, be sure to use a pot holder or oven mitt, as the container will definitely be very hot.
- Wipe all of the interior surfaces with a clean rag or paper towel. Use an abrasive sponge for getting those tough areas and stuck-on pieces of food.
- Wash the rotating plate with soap and water in the sink or run through the dishwasher if you have one.
- For cleaning the microwave’s exterior, wipe down the buttons, surfaces, and door of the appliance with a paper towel or rag covered in disinfectant or soap and water, being sure to never spray cleaner directly into the microwave as it can get into the venting system.
- Lastly, wipe down and clean the seal or gasket plus the roller wheel with a wet and soapy paper towel or rag. Remove soap residue with a dry paper towel when complete.
- Re-assemble all parts of the microwave and enjoy your newly fresh and clean appliance!
Tips for keeping your microwave clean
In addition to doing a deep, routine clean every once in a while, here are a few ways you can keep your microwave feeling its most fresh (via Real Simple):
- Lemons. Much like using the disinfectant-steaming method, fill a microwavable safe bowl with 3 to 4 cups of water and cut up chunks of lemon. Microwave the bowl with lemon for about three to five minutes and leave in there for about five minutes — enough time for the steam to do its handy work.
- Cover it up. It’s helpful to always cover what you’re heating up, even if it’s only for a few seconds. Use a paper towel or a perforated microwave cover.
- Baking soda. In lieu of scrubbing the interior of the microwave to no avail with harsh chemicals, you can try making a paste out of baking soda and water, applying it to hardened bits of food and letting it sit for five minutes, then wiping away with a wet sponge.
- Angry Mama. In addition to using what you have on hand, you can also purchase this funny little gadget called the Angry Mama, which you fill with vinegar and water and set to steam in the microwave for seven minutes. Let it cool down for two minutes, then open the door and wipe all the areas clean.
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