The microwave is one of those spots that can get dirty easily, but it’s easy to ignore. At least, that’s the case for me. (I’m not proud of it, but I admit it!) Luckily, there’s a quick and easy, all-natural way to do it. I’ll show you how to clean the microwave with vinegar and a few other simple ingredients.
An Easy Microwave Cleaning Hack
Food splatters and a lingering odor – sound familiar? The microwave is arguably the hardest working appliance in the kitchen, and it shows. Food splatters and spills occur frequently despite our best efforts.
Not only that, but the splatters are microwaved again and again as you cook other foods, causing them to cake onto the sides. They start to smell really funky and no one wants the chore of cleaning it up!
That is…until now. This microwave cleaning hack takes advantage of the power of your microwave and basically cleans itself! My kids will sometimes fight over who gets to clean the microwave instead of doing another cleaning chore—it’s that easy.
Is your stovetop in need of a good cleaning too? Check out my post on How To Clean A Glass Stove Top to get started.
How to Clean a Microwave with Vinegar
This is one of those why-didn’t-I-think-of-that-before cleaning hacks. Once you clean your microwave this natural way, you’ll never go back!
Supplies for Cleaning the Microwave
In fact, you probably already have all the ingredients around. All you need is a few basic items:
- Lemon juice
- A glass bowl
- A cleaning cloth
Let’s break down the two main ingredients (vinegar and lemon juice) and talk briefly about the role each plays.
Why You Should Clean a Microwave with Vinegar
Vinegar may seem like an odd choice for cleaning, but it’s a highly effective one.
Because it’s super acidic, vinegar can fight against build-up and dissolve messes way better than water on its own.
I recommend using white vinegar for this microwave cleaning hack. It’s inexpensive and works the best. I keep a big jug of it on hand at all times!
Why You Should Clean a Microwave with Lemon
If you don’t have lemon juice, you can skip it. However, I highly recommend you use lemon to clean the microwave if you can.
It helps neutralize the strong vinegar smell which is reason enough, but it also adds even more all-natural cleaning power.
Lemon adds even more acidity to the vinegar-based cleaning solution. It also can act as a natural bleach, which is perfect for getting your appliance squeaky clean.
How to Clean the Microwave with Vinegar and Lemon
First, fill a large microwavable bowl (I recommend glass) with about a cup of water. Tap water will work just fine for this cleaning hack.
Next, add about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of vinegar. This isn’t an exact science and I kind of eyeball it. If the microwave is really gross, I’ll add a bit more.
Next, add in a bit of lemon. About 2 tablespoons is a good starting point, but again you can add more if it’s extra gross. Just keep the ratio of vinegar to lemon juice higher.
Heat the Mixture
Now that your cleaning solution is all made, it’s time to put it to work.
I can’t believe I’m actually posting this for all the world to see, but here it is – my very dirty microwave before cleaning. Eek!
Gross, right? Not for long thanks to this microwave cleaning hack. 🙂
Next, put the bowl of vinegar mixture into the microwave.
Heat for 3-4 minutes. Then let it sit for 2-3 minutes undisturbed. This process will produce steam that will help clean the gunk off off your microwave for you.
Remove the bowl. The water mixture will be really hot so be careful not to burn yourself.
Wipe Down the Walls
Now take your cleaning rag (or paper towel) and wipe down the walls. The vinegar and steam have already helped to loosen food & grime, so for the most part, all you need is a quick wipe.
For tougher spots, you can dip your cleaning rag into the hot vinegar water (carefully!) and then wipe the area down with the wet rag.
You can also put the vinegar/water bowl back into the microwave and heat again for 1 minute at a time to add more steam if your microwave is really dirty (like mine) and it takes longer to wipe out.
Use a Toothbrush to Get Cracks and Corners Extra Clean
Another tip – use a toothbrush for the little cracks and corners. Just dip it into the bowl of solution and clean the microwave with vinegar by scrubbing the corners.
Wipe Down the Outside
While you have the cleaning solution and a rag handy, go ahead and wipe down the outside of the appliance too.
Now check out your nicely cleaned microwave! And you didn’t have to buy expensive cleaners with chemicals either!
(My microwave isn’t sparkling clean, but it’s also 10 years old.)
With such an easy, natural way to clean your microwave, you can do it regularly. It usually takes me just a couple minutes to heat up the vinegar and 30 seconds to wipe it out. Easy!
Pin the image below to find the instructions later!
I love using vinegar to clean a variety of surfaces. I just cleaned my microwave using vinegar in a spray bottle last week. It’s amazing how well this works! AND, I have the peace of mind knowing that I didn’t use nasty chemicals in a place I will be putting food.
I agree! And it’s cheap!
Better yet…take a coffee mug filled half way with water and squeeze a fresh lemon (or lime) in the water and drop in the rest. turn on microwave for about 4 mins or so, enough to boil. then let the mug sit in the microwave with door closed to steam it up, then it is as simple as wiping the steam away with an absorbant towel. works well if its just grimey with no smell,too.
I never thought about this. Ingenious!
Nicole - Mama to 4 Blessings says
THANK YOU FOR SUCH AN AWESOME TIP! I WILL PIN IT! 🙂
Mudpies and Tiaras says
That worked great!!!!
JDaniel4's Mom says
I really need to do this.
Wow! this was super easy. I pinned this one. It’s a saver.
Kelley Johnsen says
I have done this before! Very easy and save me a lot of time.
Many thanks from the owner of a now very clean microwave.
I guess my microwave was REALLY dirty…because this helped but not enough. So after letting the microwave get really steamy, I sprinkled baking soda on all the surfaces & my cleaning rag…and the microwave is now SPOTLESS!!!
That reminds me. I’d better clean my microwave. It does tend to get overlooked. Thanks.
I am trying this today! I caught a bag of popcorn on fire: yes, I said fire, and it has never been the same. Has a slight…burnt color to it.
Oh no! Good luck! The vinegar will help with the smell too.
Denver House Cleaning says
I use this weekly! I LOVE vinegar!
this did not work well https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59mOLw1zNlc
The video is different then what I recommended. 🙂
Cleaners Croydon Ltd. says
Great tips! I usually put half lemon in the vinegar. It is the same as lemon juice but for lazy people. 🙂 Greetings!