How to Clean a Microwave With Lemon and Vinegar

How to Clean the Inside of a Microwave

A combination of splatters and smells can leave your microwave looking, well, sad. To target your microwave’s interior – turntable included — follow this step-by-step:

  1. Combine 1 cup water and lemon, lime or orange slices (squeeze juice from the fruit slices into the water) in a microwave-safe bowl. Or, if you have white or apple cider vinegar on hand, combine a few tablespoons and 1 cup water in a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Place the bowl in the microwave and turn it on high power for several minutes until the mixture boils and the window steams up.
  3. Let cool for 5 minutes before opening the door, then remove the bowl and wipe the inside clean with a sponge.

How to clean a microwave door

To clean the rubber seal around the door, dip your sponge in a little baking soda and rub it in then remove the residue with warm water. To tackle a really greasy microwave glass door, make a mixture of warm water and vinegar in equal parts and this should be enough. 

Cleaning with baking soda is a good idea as it’s tough on grub and works well both inside and when cleaning a microwave door and its exterior. You can try using dish soap if yours isn’t so bad and if you need something more hardcore, spray an all-purpose cleaner like HG microwave combi cleaner, (available from Amazon), onto a wet sponge and scrub away any residue.

Note: When cleaning a microwave’s exterior, don’t spray any cleaning solution directly onto the microwave as you may risk getting cleaner in the vent holes. Instead, spray on a wet cloth or sponge and wipe all over the surface. Dry off with a clean paper towel and dust with a duster.

If yours is an on-show stainless steel microwave, our guide on cleaning stainless steel can help you to achieve sparkling results!

(Image credit: Getty)


Safe Solutions TweetMint Enzyme Cleaner

For an all-natural option that comes already made, this enzymatic cleanser will work wonders. This 16-ounce bottle of biodegradable, pH balanced mixture works on all surface types, including wood, glass, ceramic, and carpet. It has a refreshing mint scent and is non-toxic to people, pets, and plants. 

Where to buy: $35, Amazon

How to clean a microwave with washing-up liquid

It works for cleaning our dishes so it naturally follows that it will work for other areas of our kitchen too. And whether you’ve got a bottle of Fairy or a supermarket own brand to hand, this microwave cleaning tip should work equally as well.

  • Remove your microwave plate and turntable ring
  • Fill a microwave safe bowl with warm water
  • Add in a few drops of washing up liquid and stir to create suds
  • Dip a sponge into the water/washing up solution and use it to clean the microwave interior and exterior
  • Use a damp cloth to wipe both the interior and exterior until they’re free of suds
Image credit: Future PLC/ Colin Poole

Image credit: Future PLC/ Colin Poole

How to clean the microwave with vinegar

Like lemon, vinegar is also one of the best ways to clean microwave stains. Once you know how to clean microwave spills with lemon-infused steam, doing the same with vinegar is easy. Just follow these steps:

  1. Add a tablespoon of white vinegar to around 150 ml of water.
  2. As before, set the microwave to high and let it run for five minutes.
  3. Wipe away the loosened food from the microwave interior with a moistened sheet of Plenty paper towel.
  4. If you’d like a double-pronged approach and you want to know how to clean the microwave with lemon and vinegar, it’s easy. Just add half a lemon to the tablespoon of vinegar and follow the same steps as above.


Instead of recycling empty bottles and sprays, why not repurpose them for your homemade cleaning solutions instead? Reduce, reuse and recycle to live sustainably every day.

How do you clean a microwave with vinegar and water?

If you don’t have baking soda or a lemon, vinegar and water is a third effective way to clean your microwave.

White vinegar is best for this household chore; buy yours from Amazon here.

The ratio of vinegar to water is more or less up to you. Just be sure to dilute your vinegar with some water to decrease the strength. For easy stains, one tablespoon vinegar to one cup water will likely do the trick. If this doesn’t work for you, add more vinegar.

You can go all the way up to a 2:1 ratio of vinegar to water (⅓ cup water to ⅔ cup vinegar) if the stains just won’t budge. But, this is most commonly used for tough grease and mold. One to one, or more heavily diluted solutions, are much more popular options to clean your microwave.

Step 1: Wipe the inside

To clean your microwave, first remove the turntable and wash it by hand using dish soap and hot water. Then, using a scrub brush or cloth remove any food debris or other discolouration inside.

‘Start by wiping out any looser food residue with a warm damp cloth and some detergent; washing-up liquid works well,’ says Rosie Clarke, Product Training Manager at Miele GB. ‘Be careful not to use too much water though, as this can damage the appliance.’

MarianVejcik Getty Images

Method 2: Lemon+Vinegar

How to carry out the process:

  1. Fill the microwave bowl up to half the brim with water.
  2. Now, squeeze a half lemon in it.
  3. Add 4 or 5 tablespoons of vinegar in the solution.
  4. Mix the solution well and keep it aside with a cover of the bowel for 6 or 7 minutes.
  5. Put the mixture in the microwave and heat it till the steam generates.
  6. Wait till the steam moistens the wall of microwave and loosens the junk that is dried up.
  7. Now, open the microwave and take out the bowl ensuring safety.
  8. Using the cotton cloth wipe off all the gunk.
  9. Now, clean the outside area of the microwave and finally take out the tray.
  10. Drop some of the solutions on the microwave tray and wipe it off using the other side of the cloth.

Your microwave will now be sparkling clean!

Angry Mama Microwave Oven Cleaner

We love the adorably funny steam cleaner. She’s a convenient little tool that replaces the bowl used for steaming your microwave, and she’s small enough to store away in a kitchen drawer. Simply add water and vinegar (or even just water), and microwave for seven minutes. She makes cleaning easier — and a lot more fun. 

Where to buy: $7.99, Amazon

How often should you replace your microwave?

Most microwaves are manufactured to last up to 10 years. But, yours will only last that long if you maintain it properly and clean it frequently.

Cleaning the Exterior

Getty Images/Vudhikul Ocharoen

Cleaning the outside of the microwave is generally much easier, but it is a twofold task. First, you’ll want to use your water and vinegar solution to scrub the door, window, top, sides, and handle. Then rinse with a damp cloth as usual.

For the door gasket, you’ll need to use a bit more caution. You can use your water and vinegar solution on all the plastic parts of the appliance, but you must be careful to use only a water-dampened cloth on the rubber gasket along the edge of the microwave. Once all parts have dried, your microwave should look good as new.

Microwave cleaning tips from cleanfluencers

‘The Microwave is one of those kitchen appliances many of us put off cleaning,’ says Lynsey Crombie, aka Lyndsey Queen of Clean.

‘It’s one of those items that is out of sight out of mind and as long as the outside of the appliance is clean the inside can wait. Inside the microwave, there can be food splatters and food spillages and often a nasty unclean smell.’

‘The microwave can also be an awkward appliance to clean that you need to get the plate out and get your arm right in to reach the sides and the ceiling of the appliance.  Food can often be stuck so after a little wiping many people will just give up.’

Sophie Hinchcliffe, aka Mrs. Hinch offers more advice on how to protect your microwave from getting dirty. in the first place. Very clever indeed. She says:

‘My oven liners, work very well when it’s a microwave. Because any sort of splattering that you get from most microwaves, to be fair, go straight on my oven liner. And I just take this out and wash this. Brilliant.’


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