Introduction: Clean a Microwave

Picture of Clean a Microwave

If you've had to make a mad dash to your kitchen because you think a guest is about to use your dirty microwave, this is the Instructable for you! Just Imagine that in about 5 minutes from now you can have a completely clean microwave...without using any harsh cleaning products! Soon your microwave won't have any more dirty little secrets...

Let's get started!

Step 1: Steaming

Picture of Steaming

In a glass bowl, pour 1 cup of white vinegar and place into your microwave. Set microwave on hi for 4 minutes.

After the 4 minutes are over, don't open the microwave door for another 2 minutes. This will allow the entire inside to "steam" and subsequently, loosen any caked-on grime from the walls and roof.

Note: If you're microwave is a special kind of dirty, you may want to run it twice for 4 minutes.

Step 2: Scrubbing

Picture of Scrubbing

Using the softer side of a sponge, lightly scrub the entire interior of the microwave. This step doesn't involve much elbow grease on your part. Since there is probably a good bit of condensation inside, you might need to wring out the sponge of couple times in the sink.

Step 3: Drying

Picture of Drying

After you're satisfied with the lack of gross, grab a paper towel and dry the inside completely.

You're microwave is now clean and happy to be opened by anyone!


JeanF49 (author)2017-10-08

I wipe the oven down whenever it has moisture from what is cooked. Also keep a clear plastic pot lid over the microwave along with a stack of coated paper plates for over and under moisture control. I have lost microwaves to moisture. from cooking

mrsmerwin (author)2017-04-26

Tomorrow morning, first thing I will do.

millienicholls87 (author)2016-08-11

This steaming technique for cleaning really works, well-written.

jfitzpa22 made it! (author)2016-04-10

Worked like a charm!

ata1anta (author)2016-03-10

Gonna have to give this a try. Yes, we cover stuff in the nuker but as someone else said, some food is "enthusiastic." I'm not too worried about too much moisture, I've nuked wet stuff for an extended period before.

I like the idea of soaking the sponge/rag and nuking it. Makes me think of the microwave cleaning cloths that were out years ago.

Poppy Ann (author)2016-02-19

A great simple idea

KarlK15 (author)2016-02-18

If your microwave craps out, as a few of the comments claim, open it up and replace the fuse inside, before trashing it.

Joe-Y (author)2016-02-18

Got to be concerned about too much moisture getting into the electrical parts.

The Magnetron and high voltage parts, connections as this will create a short circuit situation. Best off to just hand wash/wipe if you don't want to have to

replace the unit.

John Sphar (author)2014-01-30

I have always used a bowl of water for 5 minutes on several microwaves over 20+ years, which has worked OK. Recently, my college aged children moved back home and our fairly new microwave was getting extra dirty from their constant use and no clean-up. I tried my 5minutes of water and still had some hard to wipe food & sauce spatter on the walls, so I tried 5 more minutes of water. After the 2nd - 5 minutes, the microwave no longer worked. Either the microwave tube coincidently gave up the ghost at that time or, my worry, the excessive water vapor damaged the circuitry of the microwave controls, microwave tube itself, etc.

1MountainMan (author)John Sphar2016-02-18

I make rice in my microwave all the time -and I do cook a lot more stuff in it- and have never had a problem. In fact, I never had a problem until the plastic in the back cracked... the microwave in question had been in my possession for 14 years by that time and the ammonia based prewash (I spray the ammonia based prewash all over the inside of the microwave, then, I boil water for ~10 minutes after which I let it sit for ~5. Generally, I only need a pass with a bar mop (a kind of terry cloth rag somewhere between a washcloth and a towel) and I am done!) leaked through the crack onto some terminals. Even then, if I had just waited for it to dry -and it wouldn't have been long, the other ingredients are methanol (ice cold methanol will blast grease into tomorrow) and ethanol- everything would have been fine. Sadly, I was in a hurry. Given my experiences with that microwave and the one that replaced it, I feel confident that your tube gave up the ghost at that same moment.

As my contribution to cleaning a microwave, the way I have mine -sitting on a counter that sits elevated behind the counter space used for all the normal kitchen stuff- means that I cannot reach all areas inside with just my arms without moving it. As I said previously, I cook in my microwave quite a bit so cleanliness is more important than it might be if I only warmed up coffee so I need to scrub or wipe everywhere and for that I use that "as seen on TV" keep in the glove compartment thing intended to clean the inside of the windshield -I have a different one for my microwave.

metqa (author)John Sphar2014-02-01

I've boiled water for up to 30 min in the nuker and never had it crap out. I think your machine just had some cross wires or something.

nanaverm (author)John Sphar2014-01-30

I've had that happen, too. It may return working when it dries out. Some of my buttons on the right side touch panel won't work on my microwave when I've made too many cups of tea, but later they will.

Eh Lie Us! (author)2016-02-18

"...a special kind of dirty."

Nice one!

ChrisLewis300 (author)2016-02-18

Use a cover in the microwave to stop food splattering in the walls.

ChrisLewis300 (author)2016-02-18

Use a cover in the microwave to stop food splattering in the walls.

SparkySolar (author)2014-10-17

Thank you, This is great.

eryl (author)2014-09-07

Have you considered that the vapour reaches parts other than the actual oven compartment? Besides, combination ovens usually have the grill elements fixed with self tapping screws which are a point of corrosion on ovens not given your treatment. Your treatment is only likely to accelerate that.
If microwaves only cost 20 bucks in your country, then why bother wasting time cleaning it. Just save energy and resources, and ditch it when it gets too grubby

midnytbeauty (author)2014-03-11

thanks a lot

KiloVision (author)2014-02-09

Worked great. Thanks for sharing.

7nflgirl (author)2014-02-04

I'm gonna have to try this. I normally put baking soda on a wet rag and commence wiping. Works great but this sounds a bit easier and I need to get off the net and clean mine! DH makes such a mess!

eight (author)2014-02-03

Perfectly timed and nicely written.
Thank you so much. :)

metqa (author)2014-02-01

Oh Yeah, I forgot to mention, sometimes I put a large bowl of water or water/vinegar in the nuker and I put the dish sponge in to boil/disinfect while it's steaming the nuker. And don't scream at me about nuking plastics or nox fumes or whatever. I don't care. I want a clean sponge and my dishwasher sucks even though my water is hot. And my sponge smells clean and feels clean afterward.

eight (author)metqa2014-02-03

Soak your cloths in Sodium Percarbonate... In Australia its called Nappy San, but a non bleach whitener is the way to go. Rinse thouroughly after you soak for a minimum of 4 hours.

AguHDz (author)2014-02-02

Very useful. Thanks.

metqa (author)2014-02-01

I do this all the time. Good idea making it an instructable for everyone. Just an Emphasis on the friendly warning from Step 2. Vinegar clings to water molecules and takes the acid into the steam with it, so please don't forget the part about waiting two minutes after it stops for it to cool and condense. Vinegar sting burns like &%($. So if you want to concentrate vinegar to make it stronger, freeze it, don't boil it. Freeze it, then set the frozen block out to thaw and pour off what thaws first which is the purest water leaving behind a stronger concentration of vinegar. Then you can use the stronger vinegar to disinfect stuff like cutting boards and countertops. or you can just pour it from the jug. Whichever! I'm gonna go clean my nuker right now! Yay!

dix-huit (author)2014-01-31

4 mins heating vinegar + 2 mins resting = 6 mins before you can even begin wiping. How is this a 5 minute clean again? Just mucking about, nice post.

TedRobotBuilder (author)dix-huit2014-02-01

Because you can do other things while it is heating...

Tumunga (author)2014-01-31

Good one! When I worked for a vending company back in the 1980s, I had to keep the company supplied microwaves clean while servicing the vending machines. I would soak one of my rags with water, and toss it in the microwave for 3 minutes while I worked on the other machines. When I got to the microwave again, the gunk just wiped away.

cowcrusher (author)2014-01-31

I agree that the "u" im such words is proper and I always poke fun at my canadian friends for wasting ink or using an additional character on Twitter. I also believe that the former "english units" should be re-branded "American or U.S. Units" since we are the only country that primarily uses them, though I have met some Brits that use both from time to time.

peads92470 (author)2014-01-31

Hi Cowcrusher. My best friend was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and she spells utilizing the British spelling as taught in Canada, i.e. using "u" in words such as neighbour, colour, and vapour. It was actually Noah Webster who dropped the "u" in those words in his attempt to create an "American" culture. The spelling is correct in either sense.

Crantoch (author)2014-01-30

For those who don't want to use vinegar - try fresh lemon juice in a pint of clean water.

PeterKnudsen (author)2014-01-30

The remaining boiling vinegar can be used to clean the egg boiler;)

jklovance (author)2014-01-30

I use a slightly simplified version of this. Instead of using a bowl I just wet a dish towel, add a little vinegar (or other liquid cleaner) and put it in the microwave. The advantage is that I am wiping using a warm wet cloth and it acts as an autometic timer. If the cloth is too hot to touch I have not waited long enough for the microwave to "soak".

alzie (author)2014-01-30

Hmmm, i worry about the acid vapors getting into the electronics.

I cover the food and just use warm soapy water when needed.

uWaves dont get as grody as a regular oven.

tscott25 (author)2014-01-28

If people would just cover their Damn Food we wouldn't have to do this as much! :-)

How well do your coverings stand up to er, shall we say, "enthusiastically kinetic" food?

neo71665 (author)tscott252014-01-29

Tell me about it. I keep a roll of paper towels on top of the microwave just for covering food. People will watch you do it repeatedly and still too stupid to do the same.

eryl (author)2014-01-30

Beware the grammar police! It should be 'your' not 'you're'. 'you're' is a shortened version of 'you are', which not what you mean at all.
Besides that I'd be afraid that the acid vapour (vinegar is dilute acetic acid) would promote corrosion of the metal parts where enamel coating is broken by screw threads or scratches. This vapour is going to reach parts of the venting system that you can not wipe clean without taking the whole machine apart.

nic nak (author)2014-01-30

I just use water, works great.

cobourgdave (author)2014-01-29

I just tried it on a stainless steel convection/microwave oven....IT WORKS GREAT!Before trying your method, I used to use 600 grit wet sandpaper. A lengthy chore!

Many thanks for posting

tpinkham (author)2014-01-29

Gonna try the vinegar bit, tho! I've used a bowl of water with a few drops of dish washing liquid (i.e.Dawn) with similar results. Thanks for sharing!

tpinkham (author)2014-01-29

I was thinking the same, @Kaag!! Your mic must be related to mine!!!

sisisisi25 (author)2014-01-28

Doesn't it smell all vinegary afterwards?

I always just add some vanilla extract when I do this to cut down on the vinegar smell.

Madame Blue (author)2014-01-28

I've gotten great results with plain water, though I imagine the vinegar helps cut through the nuked-on grime. Have to give this a try, my microwave's due for a cleaning!

arete01 (author)2014-01-28

great! what about the grill?

Kaag (author)2014-01-28

that nuke'o'matic was looking clean from the start.... You should see mine... it would take a few hundred of this treatment....

awesomness2002 (author)2014-01-28

Good idea I might have to use this when I have friends over!! Thanks for thinking!!! ;)

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