How to clean a microwave in 5 simple steps

how to clean a microwave
How to deep clean your microwaveAndrii Borodai - Getty Images

From full meal preparation to reheating leftovers, many of us rely on our microwaves daily, but with heavy use, they can quickly harbour spills, stains and unpleasant odours. Here's how to clean a microwave inside and out, according to the pros.

How often should you clean a microwave?

'Microwaves need to be cleaned regularly to maintain the appliance and ensure that food continues tasting exactly as it should,' says Victoria Miller, small appliance expert at

To remove bacteria build-up and keep strong smells at bay, the experts recommend you deep clean your microwave once a week to over three to four weeks (more on deep cleaning below).

If you heat up a lot of messy foods (such as those prone to spillages), you may need to clean it more often – and you should always aim to wipe up spillages or crumbs after every use. Without consistent cleaning, food will harden inside the microwave and it will become more difficult to clean.

Before you begin a thorough clean, the cleaning materials and tools you will need include:

  • Microwave-safe bowl filled with water

  • Lemons

  • Microfibre cloth

  • Kitchen towel

  • White vinegar

  • Cleaning brush

  • Washing-up liquid

Follow the simple steps below on how to clean a microwave:

Step 1: Wipe the inside

For safety purposes, always unplug the microwave before you begin. 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. With a kitchen paper towel, scrape away any crumbs, splatters, and hardened dirt.

'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.'

how to clean a microwave
Andrii Borodai - Getty Images

Step 2: Deep clean the inside

Creating a steamy environment in your microwave will help to loosen any stubborn food messes inside and cut through grime. Depending on what you prefer, you can either clean your microwave using lemon or white vinegar.

'A quick and easy method for cleaning your microwave is to fill a small microwave-safe bowl with water and a tablespoon of white vinegar (you can also use lemon juice). Then, put your microwave on high for five minutes to loosen any hardened grime,' explains Victoria.

Step 3: Scrub away any stains

Once the time is up, carefully remove the dish and let it cool down for another five minutes; the steam will continue to work on any remaining stains and make them easier to wipe away. Next, wipe the interior down with a wet paper towel or reusable dish cloth. Thanks to high heat levels, any grease, tough stains, and stubborn food splatters will easily wipe away.

Andrea Philips from Airtasker adds: 'Using your cleaning solution, scrub the walls, top, bottom, and door of the microwave interiors until sufficiently soapy. Buff in circular motions for best results and hard-to-remove dirt.'

a method of cleaning in a microwave oven with water and lemon
MarianVejcik - Getty Images

Step 4: Wipe the outside

Spray the exterior with a water and vinegar solution, before wiping it down with a microfibre kitchen cloth. Long term exposure to certain cleaning products can damage a stainless steel microwave, so always opt for a natural solution if you can. The steam from the cleaning mixture should have loosened the stains and spills, making them easier to clean.

'Proper care and maintenance for your microwave are easy and will save you time in the long run, by putting a paper towel or microwave-safe plastic cover over your food before heating will go a long way in minimising splatters and stains,' says Andrea. 'You can also opt to use a lower wattage when using the appliance to avoid rolling boils spilling over during heating times.'

Step 5: And finally, polish the door

Why not give your microwave that extra shine by polishing the door? For fuss-free and streak-free results, use E-cloth's glass cleaning and polishing cloth. Simply spray the door and handle with water and wipe using the cloth. You'll have a sparkling clean microwave in no time.

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