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How To Clean and Deodorize a Microwave

Microwave 25

Cleaning and deodorizing your microwave is an essential part of kitchen maintenance. A clean microwave not only looks good, but it also helps the appliance function more efficiently and prevents odors from lingering in your kitchen. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover various methods to clean and deodorize your microwave using simple household items.


To clean and deodorize your microwave, start by making a cleaning solution with vinegar or lemon juice and water. Heat this mixture in the microwave until it boils and steams up the window. Let it cool, then wipe down the interior with a damp cloth. To deodorize, heat a small amount of baking soda, vinegar and water, or lemon juice in the microwave, then let it sit for a few minutes before wiping down the interior again. Regular cleaning and immediate spill cleanups can help prevent future odors.

Signs Your Microwave Needs Cleaning

Before we delve into the cleaning methods, it’s important to understand the signs that your microwave needs cleaning. Here are some common indicators:

  1. Persistent bad odors: A lingering smell even after you’ve removed the food indicates a need for cleaning and deodorizing.
  2. Visible food spills and splatters: If you can see food residue on the walls, ceiling, or turntable, it’s time to clean the microwave.
  3. Smoke or burning smells: This could be a sign of a serious issue and may require immediate cleaning or even replacement.
  4. Inefficient heating: If your microwave takes longer than usual to heat food, it could be a sign that it needs cleaning.

Cleaning the Interior

The interior of the microwave is the part that requires the most attention. Here are some easy methods to clean the interior using household items:

Vinegar Method

Mix 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of white vinegar in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high until the mixture comes to a rolling boil and the window steams up. Allow the microwave to cool for a few minutes, then wipe the interior down with a damp sponge or microfiber cloth.

Lemon Method

Cut a lemon in half and squeeze the juice into a microwave-safe container. Add the lemon halves and fill the container with water. Microwave for 3-5 minutes, then let it sit for a few minutes. Wipe the interior with a damp sponge or cloth.

Baking Soda Method

Mix 1/4 cup baking soda with 1 1/2 tablespoons water to make a thick paste. Spread the paste over stains or the interior walls, let it sit for five minutes, then scrub with a damp sponge. Wipe away the baking soda with a damp microfiber cloth.

Cleaning the Exterior

Cleaning the exterior of the microwave is equally important. Here are some methods to clean the exterior:

Microfiber Cloth and All-Purpose Cleaner

Spray a microfiber cloth lightly with an all-purpose cleaner or ammonia (do not mix the two). Wipe down the exterior of the microwave, including the keypad and door handle.

Vinegar and Water Solution

Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Dampen a clean microfiber cloth with the solution and wipe down the exterior of the microwave.

Deodorizing the Microwave

After cleaning, it’s important to deodorize your microwave to remove any lingering smells. Here are some safe and natural deodorizers that can be used:

Baking Soda

Place a small amount of baking soda in a microwave-safe container or bowl and heat it for a few minutes.

White Vinegar and Water

Fill a microwave-safe bowl with half a cup of water and half a cup of distilled white vinegar. Heat the mixture for a few minutes, then let it sit for an additional 10-15 minutes with the door closed. Wipe down the microwave with a clean cloth afterward.

Lemon Juice or Lemon Slices

Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to 1 cup of water, or slice a lemon and place the slices in a microwave-safe bowl with water. Heat the mixture for 3-4 minutes until boiling, then let it sit for a few minutes before wiping down the microwave.

Preventing Future Odors

To prevent future odors, make sure to clean your microwave every 1-2 weeks, wipe up spills immediately, ventilate the microwave after use, and use microwave-safe covers to prevent food from splattering.

By following these steps, you can keep your microwave clean and free from unpleasant odors, ensuring a longer lifespan for your appliance.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I clean my microwave?

Ideally, you should clean your microwave every 1-2 weeks to prevent buildup of food particles and odors. However, if there are visible spills or stains, it’s best to clean them up immediately.

Can I use dish soap to clean my microwave?

Yes, you can use dish soap to clean your microwave. Mix a few drops of dish soap with water in a microwave-safe bowl, heat it for a minute or so, and then use a sponge or cloth to clean the interior. Remember to rinse thoroughly to avoid leaving soap residue.

Is it safe to use vinegar in my microwave?

Yes, vinegar is a safe and effective cleaner for your microwave. The acidic nature of vinegar helps break down grease and grime. Always dilute it with water before use.

Can I use bleach to clean my microwave?

It’s not recommended to use bleach in your microwave. Bleach can react with food particles and create toxic fumes. Stick to vinegar, baking soda, or dish soap for a safer cleaning option.

How can I prevent food from splattering in my microwave?

The best way to prevent food from splattering in your microwave is to use a microwave-safe cover when heating food. If you don’t have a cover, you can also use a microwave-safe plate or a paper towel.

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