5 of the best ways to clean a microwave that won't take you a billion years to do

Blast through smells and stains in a jiffy

A person cleaning the inside of a microwave.
(Image credit: Getty)

All it takes is an exploding soup carton or a splatter of sauce to turn your perfectly pristine and clean microwave into a mess. And, don’t even get me started on those lingering smells. Gross. 

The key to keeping your microwave clean and smelling fresh — whether it's built-in or freestanding — is regular cleaning and care. But, knowing the best ways to clean a microwave isn’t as easy. 

Whether your microwave’s interior is coated in grease, littered with explosions from your lunch, or the controls are covered in grimy fingerprints, knowing how to get your microwave back to a clean, fresh state can be a challenge. 

With the right approach, keeping your microwave clean doesn’t have to be a total nightmare. To help you to blast through stains, grease, and those nasty smells, I’ve rounded up a selection of fool-proof ways to clean a microwave. 

The best ways to clean a microwave

1. To clean the inside use lemon and water 

A great hack for cleaning the inside of your microwave naturally is to use the lemon and steam method that you’ve probably seen all over #CleanTok. Fill a microwave-safe bowl with hot water and add a few slices of lemon to the bowl. Then, microwave for three to four minutes and let it sit for up to 10 minutes. The steam should help to loosen crusted-on food and stains, making wiping out the interior of the microwave a far easier task. 

2. Clean with steam and vinegar to remove stuck on food 

Another great way to make cleaning the interior of your microwave easier is to use an Angry Mama Microwave Cleaner. I got mine from Amazon and can confirm that it's the best. Fill this handy silicone tool with hot water and a few drops of vinegar, set it in the microwave, and microwave it for seven minutes. Similar to using the above tip, the steam from the tool — mixed with the vinegar — should loosen up caked-on crust. Wiping it out will be a breeze after.

FYI, we always use (and recommend) Heinz's cleaning vinegar from Amazon.

3. Use warm water and baking soda to remove light grease

If your microwave is exceptionally greasy, a great way to cut through the grease is to mix a bowl of warm water with a ¼ cup of baking soda (I always like to use this Arm & Hammer stuff from Amazon). You can then dip a sponge or microfiber cloth into the water and use the mixture to effortlessly remove any greasy residue. Whether you’re removing grease from inside your microwave door or the exterior of your microwave, this handy hack works so well. 

4. Use dish soap and hot water to remove heavy grease

Another great option for removing grease from your microwave is to mix hot water and dish soap (for blasting through grease I always recommend Dawn dish soap, which you can grab from Amazon) together in a bowl, dipping a cloth into the mixture and using it to wipe away any grease that’s built up inside or outside of your microwave. 

5. Clean the turntable glass in the sink or dishwasher 

Noticed that your microwave’s turntable glass plate has accumulated way too much gunk? A great way to get it cleaned up quickly and easily is to put your microwave plate in the dishwasher, where the soap, steam, and water will remove any grime or grease. Alternatively, if you don’t have a dishwasher, you can wash your microwave plate by hand instead. 

Beth Mahoney
Staff Writer

Hi! I’m Beth Mahoney and I’m a Staff Writer at Real Homes. I’ve been a journalist for the national press for the past six years, specializing in commerce and trends-related lifestyle articles, from product reviews and listicles to guides and features. With an eye for pretty things (think: quirky wall prints, scalloped edge furniture, and decadent-looking tableware) but a limited budget, I love nothing more than a bargain buy.