FYI, this is how often you should be cleaning your microwave — and why

Don’t let the gunk build up

Microwave with soap bubbles on pastel background
(Image credit: Future)

If you’re the kinda gal who’s always in a rush or heating up leftovers, you’ll know that a microwave is a total godsend. IYKYK, right? But, while microwaves are super easy to use to cook with, it’s important not to forget that — like anything in your kitchen that gets daily use — they also need to be kept clean. 

We’ve all seen those shared office microwaves that are constantly covered in splattered food and omit a rather pungent odor whenever the door is opened. *Inwardly shudders.* Unless you want your microwave to end up in the same state, keeping it clean is a real must. Because, FYI, the gunk and grime builds up hella fast. 

So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at how often you should be cleaning your microwave to keep it hygienic and smelling fresh. 


♬ Escapism. Sped up (Official) - RAYE & 070 Shake

How often should you clean your microwave?  

When it comes to how often your microwave needs to be cleaned, it does depend on how often you use it. The more frequently you use your microwave, the more often it will need to be cleaned. 

But, as a general rule of thumb, a microwave needs to be cleaned at least once a week, with any splatters wiped up as you go, instead of allowing the gunk, grease, and grime to build up. Don't worry, there's a number of microwave cleaning hacks that make the job so much easier.

Aim to always wipe up any small messes as you go — as this will make doing a deeper cleaner later on easier. And then, once a week do a more in-depth clean, giving the entire microwave a once over. 

For a deeper clean, start by microwaving a bowl of distilled vinegar (we always like to use Heinz vinegar, available from Amazon) and a squeeze of lemon. Then let the steam sit in the closed microwave for a few minutes, before using a microwave-safe cleaning spray to wipe the interior out. 

The steamy vinegar and lemon mixture should help to loosen and grease and grime, making wiping out the interior a far quicker and easier affair. You can also clean your microwave with baking soda as an alternative.

Helpful hint: When choosing microwave-safe cleaning products, it's a good idea to choose non-toxic cleaners, like Better Life cleaning spray, available from Amazon.

Why is it important to clean your microwave? 

It might not be your favorite task but keeping your microwave clean is important for a number of reasons. If you allow food splatters to build up within your microwave, you’ll be creating a breeding ground for bacteria. Yuck. 

Then, there’s the fact that when grease and grime build up in your microwave, they can create a nasty odor that can taint your food as it’s being cooked. 

Plus, if a microwave isn’t properly cleaned and maintained, a build-up of residue could impact how well it runs and how long it lasts. 

Beth Mahoney
Freelance journalist

Hi! I’m Beth Mahoney and I’m a former 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.