How to clean a microwave with lemon, washing-up liquid, baking soda and more

Wave goodbye to dirt, grease and stains with these natural cleaning hacks

The ping of a microwave is a familiar sound in today's kitchens. Whether heating up leftovers or preparing a bowl of a movie night popcorn, the cost of this convenience can often be the lingering odours that cling to this appliance.

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We all know that familiar nose pinch when someone reheats a fish supper without forewarning us. But what we often don't know is how to eliminate that odour without damaging our microwaves. So how do you clean a microwave?

Thanks to the rise of the 'cleanfluencer' – who isn't a fan of Mrs Hinch? – and a wealth of increasing care and cleaning forums, there are a number of practical tips on offer on how to clean a microwave using low-cost products that already feature in our weekly shop.

How to clean a microwave: best hacks

room with microwave and cabinet

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Robert Sanderson)

Both the inside and outside of your microwave will need a good clean, and once a week is probably a good frequency to ensure that this appliance remains in tip top condition. Try one of the microwave cleaning hacks below, and give your microwave plate, door and general interior some careful cleaning treatment.

How to clean a microwave with baking soda

As baking soda is a mild alkali it's perfect for cutting through grease and other dirt around your home, and that includes any that might have built up in your microwave. For this tip you'll need to have some kitchen gloves and a clean cloth to hand.

  •  Remove your microwave plate and turntable ring
  • Sprinkle 1/4 cup of baking soda around the bottom of your microwave
  • Use a dampened cloth to work the baking soda into any stains in your microwave
  • Rinse your cloth and wipe away any remaining soda. Do this twice if any residue remains

How to clean a microwave with lemon

microwave with lemon with jug and bowl

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Tim Young)

Lemon juice is known for its antibacterial and antifungal properties, which is why it makes such a good all around cleaning agent. Banish bad smells from your microwave by following the steps for this natural cleaning hack below:

  •  Fill a microwave glass measuring jug or bowl with water until around the halfway point
  • Slice a lemon in half and place in the water, squeezing so some of the juice is released
  • Put on high for three minutes
  • Use oven gloves to remove your bowl

How to clean a microwave with washing-up liquid

It works for cleaning our dishes so it naturally follows that it will work for other areas of our kitchen too. And whether you've got a bottle of Fairy or a supermarket own brand to hand, this microwave cleaning tip should work equally as well.

  • Remove your microwave plate and turntable ring
  • Fill a microwave safe bowl with warm water
  • Add in a few drops of washing up liquid and stir to create suds
  • Dip a sponge into the water/washing up solution and use it to clean the microwave interior and exterior
  • Use a damp cloth to wipe both the interior and exterior until they're free of suds

kitchen with microwave and cabinet

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Colin Poole)

How to clean a microwave with vinegar

Vinegar has both antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, and works to great effect when using cleaning your microwave of any nasties that may be lurking as a result of old food remnants. Simply follow the tips below:

  • Fill a microwave safe bowl with 2 cups of water and 2tbsps of white vinegar
  • Add a few drops of your favourite essential oil if you want to leave a nice scent
  • Put the microwave on for 2-3 minutes on a high setting
  • Use oven gloves to remove your bowl
  • Wipe down dislodged grease and dirt with a clean, damp cloth

Microwave steam cleaner – do I need to use one?

You can pick up portable microwave steam cleaners for under £10 on Amazon, such as the popular Angry Mama microwave steam cleaner, but you will still need to add a mix of water and white vinegar to them and it may prove just as easy to follow the above.

However, the benefit of microwave steam cleaner are that these products can be reused up to a hundred times require minimal prep.

If your microwave is beyond saving with a deep clean Consider our pick of the best microwaves with first-hand reviews of countertop and built-in models for tasty meals in minutes.

Have you tried any of the tips above?