All it takes is mere minutes—and supplies already in your pantry—to make a messy microwave sparkle. 


Sure, you mean to wipe out the microwave every time you use it, but three spaghetti and taco warm-ups later, it’s a little scary in there. As it turns out, it’s really easy to clean a microwave (with or without microwave cleaning hacks) and make it sparkling clean, inside and out. Almost magically easy. Just grab that bottle of vinegar from your pantry, a lemon from the kitchen, and follow the steps below. Bonus: there’s even some aromatherapy involved. When it comes to how to clean a microwave—and how to clean a microwave vent—we've got all the answers. Follow along with the video above and the instructions outlined below.

What You’ll Need

  • Microwave-safe glass bowl or large glass measuring cup
  • Water
  • White vinegar
  • Slices of lemon or lime (or lemon/lime juice or essential oil)
  • Toothpick or wooden spoon
  • A sponge or paper towels
  • A microfiber cloth
  • Your favorite all-purpose kitchen cleaner (optional)

Follow These Steps

For the inside:

  1. Add a cup of water, a few tablespoons of vinegar, and some slices of lemon or lime to the microwave-safe bowl. The acid in the citrus fruit will loosen any food spills on the walls.
  2. Add a small wooden spoon to the bowl or place a toothpick in the mixture. This will allow bubbles to form against the wood as the water heats up, preventing the water from getting superheated and “exploding” into a boil instead.
  3. Place the bowl in the microwave and run it on high for 1 to 2 minutes, until the mixture boils and steams up the interior. When it’s done, keep the door shut and let the steam do its work for about 15 minutes (during which time the machine will cool down, as well).
  4. Remove the bowl (be careful—it may still be hot). Remove the glass turntable (which will also be hot) and wipe down the microwave’s interior, including the inside of the door, with a sponge or paper towel. Any debris that was inside should come off easily.
  5. Hand-wash the turntable in soapy water, or put it in the dishwasher.
  6. Wash the rubber gasket around the inside of the door with a dampened sponge.
  7. If the glass on the inside of the door still feels greasy, dip your sponge into the bowl of water and vinegar, and give it an additional wipe.
  8. If you wish, do a final wipe-down of the interior with your all-purpose cleaner and a paper towel.

For the outside:

  1. Spray all-purpose cleaner on a cloth (not directly on the surface of the machine, so you don’t risk getting any cleaner into the vent holes). Or, dip your cloth into the vinegar-water mixture you used to clean the inside of the machine.
  2. Gently wipe down the top, front, and sides of the microwave, including vent area, as well as the control panel (just don’t spray cleaner directly onto the control panel itself, either).