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

Cleaning your microwave with lemon

Lemon is the secret all-natural ingredient used to clean many household items and appliances – and the microwave is just one of them. Follow these easy steps to refresh your microwave in minutes using lemon.

Step 1: Combine lemon and water

Cut up the remaining lemon into wedges and squeeze the juice into a microwave-safe bowl. Throw in the wedges and pour 1/2 cup water over the top.

Lemon is handy in the kitchen for cooking and cleaning. Picture: Erinna Giblin

Step 2: Microwave for 3 minutes

Place the bowl in the microwave and set on high for three minutes. Once complete, leave the bowl inside for a further five minutes to steam.

Open the microwaves door after 5 minutes to let your lemon solution steam clean the inside. Picture: Erinna Giblin

Step 3: Remove bowl and wipe down

Carefully remove the bowl, remembering it will be hot, then wipe all internal surfaces with a damp microfibre cloth.

Read next: How to clean a kettle in 5 easy steps 

Now wipe it down. Picture: Erinna Giblin

Need more inspiration for how to organise your home? Check out more tips from professional organiser, Chelsea Smith, founder of The Organising Platform.


Glisten Microwave Cleaner with Foaming Power

It may look like an ordinary sponge, but this is a double-whammy cleaning tool. Instead of grabbing a paper towel or rag to wipe up the stains after steaming your microwave, this sponge acts as both the steamer and the scrubber. 

Where to buy: $6.50, Amazon

How to clean a microwave with lemon

Image credit: Future PLC/ Tim Young

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 often should you clean your microwave?

Clean your microwave once a week to once every three to four weeks to keep the bacteria build-up and strong smells down in your kitchen. If you heat a lot of messy foods like sauces or gravy, you may need to clean it more often. Or, if you rarely use it, you can go longer than a month without cleaning it. Just don’t let the grime sit for very long.

How to clean glass and microwave controls

‘It’s easy to clean up the everyday smudges, fingerprints, and grease that keep your microwave from looking its best.’ says Nappo. On some microwaves with touch controls, you can turn on the control lock to avoid accidentally activating buttons while you clean.

Step 2: Wipe and dry exterior Use dish soap and water or a dedicated appliance cleaner such as Affresh® Stainless Steel Cleaning Spray from Whirlpool on a soft cloth or sponge. If you have glass controls, you can use a glass cleaner instead. Dry with a soft cloth and turn the control lock off.

Method 2: Lemon+Vinegar

How to carry out the process:

  1. Fill the microwave bowl up to half the brim with water.
  2. Now, squeeze a half lemon in it.
  3. Add 4 or 5 tablespoons of vinegar in the solution.
  4. Mix the solution well and keep it aside with a cover of the bowel for 6 or 7 minutes.
  5. Put the mixture in the microwave and heat it till the steam generates.
  6. Wait till the steam moistens the wall of microwave and loosens the junk that is dried up.
  7. Now, open the microwave and take out the bowl ensuring safety.
  8. Using the cotton cloth wipe off all the gunk.
  9. Now, clean the outside area of the microwave and finally take out the tray.
  10. Drop some of the solutions on the microwave tray and wipe it off using the other side of the cloth.

Your microwave will now be sparkling clean!

Angry Mama Microwave Oven Cleaner

We love the adorably funny steam cleaner. She’s a convenient little tool that replaces the bowl used for steaming your microwave, and she’s small enough to store away in a kitchen drawer. Simply add water and vinegar (or even just water), and microwave for seven minutes. She makes cleaning easier — and a lot more fun. 

Where to buy: $7.99, Amazon

How to Clean a Microwave with Baking Soda

You can also clean your microwave with baking soda. The first way to do this is very similar to cleaning a microwave with lemon. The only additional ingredient you’ll need is, of course, baking soda. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Fill a microwave-safe bowl halfway with water.
  2. Add about two tablespoons of baking soda to the bowl.
  3. Place the bowl in your microwave and run it for three to five minutes.
  4. Remove the heatproof dish from your microwave (caution: it will be hot).
  5. Wipe away the grime on the inside.

That’s it! Now, dip your towel into the bowl and wipe off the microwave door and exterior.

If you don’t need a deep clean, there’s a quicker way to use baking soda.

Simply sprinkle the area with baking soda and scrub the baking soda into the dirt to break it down. A scrubby sponge – like this one from Amazon – works great here to remove the tough stains.

Once you’re done, be sure to remove the excess baking soda from your microwave.

How to clean a microwave with washing-up liquid

‘A great way to clean your microwave is to take a microwave-safe bowl and fill it with warm water,’ says Diana Nappo, cooking category marketing manager, Whirlpool UK Appliances Limited.

‘Add some dishwashing soap (2 tbsp) and put the bowl in the microwave for one minute on high. The steam will soften the dried-on food, so you easily clean the microwave using a damp sponge to wipe off any debris, leaving your microwave squeaky clean and ready to heat up all those delicious leftovers.’

Cleaning the Exterior

Getty Images/Vudhikul Ocharoen

Cleaning the outside of the microwave is generally much easier, but it is a twofold task. First, you’ll want to use your water and vinegar solution to scrub the door, window, top, sides, and handle. Then rinse with a damp cloth as usual.

For the door gasket, you’ll need to use a bit more caution. You can use your water and vinegar solution on all the plastic parts of the appliance, but you must be careful to use only a water-dampened cloth on the rubber gasket along the edge of the microwave. Once all parts have dried, your microwave should look good as new.

Step 1: Wipe the inside

To clean your microwave, first remove the turntable and wash it by hand using dish soap and hot water. Then, using a scrub brush or cloth remove any food debris or other discolouration inside.

‘Start by wiping out any looser food residue with a warm damp cloth and some detergent; washing-up liquid works well,’ says Rosie Clarke, Product Training Manager at Miele GB. ‘Be careful not to use too much water though, as this can damage the appliance.’

MarianVejcik Getty Images

How to Get a Burnt Smell (and All Smells, Really) Out of the Microwave

When you cooking something smelly in the microwave, the smell comes back as soon as you turn the oven back on. That means it’s best to get rid of the stench right away.

  • For light odors (spicy food with a strong aroma, for example), air out the oven by leaving the door open, or place a bowl of baking soda inside with the door closed to absorb smells.
  • For strong odors (think: burnt popcorn), clean any leftover residue and place an odor-absorbing gel, like Fresh Wave, inside until you run it again.