How to clean a microwave

Microwave smelling funky? Here's how to clean it in just a few easy steps

Microwaves are nearly ubiquitous in American households. That’s because they’re so convenient; you can use it for everything from steaming broccoli to reheating leftovers (which is probably what most people use it for).

But when it comes to using a microwave, there’s nothing worse than heating up a piece of pizza and tasting this morning’s oatmeal or last night’s chicken and rice. You’ve probably had that experience at some point, and it can downgrade the eating experience. If you open the door of your microwave and smell pork roast from two days ago, it’s time to give that appliance a nice and thorough clean. A paper towel with warm water isn’t going to cut it this time.

The inside of your microwave should be sparkling, and if it isn’t, don’t worry: The process is incredibly easy and will only take about five minutes. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get your appliance sparkling white in no time at all.

And while you’re on a cleaning kick, you can also check out our posts on how to clean a dishwasher and how to clean a washing machine.

appliance trends kbis 2017 frigidaire gallery black stainless steel microwave
Frigidaire Gallery Black Stainless Steel Microwave Jenny McGrath / Digital Trends

Step 1 – Fill a microwave-safe bowl with water and add either a drizzle of dish soap or a tablespoon of white vinegar, whichever you have handy.

Step 2 – Let it cook for about one to two minutes depending on how strong your microwave is. You want it to get nice and steamy but not boil over or spill out of the bowl. By microwaving first, you’re letting the steam do most of the heavy lifting for you.

Step 3 – Once the time is finished, keep the door closed for about three minutes, and let the steam heat up the bottom, sides, and roof of your microwave.

Step 4 – After the three minutes are up, carefully remove the bowl. You’ll probably need a pot holder or cloth to avoid burning yourself, as it’s going to be hot.

Step 5 – Wipe off all the sides with a paper towel or cloth, and clean the rotating plate just like you would a normal plate. If need be, you can run it through the dishwasher.

Step 6 – Enjoy your beautiful, clean microwave!

One thing to note: If you don’t have dish soap or vinegar, you can cut a lemon in half, put it in a bowl full of water, and cook it for five minutes. This option is the most natural, and the warm lemon makes your kitchen smell nice for a few hours.

Whenever your microwave is starting to smell a little funky, you’ll know how to give it a thorough clean in just a few minutes. And to prolong the amount of time in between deep cleans, try adjusting your microwave to a lower power setting, particularly when heating up foods that are prone to splattering.

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