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How To Steam Clean Your Microwave Naturally (The Complete Guide)

Updated on March 24, 2017
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Since microwaves tend to be contained spaces where food particles collect and solidify, it is important that you clean them out at least 2-3 times a week to avoid bacterial and fungal growth inside this all-important food preparation device. Yet, if your like me, you hate using harsh cleaning chemicals anywhere near your kitchen area. Yuck!!!

To help solve this, we are outlining three key methods to clean your microwave naturally and help you keep it that way. These methods use very common (but eco-friendly) household items that you can easily obtain. Moreover, almost all these methods involve steam cleaning you microwave in one way or another. So without further delay let's get started.

Clean Microwave With Lemon (And/Or Lemon Juice)

Duration: 7-10 minutes

Difficulty: Easy

Pros: Lifts loosely held dirt and grime off micrwave surface

Cons: Make not work on hardened food scum, does not mask odors emanating from microwave.


  • Step 1: Add 2 - 2.5 cups of clean water to a container that can fit easily into you microwave. (For best effect do not use a cup, use something with a wider mouth, like a bowl. You need to expose as much water as possible to microwave radiation to get a good cleaning).
  • Step 2: Cut one lemon down the middle and squeeze out the juice content of both slices into the bowl of water. (If you wish to clean your microwave with lemon juice instead, you would simply simply substitute the lemon in this step with 2 cups of lemon juice).
  • Step 3: After both slices have been squeezed out, throw them into the bowl as well. (Yes, including the rind). The lemon rind is a good source of Citric Acid, which will be one of the main cleaning agents in this process.
  • Step 4: Place the bowl into the microwave and turn it on high for 4-5 minutes. When it is done, DO NOT OPEN MICROWAVE. Let it sit for 5 more minutes. Properly steam cleaning your microwave means letting the steam circulate inside the device for a while.
  • Step 5: Open the microwave, remove the bowl and with a cloth thoroughly wipe clean the inside of the microwave. The loose grime inside your microwave should now be easy to remove. For particularly difficult stuck-on grime or muck, dip your wash cloth into the water-lemon mixture and use that to scrub away those target areas.

Phew!!! Now you know how to clean your microwave with lemon (or if you prefer lime juice). Before moving to the next method, please note that you can also experiment with cleaning our microwave limes or lime juice. The results may be slightly different, but he overall effect should be the same.

The Vinegar Microwave Cleaning

DURATION: 7-10 MINUTES

DIFFICULTY: Medium

PROS: LIFTS LOOSELY HELD DIRT AND GRIME OFF MICRoWAVE SURFACE. Masks odors by masking them with the pungent smell of vinegar.

CONS: MAy NOT WORK ON HARDENED FOOD SCUM, Masks odors with the pungent smell of vinegar


  • Step 1: Add 2 - 2.5 cups of water to a container that can easily fit inside of your microwave. Basically a repeat of step 1 from the last method. You need to expose as much surface area as possible to properly steam clean the microwave.
  • Step 2: Add 3 - 3.5 cups of acetic acid to the container and place it inside the microwave. Why do we use so much vinegar? Well, truth is this "vinegar microwave cleaning" may actually perform worse than cleaning your microwave with lemon / lemon juice because the active component of vinegar (acetic acid) is actually weaker that the active cleaning component of lemons (citric acid).
  • Step 3: Place the bowl into the microwave and turn it on high for 4-5 minutes. When it is done, DO NOT OPEN MICROWAVE. Let it sit for 5 more minutes. Another repeat of a step presented in the previous method. Grab a snack and proceed to the next step of the vinegar microwave cleaning method.
  • Step 4: Open the microwave, remove the bowl and with a cloth thoroughly wipe clean the inside of the microwave. At this point the smell might be a little unbearable for you. Imagine a huge gust of vinegary air wafting into your face. Maybe let the steam disperse and proceed to carefully wipe the inside clean.

Alright, you're getting good at this. You've now mastered how to clean your microwave with vinegar. Let's see if you can handle the last and possibly best method to steam clean your microwave.

Wow! You Made It This Far. How About A Poll?

How Often Do You Clean Your Microwave?

See results

Clean Microwave with Baking Soda

DURATION: 9-12 MINUTES

DIFFICULTY: Hard

PROS: LIFTS LOOSELY HELD DIRT AND GRIME OFF MICROWAVE SURFACE. Can actually absorb foul odors inside microwave with any adverse effects. Also, tends to prevent further

CONS: Very Few


  • Step 1: Add 2 - 2.5 cups of water to a container that can easily fit inside of your microwave. You probably guessed this one would be first, are you a mind reader.
  • Step 2: Add 1 cup of baking soda to the container and place it inside the microwave. You won't require much baking soda to use this method. Unlike cleaning your microwave with vinegar or lemon; baking soda is a very weak cleaning agent. To make up for this, you will be increasing the operating time of the microwave.
  • Step 3: Place the bowl into the microwave and turn it on high for 5-7 minutes. When it is done, DO NOT OPEN MICROWAVE. Let it sit for 5 more minutes. Another repeat of a step presented in the previous method. Grab a snack and proceed to the next step of the vinegar microwave cleaning method.
  • Step 4: Open the microwave, remove the bowl and with a cloth thoroughly wipe clean the inside of the microwave. You may want to dip the cloth into the hot baking soda / water mixture and use it to wipe the inside of the microwave effectively.

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