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How to clean a microwave with minimal effort – quick and easy expert tips

From lemons to vinegar, discover the surprising ways to clean your microwave

cleaning microwave door
Chloe Best
Lifestyle Features Editor
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Cleaning your microwave can seem like a laborious task, meaning it is never at the top of our to do list. However, keeping on top of food spillages and splatters frequently is the best way to maintain your microwave and prevent stubborn stains or bad odours – and it is a lot easier than you may think.

The everyday cleaning products you have at home should be enough to keep your microwave clean, but you can also turn to eco-friendly and incredibly effective alternatives such as lemons, vinegar and baking soda to get the appliance pristine.

What is the quickest way to clean a microwave?

The quickest way to keep your microwave clean is to wipe it down with a microfiber cloth after every use, to prevent any food spillages from drying on. You could also add a little bit of washing-up liquid on your damp cloth to keep the appliance clean and smelling fresh, but be careful not to use too much water as it may damage your microwave.

SHOP: 7 best kitchen appliances from £20 that will save you money on meals

How do you clean a microwave naturally?

There are a few effective natural cleaning methods for tackling your microwave, including the three essentials everyone needs in their eco-friendly cleaning kit; lemons, vinegar, and baking soda. Read on for top tips on how to clean your microwave with each of them below...

How to clean a microwave with lemon

Cleaning microwave lemons© Photo: iStock

Lemons are incredibly effective at cleaning microwaves

One quick and eco-friendly way to get your microwave sparkling again, according to expert organiser Nicola Lewis, aka This Girl Can Organise, is by using lemon.

Simply place some slices of lemon in a bowl of water and add a toothpick to prevent it from boiling over. Pop the bowl in the microwave and set the time for three to five minutes. This will loosen all the grease and grime and make it super easy to wipe away with a cloth, and is a cleaning hack that could save you a lot of time and effort.

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This is also reportedly a cleaning method that has the royal seal of approval, and was used by Barbara Allred, former head housekeeper at the Sandringham Estate, to clean the late Queen's microwave.

Cleaning microwave sponge© Photo: iStock

Cleaning your microwave regularly takes less effort than you may expect

How to clean a microwave with vinegar

White vinegar is another multi-purpose natural cleaning essential that is just as effective on microwaves as it is when cleaning a fridge. The acidity in vinegar means it is great at eliminating grease and grime, with the benefit of being inexpensive and natural, with no chemicals or fumes to contend with.

Similarly to cleaning with lemon, all you need to do is add two tablespoons of white vinegar to a jug containing 500ml of water, and microwave on full power for five minutes. Carefully remove the jug when the time is up, and then use a sponge to wipe the inside of your microwave, starting from the top and down to the bottom, not forgetting the inside of the door and turntable.

MORE: How to clean an oven like a pro

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How to clean a microwave with baking soda

Cleaning microwave with baking powder© Photo: iStock

Baking powder is another good natural way to clean a microwave

The same method as above can be used to clean your microwave with baking soda. First pour water and a sprinkle of baking soda into a microwave-safe bowl or jug and mix thoroughly before running the microwave on full power for five minutes. As with vinegar and lemon, the stains should be easy to wipe off with a cloth, but if not try repeating the process to gradually lift any burnt-on grease or grime.

How to remove bad smells from your microwave

Strong food smells and bad odours can linger in the microwave after cooking, so it's best to try and get rid of them quickly. For light odours this can be as simple as leaving the door open, or using the baking soda method above to both clean and deodorise the microwave in one step.

RELATED: How to make your house smell nice all the time

For stronger odours, the natural cleaning methods including lemon and vinegar can be effective, while coffee also makes a great natural air freshener you likely already have at home.

Put two tablespoons of coffee in a microwave-safe mug with half a cup of water and heat for two to three minutes at a time, making sure that the solution doesn't boil. Often, the smell is removed within ten minutes of heating the coffee, but if it is still lingering, repeating the process should help.

What should you not use when cleaning a microwave?

Never use harsh or abrasive chemicals to clean your microwave, such as bleach, as it may weaken the plastic interior and damage the appliance.

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