We all seem to be constantly on the go, and often we all just need that quick from fix of food to line our stomachs. The microwave is a blessing for most, whether it's making a quick 3-minute meal, heating up leftovers or warming up a bottle, using this appliance helps ease the stress of busy lives.

Arguably the microwave is one of the most-used items in a kitchen. Unlike any other of your kitchen appliances, your microwave will need regular attention when it comes to cleaning. All it takes is one bowl of spaghetti and you can end up with a mess on your hands. You want to ensure you keep on top of this cleaning regime every few days. Luckily, we have an easy clean microwave method that you can follow using household items with no nasty chemicals.

How to Clean a Microwave Yourself

Dirty microwaves are the bane of any household. Using our really quick cleaning method, we can show you how to clean a microwave in under 5 minutes.

Step 1:

To begin tackling your dirty microwave, we believe the best way to clean your microwave is by cleaning with lemon. Firstly, take a microwavable bowl and fill it up around halfway with water. Carefully slice a lemon in half. Use these two slices and squeeze out the lemon juice into the bowl of water. Then place the two halves of lemon into the bowl.

Step 2:

Place the bowl into the microwave. Close the door and turn on the microwave at full power for 5 minutes. The reason this method works so well, is because the lemon juices combined with the water creates a lovely steam, which will stick to the exterior of the microwave walls and the dirt currently adorning your walls. Using this method is essentially steam cleaning the microwave. This will make it easier for you to wipe away the dirt later on.

Step 3:

Once the microwave has pinged, remove the bowl. Be careful because the bowl will be hot, you will need to use a towel to help you with this stage. Keep this to the side for now as you will need to use the water again later. Next, you will need to remove the rotating microwave plate, and place this to the side.

Step 4:

Take a microfibre cloth and dampen with warm water. Begin to wipe the walls using your cloth. We recommend starting with the sides first, then the top and the bottom. Be careful that the microwave isn’t too hot, but still warm enough to help remove the dirt.

Step 5:

You will then need to clean the plate, using your cloth. If the cloth isn’t removing all your dirt, use a double-sided sponge or a scraper.

Step 6:

Now, clean the inside of the door using the same method. We recommend dipping your microfibre cloth into the bowl of lemon water, clean down any dirt and grease from the door. During these stages, you may need to use a couple of different cloths to stop grease and dirt from spreading around your microwave.

Step 7:

Not forgetting your exterior, use your dampened cloth to clean the microwave door. Don’t forget to clean your buttons too.

Step 8:

Unplug your microwave and pull it out to the side. Dirt and old food remains can accumulate underneath, so clean this area fully before fixing the microwave back into place.

Tools to Clean a Microwave

Luckily the cleaning technique is simple, and this is reflected in the minimal tools required for the task at hand.

You will need the following tools to clean a microwave:

  • A microwaveable bowl/dish
  • A microfibre cloth (or two)
  • A sponge
  • A scraper
  • A towel
  • A knife

Safety Equipment to Clean a Microwave

A microwave is a powerful household appliance, often overlooked. Cooked splatters of food can often seem impossible to remove, knowing how to clean your microwave safely is important.

During your cleaning process, you won’t be using any harsh chemicals, but should you wish, using marigolds might be something you wish to invest in whilst you are cleaning.

You will also be handling a hot bowl and microwavable plate, it’s crucial you take extra caution when handling this. Please ensure you use a towel when handling to avoid scolding your hands.

Ensure that you stand clear of the microwave door after opening.

We also recommend taking extra care cutting your lemon in half. Mind those fingers!

Materials to Clean a Microwave

As well as gathering your tools, you will also need the correct materials to allow you to clean your microwave to its fullest potential.

We recommend the following materials:

  • A lemon
  • Water

Prevent Microwave from Getting Dirty

As you are required to clean your microwave on a regular basis, knowing some handing hints and tips to prevent the build-up of grime and dirt will definitely come in useful.

We recommend the following to help prevent your microwave getting dirty:

Avoid Spills

This may sound obvious, but it's amazing how much food splatter can be created by food not correctly covered. When heating food, ensure you cover it with a microwaveable lid or consider using cling film (make sure you pierce this before heating, as the heat from the microwave can cause popping.

Wiping your microwave down daily

Think about it this way, you wash your plates after every meal, so a microwave should be no different. Often when the door to the microwave is closed, and the mess inside concealed, it’s one of those ‘out of sight, out of mind’ situations. However, wiping your microwave down after each use will save you so much time and energy in the long run.

How to Prepare for Cleaning a Microwave

We’ve said it before, but it’s common knowledge that preparation is key before jumping straight into any task.

To prepare, you should take a chopping board and your lemon and cut this in half.

After this, please refer to our step-by-step guide on what to do next.

Should you notice any visible crumbs and food remains, wipe these away with a cloth. You could also use a vacuum, apply a thin nozzle at the end to suck up any loose crumbs. This can make the cleaning process easier later.

Why Should You Clean Your Microwave?

Microwaves can be a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. It is highly important that you don’t skimp around your cleaning duties. As easy as it is to heat up your food and easy peasy microwave meals, it’s also easy to clean your appliance.

And we don’t just mean inside, microwave door handles are frequently used by multiple people, and not cleaning this regularly means it can be easy to spread illnesses.

Raw foods contain bacteria such as Salmonella and E.coli. When cooking these foods in your microwave, splatters from the foods can remain in your microwave, which can sometimes be detrimental to your health.

These nasty bugs can sit on the walls of your microwave and can thrive if not cleaned. If you don’t cover your food, you risk these bugs contaminating your next meal, which can lead to sickness.

Germs need warmth and moisture in order to multiply. Add food into the mix and you have got yourself a pretty nasty concoction. When you heat the microwave, the heat causes the dirt and germs to soften and dislodge and this will then spill into your food.

Cleaning your appliance regularly after use will prevent food poisoning and any cross-contamination can be avoided.

How Often Should You Clean your Microwave?

The kitchen area in your work or household is an area that's used most frequently. Please also bear in mind that this isn't an area used to prepare food, so you want to avoid germs and bacteria spreading, so it’s vital you frequently clean the area to keep hygiene levels up.

After any use of your microwave, whether its heating up food, or hot beverages, this means that your microwave is constantly prone to dirt.

How often you clean your microwave depends entirely on how much you use it. We recommend that you clean your microwave at least once a week and carry out a deep clean using our ‘How to clean your microwave with a lemon’ technique twice a month.

We advise that you wipe down your microwave after each use, spraying some antibacterial spray on a damp cloth will really help keep any bacteria and bugs at bay. You should also wipe down the door handle more frequently using an antibacterial spray, especially if multiple persons are using the same microwave, to stop any spread of germs.


Q: Who invented the microwave?

A: Percy Spencer was the inventor of the microwave oven. In 1945, he was developing microwave radar transmitters during WW2, when he accidentally created this invention. He first noticed that the radar from the microwave could melt the chocolate in his pocket. He then experimented and concluded that these radars transmitted could be used to heat food.

Q: What is a combination microwave?

A: A combination microwave is an appliance that uses a combination of microwave energy, a grill and also fanned hot air, to cook your food with similar qualities to an oven. The advantage of using this allows you to roast, brown and crisp your food, whilst keeping cooking time to a minimum.

Q: What is a solo microwave?

A: Solo microwaves are the most basic model of microwave. They are entry level, and simplistic. They heat food as required, but do not have any special functions such as grilling.

Q: What does power level mean on a microwave?

A: The power levels on a microwave refer to the percentage of times the magnetron tube cycles, turn on and off to maintain various levels. The most popular power levels are 100% (High), 70% (Medium), 50% (Medium-High), 30% (Medium-low) and 10% (Low). All of these levels have been standardised by the microwave industry.

Q: Is 1000 watts good for a microwave?

A: Yes! A 1,000-watt microwave oven is ideal for cooking food quickly. If you have an appliance that is 700 watts or lower, then be aware that cooking time will have to be increased to make up for the loss of power.


Author: Sian V

After graduating with a 1st class degree in Marketing, I worked as a marketing assistant for four years and now focus on freelance writing. I specialise in creating informative how-to guides to help homeowners do some DIY themselves.