A clean microwave looks, smells and cooks better.

The Best Way to Clean a Microwave

by Jenny Harrington

The microwave is often one of the hardest-working appliances in the modern kitchen. It cooks, reheats and even thaws. All this use can result in a filthy interior and exterior if it isn't cleaned regularly. The best ways to get your microwave clean don't require a lot of time or toxic chemicals. A few minutes each day can prevent the need for more labor-intensive cleaning later.

1. Daily Cleaning

Wiping out the microwave daily or after each use is the best way to keep it clean, since soil never has a chance to build up. A quick wipe with a damp cloth removes most fresh food splatters, crumbs and grease. Use soapy water to break down more stubborn grease stains. Each evening, take a moment to wipe beneath the turntable, the outside of the door and buttons, and around the door seal so grime doesn't build up in these areas.

2. Deep Cleaning

Baked-on food requires more in-depth cleaning. To loosen the food inside the microwave, boil 1 cup of water in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes. Leave the water in the microwave, with the door shut, for an additional five minutes so the steam can loosen the food particles. Most dirt wipes out easily after this treatment. You can also scrub the stains lightly with a nonabrasive pad and soapy water. Use a mild dish soap and rinse away all soap residue after the microwave is clean. Most glass microwave turntables are dishwasher safe, but only wash them when they are completely cool so they don't shatter.

3. Odor Removal

Foul odors can sometimes build up inside a microwave, even if you clean it regularly. Mixing 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 1 cup of water and thoroughly washing the inside of the microwave and the seal with the solution usually removes the odors. The best way to remove persistent odors is to combine one part lemon juice with three parts water in a glass cup. Boil the solution in the microwave for three minutes and leave it inside until it cools. The microwave has a fresh lemon scent after this treatment.

4. Precautions

The microwave is an electric device, so you must unplug it before cleaning to avoid the dangers of electrical shock. Harsh abrasives and abrasive pads can permanently etch the inside of the microwave or the glass, making it more difficult to clean in the future. Never use ammonia- or alcohol-containing cleansers.

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