Genius Hacks To Remove Nasty Grime From Inside Your Microwave

If the inside of your microwave looks like a crime scene, read on.

It's an embarrassing thing to ask, but do you know how to clean your microwave properly? We're not talking a quick wipe over, we're talking the days -- or weeks -- of grime that seem to be like concrete inside your appliance.

Image: Getty

And it's not just at home. It's a nightmare for every corporate cleaner in the world, with office workers notorious for not wiping up spills and leaving communal microwaves in a less than pristine condition.

So we thought we'd go to the experts for some guidance.

Jane Wilson is head of marketing and social for Fantastic Cleaners Melbourne and what she doesn't know about cleaning isn't worth knowing.

"Regular maintenance is pivotal to keeping the microwave in a good condition, because the longer you wait, the more difficult it gets to scrub off the dirt, until it becomes impossible," she told 10 daily.

And for those of us who don't know how to do it (how on earth were you brought up?), here are her hacks for a sparkling clean microwave.

"First get a bowl, fill it with water, add two spoons of white vinegar and a few lemon slices to it, put it in the microwave and heat it for a few minutes, so the water can boil and release steam inside the microwave," she said.

"There are also devices sold in stores that do that, like the Angry Mama microwave steam cleaner, it’s become very popular in the last few years."

That's one Angry Mama!
Once the inside of the microwave is steamed, leave the door closed for a few more minutes, so the steam can loosen the dirt. Then you need to remove the turntable and quickly wipe the inside of the microwave and the door with a sponge."

"For more stubborn stains, you can dip the sponge in some more white vinegar and sprinkle some baking soda on it, then start scrubbing while it foams," she told 10 daily. "After that, you can go back to the turntable and wash it like any other dish -- with a sponge and some dishwashing liquid, under running water. Then dry all the parts with a soft cloth and place the turntable back inside."

Got it?

Okay so if things aren't budging it's time for the second hack.

"Steaming the microwave should work on most stains and dried grime, but sometimes the dirt can be very stubborn, especially if it’s months old and you use the microwave every day. There are a few things you can try here," said Wilson.

Image: Getty
First, try the milder one -- place a few tablespoons of baking soda in a bowl, then slowly add small amounts of water until you form a paste. Spread the paste on the stains and let it sit for at least five minutes. Then wipe everything off with a damp cloth."

And if you still have caked-on food there... it's time to bring out the big guns.

It's okay, you don't have to go this far. Image: Getty

"Open the windows for ventilation and get some acetone and rubber gloves," Wilson told 10 daily. "Pour some acetone onto a clean cloth and scrub the stains with the cloth until they disappear. Then mix some soap with warm water and use this mixture and another cloth to wash away the acetone."

After that rinse with clean water and dry the inside of the microwave with a towel or a clean rag."

Sparkly, right?

One thing you should definitely avoid, said Wilson, is forgetting to clean it altogether, because if the dirt stays long enough, it will stay for good.

"Another thing you should avoid is using harsh chemicals inside the microwave, because microwaves have a lot more hidden crevices than regular ovens, and you probably won’t be able to wash away the toxic elements efficiently," she said.

"And the unique heating process of the microwave may be perfect for heating your food, but it’s not efficient enough when it comes to removing detergent leftovers or killing germs, compared to the conventional oven. It’s also not recommended to use spray cleaners or sprays in any way, because the intensity of the liquid coming out of the bottle can easily damage parts of the microwave, especially if it gets through a vent."


The only certain way to avoid getting the microwave dirty when cooking in it, would be to not use it, but yeah, as if that's going to happen, right? Fortunately, Jane Wilson says she has some simple tricks we can try to contain the mess and make the cleaning easier.

  • "One is to do a quick wipe of the microwave every couple of days, depending on how often you use it. Especially if you notice splatters, it’s good to wipe them before they get baked-on."
  • "Another good way to prevent spills is to cover the food container you’re heating with a plastic wrap or a paper towel, they will catch all the splatters that happen when the food pops from the heating."
  • "Some home improvement stores even sell these special vented microwave splatter guards, it’s basically a plastic lid with some small holes in it, and it can cover most standard dinner plates."
  • "Another useful tool you can try are the standard oven liners they sell to cover the oven floors, some of them are suitable for microwaves as well."

Feature image: Getty.