Update: This is one of the first tips published here on Tipnut (2006) and it took the internet by storm way back then. Why? Because it works, it’s simple to do and totally accessible for everyone (which means no fancy tools or chemicals required)! This timeless tip is just as effective today as it was 14 years ago and I’m very confident it’s exactly what you’re looking for.
Whether your microwave gets put to work a little or a lot, eventually you’ll have to contend with a crusty mess of splatters and bits left behind from a variety of overheated sauces and foods.
We all know the best thing to do is to wipe it all down as soon as disaster happens, but that’s not real life. We’re busy, we get distracted or don’t notice (ever bend down and take a good look up at the top inner ceiling–yikes!) or maybe the kiddos were on the loose with pizza pops and you didn’t realize it.
Next thing you know, the walls are covered in “impossible to remove” stains.
Not so! Stubborn, caked on bits are voila! a problem no more with these easy cleaning methods…and they work no matter how long it’s been since you last tackled the job.
Even if you’re dealing with a real monster of a mess…no worries!…you’re in luck and came to the right place ;).
Here’s How To Clean It
Place a bowl of water inside the microwave. Stir in a spoonful of salt or submerge a non-metal object such as a wooden stir stick* and zap for 3 – 5 minutes, depending how much and how hard the crud is really stuck on.
This will generate a good amount of moisture & steam that will cling to the inner walls of the appliance.
When the timer stops, keep the door closed to give things time to work. The hard bits will slowly start to absorb the moisture and soften, making them easier to wipe off.
After a few minutes (5 to 10 should do it), carefully remove the bowl (it will be super hot) and take a moist, warm cloth to the inside walls of the appliance. The crud bits should now wipe off easily.
Rinse and repeat as needed and you should have things looking as good as new in no time!
- Instead of salt, add a couple teaspoons of baking soda and follow same process as above. This will act as a deodorizer. If you’re brave, you can use the heated baking soda liquid to scrub, but be careful–this will be HOT. The bicarb is gentle enough that it shouldn’t leave any scratches. Use a thick sponge and make sure to protect your fingertips from the hot liquid. You could also add a splash or two of cold water to bring the temperature down.
You can also try:
- Instead of salt or bicarb, add 1/4 cup regular household vinegar to the water and follow the same procedure as above. The vinegar also acts as a freshener/deodorizer and tackles heavy grease effectively. Use the vinegar mix when cleaning, but again–this will be very hot so be careful with it.
- Soak a thick sponge with vinegar/water (you can also try a cotton hand towel instead of a sponge), put it in a bowl & place inside the microwave. Set heat on high for 3 minutes. As noted above, let it sit closed for a few minutes once timer is done–allows moisture and steam to do their magic and seep into all the crust bits and splatters. Open the door and sponge down the insides. The sponge will be scalding, so wear rubber gloves to help protect your skin from being burned.
- You can throw a few slices of lemon in a bowl of hot water and then heat as above. This will help freshen things up as well and the lemon does a good job of cutting through any grease residue.
As you can see, the cleaning process is not difficult or tricky at all. Just get some steam generated, give it a few minutes to do its thing then tackle the dirty mess with a damp cloth. Try it, I’m sure you’ll find keeping the inside of your appliance sparkling couldn’t be easier ;).
*ETA: Read comment section below. Water by itself can ‘superheat’ and cause serious burns by erupting. To avoid this you want to make sure salt or baking soda is added.
Removing Scorch Marks
*First published June 13th, 2007 and moved to this page for better organization
Kitty sent in this note:
I have successfully removed a scorch from the wall of my brand-new microwave!
It needs a 3 part approach:
- Try one of those magic eraser sponges.
- Then use toothpaste on an old tooth brush. You’ll need a lot of scrubbing with both of them to even lighten the mark.
Then, what worked the best:
- take a paper towel and fold it into a square a little bigger than your scorch. Wet it with bleach (like clorox). Use full strength. No need for it to be dripping, just wet. Then press it against your scorch and leave it there a few hours. It will stick to the side of the oven just fine. (and come off later just fine). Check it occasionally.
My popcorn scorch took 9 hours to completely fade away, but it did go away!