How to Steam Clean a Microwave the Easy Way

The microwave is one of the most used and beloved kitchen appliances. You can have a meal ready in no time, steam frozen vegetables, or even reheat leftovers when you’re not in the mood for cooking. Yet, like all devices, it does require a bit of maintenance to get rid of all those baked-on bits of food, splatters and grease. Our favorite way to clean that mess is with steam, so we have the guide on how to steam clean microwave here.

Of course, the best way to keep your microwave clean is to wipe it down after each use. But that’s not always manageable with kids and a busy lifestyle. So the next time you’re about to close the door on your microwave (or you think there’s no chance of removing that rock-hard bolognese sauce), give steam cleaning a try. It is an effective way to have a sparkling clean microwave in a matter of minutes. Best of all, it is much simpler than it looks.

Don’t believe us? Well, here’s a simple guide on methods, safety concerns and little DIY hacks to transform your greasy microwave into a sparkly fresh kitchen appliance that will last you a long time.

Why Do You Need to Steam Clean the Microwave?

Before we jump further into the cleaning part, we should address why it’s crucial to clean your microwave in the first place. Has it ever crossed your mind that that food that remains inside your microwave poses a threat? If you’re not aware by now, food splatters can cause contamination if you don’t clean the microwave afterward. Just how? Well, when the food bits are left around the interior of the microwave, they can grow germs. So if you don’t clean up your microwave after your delicious meal, you’re creating a zone for germs to thrive and multiply. Who wants that?

Besides the germs, think about another not-so-tiny problem. The leftover food splatters can actually loosen and come in contact with your food each time you turn on your microwave to reheat or make something from scratch.  Next time, just wipe up the leftovers when fresh to avoid possible bacteria growth. Also, don’t forget to clean the handle, as this area too can be a breeding ground.

How to Steam Clean Microwave

There are several different ways you can approach steam cleaning your microwave, so let’s jump right into it.

How to Steam Clean Microwave With Vinegar

how to steam clean microwave

This method allows you to use your microwave powers to your advantage. By creating steam mixed with vinegar you’ll be able to have a squeaky clean microwave. You’ll need a glass measuring cup or other small microwave-safe bowls, distilled white vinegar, a sponge or dishcloth and a clean, dry cloth. 

Mix two cups of water and two tablespoons of distilled white vinegar into a microwave-safe bowl. Next, place the cup or bowl inside your microwave and heat on high power until the liquid comes to a boil. 

Let it stand for three to five minutes so that the steam trapped inside has time to loosen up all the caked-on food gunk. Open the door after steaming it for a few minutes, and then slowly and carefully remove the measuring bowl using a heat-resistant mitt, as well as the plate. Then use the sponge to wipe the inside of the microwave. Start with the ceiling and then the sides, but don’t forget the edges too. Wipe down the plate and put it back in. Finally, a dry cloth will give your whole microwave one last wipe down.

You can also substitute vinegar with baking soda and water mix solution. It’s much safer than using harsh chemicals. And the good thing is that all of these ingredients you probably already have in your pantry, so you’re doing the cleaning without breaking the bank.

How to Steam Clean Microwave With Lemon Oil

how to steam clean microwave

If you want to mask the vinegar smell or it’s somehow displeasing you can also use lemon oil for a citrusy effect.

Start by mixing a solution of water and lemon essential oil. The ratio should be two fluid ounces of water and three drops of lemon essential oil, all mixed into a clean small spray bottle. Shake it to mix it all together. Remove any debris from the microwave before you steam it. Then spray the inside of the microwave as well as all the nooks and crannies with the solution. Next, place a wet sponge inside and microwave for two minutes. That way the sponge is what’s going to produce the steam that will loosen all the bits of food and grease from the walls of the microwave.

Soak a sponge with clean water and place it in the center of the oven. Close the door and microwave on high for two minutes, allowing for the microwave to heat up and for the sponge to release steam. Let the sponge cool down for at least five minutes before you try to pick it up. The sponge will be very hot from microwaving it so be careful.

Use the cooled sponge to wipe down the microwave. Wipe down the walls, bottom, and top of the microwave. The lemon solution and steam should have loosened everything so there will be no need for extra scrubbing. This method is also budget-friendly since lemon oil is an affordable item.

Cleaning With Commercial Cleaners

how to steam clean microwave

If using lemon, baking soda or vinegar hasn’t provided you with results then it’s time to switch to a commercial-grade microwave cleaner. Remember to choose one that won’t leave a bad smell or one that can affect the smell and taste of the food you’re cooking. Pick it out at any local grocery or hardware store and make sure to air out your microwave for at least 30 minutes before cooking again. A little safety tip is to avoid using strong chemicals such as bleach or ammonia when cleaning your microwave and to always use protective gloves when working with any type of cleanser. Remember, you are heating up food, so you definitely don’t want to accidentally consume those chemicals. Their price ranges anywhere from $10 up.

Hire a Professional

how to steam clean microwave

If cleaning isn’t your forte, don’t worry. Another way to get a clean microwave is to hire someone to do it for you. The price depends on the type of microwave you have and how many appliances need cleaning. If you do choose this path, make sure to cast aside your rubber gloves and enjoy your extra time.

Bottom Line

Keeping a microwave clean is not always on the top of our to-do list. Yet, if you want to avoid bacteria build-up, creating a steamy environment in your microwave oven will help to loosen even the most stubborn food messes. Plus it keeps everything nice and sterilized. Whether you opt for one of the DIY methods or decide to hire a professional with these tips in mind, you’ll be able to do so safely and effectively. Once the steam starts doing its magic, watch in amazement as all the gunk and grime slide off easily! But remember, always use caution when cleaning microwaves.

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