Microwaves have been with us for decades and they are in most modern kitchens. But when was the last time that you cleaned yours? If you haven’t cleaned it in some time, the food stains have probably become quite hardened and stubborn.
The problem is that many people don’t regularly clean them. All it takes is one exploded bowl of pasta to create a mess inside any microwave and then you’re left cleaning up bits of ground beef and tomato sauce. Of course, there are numerous ways to clean a microwave but not all of them are recommended. In fact, some are likely to damage your microwave.
So, in the spirit of getting microwaves clean across the nation, here are some things you should know:
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Best to Avoid Bleach
Bleach is one of those common household cleaners that seems to be an ingredient in lots of products. It’s an industrial-strength cleaner with anti-bacterial properties but this doesn’t mean that it should be used everywhere. In fact, it’s not a good idea to use it on your microwave at all.
The problem is that bleach is very strong and can actually damage some surfaces. While you might use it liberally in your toilet to clean off the gunk and scum, you shouldn’t use it on your microwave. The bleach can actually discolor and damage the plastic parts of the microwave by making it brittle.
In fact, bleach isn’t actually necessary to clean a whole range of household surfaces but you definitely should avoid using it on your microwave. The good news is that there are other options that are much safer and better.
Get This Stuff Instead
So if you’re not going to use bleach or any products containing bleach, what should you use to clean your microwave? Here’s what you should go out and stock up on instead:
- Baking soda (otherwise known as bicarbonate of soda)
- Vinegar (apple cider or white)
- And regular soap
How to Clean Your Microwave the Easy Way
No matter how much gunk is in your microwave, you can get it out pretty quickly and easily with some elbow grease and the above ingredients. So how do you do it? Here’s how to properly clean a microwave:
- Make sure that your microwave is unplugged first so that you stay safe.
- Fill a bowl with water and put in two tablespoons of vinegar.
- Put the bowl in the microwave as if you are about to cook something and then set the power on high for five full minutes.
- This should be long enough for the water and vinegar mix to start bubbling and fill the inside of the microwave with steam.
- Open the door and let the bowl cool for a few minutes before removing it.
- Now you should be able to wipe down the inside of the microwave because the water and vinegar mix has softened and loosened all of the gunk.
If you don’t happen to have any vinegar in the house, you can wet some paper towels and do the same thing as above. Just put them in the microwave on high. The steam from the wet paper towels is often enough to remove many food stains.
Alternatively, you can even squeeze citrus juice, such as lemons or limes, into the bowl of water instead. This will help to loosen up the food stains in place of the vinegar. Some people even use dishwashing liquid or regular soap to do the same thing. A lot of it really depends on what you find effective and how tough the food stains are.
How to Get Rid of Really Tough Stains
Lots of people swear by the water and vinegar bowl for cleaning their microwave but it isn’t always possible to get the hardened stuff off the sides. This is where you can also use some baking soda.
If there are some stubborn food stains inside the microwave, you can make a paste by mixing one part baking soda with two parts water. Once you’ve done this, just spread it liberally on all of the hardened stains. Leave it for about five minutes and then wipe away the softened stains with a cloth.
What About Chemical Cleaners?
As mentioned earlier, bleach products are a no-go zone. This is because they can damage plastic surfaces. But what about other cleaners?
Some chemical cleaners are safe to use on microwaves but you need to bear in mind that the chemical residue left by these products can leave a nasty smell in your microwave and may even affect the taste of food. This is why it’s a good idea to resort to natural cleaning products such as baking soda and vinegar. If you do use a chemical cleaner, you can actually use baking soda to absorb a lot of that bad odor.
Cleaning the Rest of Your Microwave
Now that you’ve thoroughly cleaned the food stains from inside the microwave, it’s time to clean the rest of it. The outside doesn’t normally get quite so grimy but it does tend to get coated in oil, grease, and dust.
The best way to clean the exterior of any microwave is to use regular warm water and soap. Just go over it thoroughly with a soft cloth and get rid of the excess gunk.
The one area to avoid is the control panel. This is because water can get into the electrics underneath and cause damage to your microwave. In this case, just use a dry cloth to wipe it down.
Making it Easy on Yourself
If you use your microwave a lot, it’s a good idea to clean it on a more regular basis. This ensures that food stains don’t build up and that cleaning it is a lot quicker and easier each time.
By wiping it down gently with a soft cloth every few days, you can make a big difference in your microwave cleaning routine and ensure that you don’t have to resort to any of those chemical cleaners.