The Easiest Way to Clean Your Messy Microwave

Take the wonder out of how to clean a microwave, even when it's at its worst.

Food exploded in microwave ovenPhoto: Shutterstock / anderm
Photo: Shutterstock / anderm

“Hooray! It’s time to clean the microwave,” said no one…ever.

Even if you’re the Queen of Clean, scrubbing out a microwave ranks up there with trying on bathing suits, deep-cleaning the oven, and sifting through garbage looking for your son’s discarded retainer. (Read: not fun at all.) From last week’s scorched-on spaghetti sauce to the great chili explosion of 2009, microwave remnants are not for the weak-hearted. Toss in some elbow grease and a backbreaking stance described as a “chiropractor’s dream,” and you’ve got the perfect storm of kitchen chores.

But messy outcomes shouldn’t keep you from nuking your dinner. (Especially after considering these delicious microwave-ready recipes.) Follow along as we show you the ultra-fast, fuss-free way to clean your microwave.

How to Clean a Microwave, Quick

Step 1: Fill Up Your Cup

Grab a microwave-safe cup or bowl and fill it halfway with water (1/2 to 3/4 cup works great).

Optional: For lemon-scented freshness without any chemicals, cut a lemon in half and squeeze the lemon juice into the water. Then add the lemon halves to the bowl.

Step 2: Nuke it

Microwave the mixture on high for 4 to 5 minutes or until the water comes to a rolling boil. Be sure the water doesn’t boil over.

Step 3: Get Steamy

Let everything sit for 3 or 4 minutes. Do not open the microwave door. You want the microwave to fill with the steam created by the boiling water.

Step 4: Wipe it Down

Carefully remove the cup or bowl and wipe out the microwave with a damp cloth. Discard the lemon rinds.

Voila! You’ve got a sparkling-clean microwave.You may have to repeat these steps a second time for truly baked-on particles, but overall this is a fast, easy and…kinda, sorta…fun way to clean the microwave. Heck, make the kids do it—tell them it’s a science experiment. You’ll thank yourself the next time you’re looking to microwave that breakfast egg sandwich!

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Mark Hagen
The former owner of his own catering business, Mark’s been part of the Taste of Home team for the past 20 years. His work has also appeared in Quick Cooking, Light & Tasty and Country Woman magazines as well as in various Pillsbury and Betty Crocker cookbooks. When he’s not spending time in the kitchen with his Westie, Rocco, he’s working in his yard, doing stand-up comedy or devouring a platter of nachos. (Most likely the latter.)