How to Clean Microwave with Vinegar – Step by Step Guide

Microwaves are some of the most difficult kitchen appliances to clean. Because it’s common for food to boil out of its container, thus covering the microwave interior, it’s not that difficult to get a microwave dirty. But, it’s also possible to easily clean a microwave!

Even if you haven’t cleaned your microwave in a while and the microwave is suffering from some yucky dried on food stains, you can still clean things up quickly and without much trouble. What’s the key? A combination of vinegar and steam!

Vinegar is a tough cleaning solution that’s often overlooked. It can really pry out the most difficult of stains, and plus, it has disinfecting properties! Using vinegar will also help get rid of funny smells that might be present.

Steam is also often overlooked. When combined with vinegar, steam can make a fierce cleaning solution, especially when it comes to cleaning a microwave. Thankfully it’s quite simple to go about creating steam in a microwave, so read on to find out how to clean using these two items!

How to Clean Microwave with Vinegar

Ways of How to Clean Microwave with Vinegar

There are a few different ways to clean a microwave using vinegar. Some methods are easier than others, but depending on your microwave make and model and your personal preference, certain methods may be better than others.

Here are some of the primary ways to clean a microwave with vinegar:

Vinegar and Steam (using a bowl)

This is probably one of the easiest ways to clean a microwave with vinegar. The vinegar and steam method is powerful and effective, and it usually seriously diminishes the amount of scrubbing time necessary (sometimes even eliminating the need for scrubbing altogether!)

This technique requires the use of a microwaveable bowl, a sponge, and a toothpick, along with vinegar, water, and (if desired) a drop of lemon essential oil. It’s super simple and super fast, perfect for busy people with major messes.

Step 1: Fill a microwavable bowl with 2 cups of water. Add 2 tablespoons of vinegar and 1 drop of lemon essential oil. The lemon oil will add a fresh scent and help cover up the vinegar smell. Lemon is also disinfecting, so it’s a good choice.

Step 2: Place the toothpick inside of the water in the microwaveable bowl. This will help ensure that the soon-to-be hot water doesn’t “explode” into boiling upon removal from the microwave. This isn’t a common occurrence, but it’s best to be safe rather than sorry.

Step 3: Place the bowl in the microwave and turn the microwave on high for 5 minutes. After the timer is done, allow the bowl to sit in the microwave for 2-3 minutes longer with the door closed to allow the steam and vinegar to permeate sticky stains.

Step 4: Remove the bowl carefully. Then, take out the turntable and wash it in the sink (it should clean very easily). Use the sponge to clean the inside of the microwave. There shouldn’t be any problem removing stubborn stains, and the microwave should smell good and clean!

Vinegar and Steam (using a sponge)

This microwave-cleaning method is essentially the same as the above, but it’s more suited for smaller or less significant messes. It’s a bit easier in some ways, but the basic technique is essentially the same.

It’s important to make sure that the sponge you use doesn’t have any metal particles in it as a part of its construction. Some sponges have metal in them, so make sure the one you use doesn’t or you could have a dangerous situation on your hands.

Step 1: Start by wetting down a sponge. Make sure it’s completely soaked. Pour some vinegar(1-2 tablespoons) onto the sponge, and add some lemon essential oil or lemon juice. Place the sponge in the microwave.

Step 2: Turn on the microwave for 5 minutes on high temperature. If your microwave has a lower wattage, this time period may need to be increased to up to 10 minutes. Use your best judgement, and if you have doubt, leave the microwave on a bit longer

Step 3: After the timer goes off, don’t immediately open the microwave door. Allow the hot sponge to sit in the microwave with the door closed for approximately 2-3 minutes to let the steam and vinegar work on the tough stains.

Step 4: Remove the sponge (carefully, it’s hot!) from the microwave. Rinse off the turntable in the sink, and use a different, new sponge to swipe down the inside of the microwave. As long as the stains aren’t super tough, the sponge method should work just fine.

Cleaning the Exterior

The outside of the microwave should definitely be well-cleaned. This is the part that people see first, after all! A clean and tidy microwave can make a major difference in creating a clean and comfortable kitchen environment.

To clean the outside of the microwave, it’s possible to use a cleaning solution of equal parts vinegar and water along with a drop of lemon essential oil. This will disinfect, polish, and leave things smelling great. Even better, it’s friendly to the environment!

For tough stains or microwaves that require special cleaning techniques for the exterior, you can use a cloth and some disinfectant cleaner. It’s important to NEVER spray the cleaner directly onto the microwave. Spray it onto the cloth first so the cleaner doesn’t get into the ventilation.


Lots of people think that cleaning a microwave is a frustrating and time-consuming effort, but the truth is that with the right materials it can be a breeze to clean things up! No matter the stains or types of food, vinegar and steam can be the keys to a clean and fresh microwave.

Hopefully, with these super simple tips and tricks you’ll be on the way to a clean microwave in no time! Cleaning a microwave with steam and vinegar is the best way to get the job done fast, so it’s ideal for busy people. But of course, who doesn’t love a fast cleaning trick?

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