March 17

How to Clean a Microwave with Dish Soap | A Guide in 5 Simple Steps & Useful Advice


Author: Cornelia Suehr and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Microwaves are prone to get dirty fairly easily thanks to their function of heating up food. With all the splatter due to heating up food, it’s no wonder that microwaves get dirty so easily. To make matters worse, most people don’t clean the microwave as often as they should.

How to Clean a Microwave with Dish Soap? Cleaning a microwave with dish soap might seem like a complicated task, but it is not. In this guide, we will walk you through the steps required to do that.

Step by Step Process of Cleaning a Microwave with Dish Soap

If you often use your microwave oven, you know how quickly splatters can build up on the interior walls, as well as on the door and ceiling. Wouldn't it be nice to have a ready-to-use solution to clean all those nasty splatters? Like, for example, dish soap?

a person poring dish soap on the sponge

Why Use Soap?

The reason you want to use dish soap is because of its grease-cutting abilities. Grease can stick to the walls and bottom of your microwave, making it tough to remove unless you use an effective cleaner like dish soap.

Step 1: Gather Things that You will need to Clean your Microwave Oven

  • Water
  • Paper towel
  • Dish soap
  • Microwave-safe bowl
  • Lemon juice
  • Vinegar or Baking Soda
  • Soft cloth

Unplug the microwave, open the microwave door, and remove any loose items inside. If your microwave has a removable glass plate, take that out as well. If the plate is stuck, try running some warm water over it. This will loosen up any dried-on gunk, making it easier to remove.

a hand in a yellow rubber glove reaching for the bottle with vinegar

Step 2: Pre-clean Your Microwave with Steam

Fill a microwave-safe bowl with water (about two cups) and add a few drops of liquid dishwashing soap. Bring the water to a boil in your microwave.  Steam will loosen caked-on grime or help remove stubborn food splatters. Let the water boil for 5 minutes, and allow it to sit for a while so that the steam can loosen stuck-on food.

If your microwave has bad smells due to burnt popcorn, etc., add lemon juice to water.

Step 3: Wipe your Microwave Interior

Remove the bowl carefully and wipe down the inside of the microwave with a dishcloth or paper towel. You can also dip your rag or sponge into the soapy water and then clean your dirty microwave.

You want the clean rag or sponge to be damp but not dripping wet. Wipe down the interior of your microwave. If you have any baked-on splatters, let the soapy water sit on them for about a minute to loosen them up before wiping again.

To keep your microwave clean, be sure to wipe off messes after each use, so the mess doesn't have time to harden and cause stains.

a person cleaning microwave interior

Getting Rid of Tough Stains

To get rid of stubborn food stains, try soaking a sponge with baking soda until it’s saturated and then scrubbing at any areas that have caked-on food residue. Rinse off your sponge when necessary and repeat as needed until most of the food stains have been removed.

Step 4: Clean the Removables

Clean all removable parts of a microwave by dipping them in warm, soapy water. For example, many microwaves have a glass turntable that can be taken out and cleaned in the sink with your other dishes.

sponge in a soapy sink

Step 5: Rinse Your Microwave

Once you've cleaned your microwave with soap, you'll want to rinse away any residue left behind by the soap. Fill another microwave-safe bowl with warm water and place it inside the microwave. Turn the microwave on for at least 2 minutes.

When the water has boiled and has gathered enough steam, remove the bowl and wipe down all of the surfaces. You shouldn't need any more soap or cleaning products to complete this step. If there is any excess steam, you can use a paper towel or dry cloth to wipe it off completely.

What Is the Easiest Way to Clean a Microwave?

One of the easiest ways to clean a microwave is to combine 1 cup water and 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a bowl, then microwave that mixture for 2 minutes. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then open the door and wipe the inside down. If necessary, you can repeat this process.

a person putting a dish with lemon into the microwave

If you don't have any lemon juice handy, you can use vinegar instead. Just mix equal parts of water and vinegar in a bowl, then microwave it for 2 minutes. The steam from the mixture makes it easier to wipe down with a wet paper towel the inside of your microwave.

What Is the Best Thing to Clean the Inside of a Microwave?

Cleaning the inside of a microwave is an important kitchen task to perform regularly, and you don't need to use harsh chemicals or spend a ton of money cleaning it. Most people have everything they need in their pantry, and the best part is that this method doesn't require any scrubbing.

Soapy Water

It's a good idea to use soapy water when you're cleaning the inside of your microwave. This water will help loosen up any grease and grime stuck inside your microwave.

Cleaning Rags

Use rags to wipe away all of the gunk in your microwave. Make sure you wring out any excess water from the rag before wiping down the microwave.

clorful sponges and dish wash

Washable, Tough Sponges

You can also use a tough, washable sponge for cleaning the inside of your microwave. Sponges are easier to use than rags because they hold onto more water and soap.

What Cannot Be Used in Cleaning a Microwave?

There are many cleaning products that can be used on a microwave, but there are also some that should be avoided.

Using Chemicals

The chemicals found in many cleaning products can be harmful if used in a microwave. These chemicals can enter the food being reheated or cooked and cause illness.

Metal Bowls

Microwaves heat up by using radiation, so when metal is placed into a microwave, it can cause sparks to fly out of the microwave. Sparks could potentially start a fire in the kitchen, so it is important to never place any metal objects in the microwave. This includes metal bowls and containers, aluminum foil, and metal scrubbers for cleaning.

Do Not Use Metallic Brushes

Many people will use metallic brushes to clean their microwaves, but this can cause the same type of reaction as when a bowl made from metal is used. The metal brush could also have an adverse effect on the paint inside the microwave and cause it to chip off. A safer alternative is to use a non-metallic brush or a scrubbing pad that does not contain any metal.

a person cleaning a microwave

Do not use scrubbers

Unfortunately, most scrubbing pads have some type of metal present in them, so they should not be used on the inside of a microwave either.

Use These Cleaning Products

The best way to clean a microwave is with vinegar or lemon juice. They are both natural cleaners that disinfect and remove odors. Lemon juice also adds a fresh scent to the microwave.

Soapy Water plus Baking Soda

Use soapy water due to spillage of oil in the microwave's interior. You can add baking soda to tackle odors which can be as a result of burning microwave popcorn or other food.

lemon, water and baking soda

How Often Should I Clean My Microwave?

Clean your microwave as often as you can if you don't or can't, for some reason, at least clean it when it gets dirty.

The longer you let food or spills sit in your microwave, the harder they become to remove. And we all know how easy it is to accidentally boil over something, or have a bag of popcorn explode.

If spills are left alone, they can start to smell and mold. This can cause bacteria to grow in the microwave, which is not only gross but can be dangerous. In general, food particles and grease should be removed from the appliance every time they appear.

Now that we've cleared out any uncertainties about how to clean a microwave oven, you can find out more about different types of modern microwaves to suit all your needs. Check out the extracts from those reviews we shared here:

Microwave Types

Best Convection Microwave

Convection ovens have great cooking power, a child safety lock to prevent accidental usage of the microwave, and different cooking levels. Like we mentioned before, choosing a convection microwave for your needs will be influenced by these 3 main factors - capacity, features for your budget, and your counter space.

Best Microwaves For Home Use

The more features you choose to have, the more expensive the microwave oven for home use would be. The good news is that you can choose to keep things very economical by simply going for a microwave oven with minimal features that meets the size and power requirements as stated earlier.

Best Simple And Basic Microwave Ovens

To reiterate this, a basic microwave oven, in our opinion is a small to midsize, non-inverter solo countertop microwave oven. Why? because a microwave such as this is easy to operate, is affordable, does not occupy much counterspace and is easy to install.

Best 1200 Watt Microwave Ovens

Most of the ovens in this category are quite expensive. This is generally due to two reasons: high powered microwave ovens are heavy duty and thus feature expensive components, secondly, they are very large. Some of the premium ovens in this power category though offer cutting edge technology, albeit at a higher cost.

Best Midsize Countertop Microwave

A midsize model is excellent for a regular family. The smaller models are generally reserved for offices, dorm rooms or garage like spaces. Larger microwave ovens are reserved for commercial spaces, so if you are have regular sized family or 4-5 members, then a midsize microwave oven would work perfectly for you.

About the author

Cornelia Suehr

A professional chef and a passionate writer on all topics related to cooking, baking, appliances and kitchenware. Her posts resonate with foodies, home chefs and professionals.


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