How to Sanitize Your Microwave Safely and Correctly

Ellie Brooks

Written By Ellie Brooks

Published 10/20/22
How to Sanitize Your Microwave Safely and Correctly

Microwaves are handy home devices, but they can get filthy awfully quick. It’s easy to overestimate the power required to heat up some leftovers for a quick bite, and too much power leads to splashes and splatters before you know it.

Don’t let food residue sit in your microwave. It will create smells, attract insects, and become more of a pain to clean as it dries and hardens on the microwave’s inner walls. A simple sponge can sop up a mess, but additional products are required to effectively kill bacteria and other germs.

There are a few different ways to thoroughly sanitize a microwave inside and out. In this article, we’ll review some helpful tips.

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How to Disinfect a Microwave: 5 Effective Methods

There is more than one easy microwave cleaning hack. Some common household items can clean up your appliance in no time.

1. Dish Soap

There’s no reason why you can’t use your microwave’s power to your advantage when giving it a thorough clean. One of the best tricks to clean microwave inner surfaces is to zap a bowl of water with a little dish soap.

Add about a teaspoon of standard dish soap to one cup of water in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for two minutes. The goal is to create some steam without causing the soapy mixture to boil over the rim of the dish. If your microwave is especially powerful, perhaps two minutes is too long. Conversely, if your microwave is a bit older, you may need to heat the mixture for a touch longer.

Allow the dish of soapy water to sit inside the microwave for three or four minutes. Leave the door closed. You want to trap the steam within the microwave and allow it to work on any caked-on food residue.

Carefully remove the hot dish with oven mitts or gloves. Use a clean sponge, rag, or microfiber cloth to wipe down the inner surfaces.

2. Vinegar

Vinegar is a remarkably effective cleaner. Pour some white vinegar in a clean spray bottle and spritz the inside of your microwave. Allow the vinegar to stand for 10 to 15 minutes. If your appliance has a removable glass or plastic tray, wash it in the sink with soap and warm water. Use a clean sponge or microfiber cloth to wipe away the vinegar and any accumulated gunk inside the microwave.

Repeat as needed for especially dirty microwaves. The smell of the vinegar might be potent and unpleasant, but it will dissipate quickly.

3. Baking Soda

A lot of homeowners understandably want to avoid using harsh chemical-based cleaners in their homes. They can be a danger to children and pets, and they irritate your skin and eyes even when being used as intended. Many such cleaners are also much stronger than what the average homeowner needs.

Baking soda is a great alternative. Mix a couple tablespoons of baking soda with four tablespoons of white vinegar or water. This should create a viscous paste. Use a clean soft-bristled brush or sponge to dab the mixture onto stubborn stains and spots of dried food inside your microwave. Allow it to sit for at least five minutes.

The carbon dioxide gas that is created from mixing the acidic vinegar and baking soda will make light work of even the toughest stains. Most residue should come right off with a clean towel.

4. Lemon

For a natural and fragrant-smelling approach, try using lemon to clean inside microwave surfaces. Quarter a lemon and add the pieces to a microwave-safe dish with about three cups of water. Set the dish inside the microwave and cook on high for two to four minutes—just enough to bring the water to a boil.

Just as we instructed with the dish soap method, leave the microwave door closed and allow the dish to steam up the appliance for about five minutes. Then use a damp microfiber cloth or sponge to wipe down the inner surfaces.

5. Wet Sponge or Towel

If you don’t want to deal with dishes brimming with hot cleaning solutions, you could employ a sponge or towel. Saturate a clean sponge or dishtowel in some warm water. You may want to also add a drop or two of dish soap or a few drops of a fragrant essential oil.

Microwave the wet sponge or towel for one to two minutes. Leave the microwave door closed and allow the steam to collect inside. When the sponge or towel is cool enough to handle with rubber gloves, use it to wipe away any grease, grime, and stains.

Tips for Maintaining a Clean Microwave

A little preventative maintenance and more frequent, shorter cleanings can go a long way. Here are a few tips.

  •          Cover food that is liable to splatter in the microwave. You can use parchment paper, a paper towel, or a specialized microwave cover.
  •          Zap some lemon in hot water after cooking powerfully smelling foods, such as popcorn or bacon.
  •          Don’t allow food splatters to dry and harden. Wipe up messes, no matter how small, as soon as they happen.
  •          Make cleaning your microwave part of your regular kitchen cleaning routine. Wipe down the interior and exterior surfaces any time you wipe down your counters or sink.

Extend the Life of Your Microwave With a Home Warranty

Your microwave, like any home appliance, is subject to malfunction, even if you use it responsibly and keep it in great condition. A microwave warranty period might be one year or less. You are responsible for paying for any service or repair beyond that window.

You can protect yourself from those surprise costs with a home warranty. Liberty Home Guard’s Appliance Guard plan covers all the mechanical parts and components of built-in microwaves, along with a suite of other major home appliances. For more information on our plans and policies, call (866)-432-1283. You can also use our website for a free quote.

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