Over-the-range microwave in grey cabinets

How to Clean a Microwave Quickly and Easily

It’s not hard to get your microwave messy and, luckily, it’s not hard to clean it, either. Just microwave a cup of water for 2 to 5 minutes to steam the interior and release stuck-on food. Add vinegar, lemon or baking soda to the water if you want extra deodorizing action. Then, just wipe it down. A clean, fresh kitchen sets the stage for the day’s creations. Read on to learn more about how to clean the inside of a microwave, as well as the exterior and the turntable.

Hand selecting the Steam Clean option on a microwave console

How to Clean Inside a Microwave

Messiness is a part of making. The easiest way to clean inside a microwave requires only a quick steam and a good wipe down. Follow these steps regularly to help prevent spills from building up and baking onto your microwave.

Step 1: Microwave a cup of water for a few minutes

Fill a microwave-safe container with a cup of water. Put it in the microwave and heat it for 3 to 5 minutes, until it comes to a boil. This will create steam that should loosen any dried food stuck to the interior walls of the microwave. 

Step 2: Wipe down the interior

Mix a teaspoon of liquid dish soap or other mild cleaner in a cup or two of water. Dip a soft cloth into it and wipe down the entire microwave interior. 

Step 3: Rinse with clean water and dry

Using a different cloth soaked with clean water, wipe down the interior again until all soil and spills are removed. Wipe again with a soft, lint-free cloth to dry.

Cleaning a Microwave with Vinegar or Lemon Juice

If you want a natural option, try cleaning your microwave with distilled white vinegar or lemon juice, which is effective due to its acidity. Mix a tablespoon with one cup of water and heat it in a microwave-safe container for 2 to 5 minutes to create steam. Then, wipe down all the interior surfaces. Keep in mind that lemon juice may leave behind a nicer scent than vinegar.

How To Clean a Microwave with Baking Soda

Baking soda is a great deodorizer if you’ve burnt something in the microwave and can’t get rid of the smell. Mix two tablespoons with a cup of water in a microwave-safe container. Heat it for 2 to 3 minutes, or long enough for it to boil and create steam, then wipe down the microwave interior. If the smell still lingers, try leaving an open box of baking soda in the microwave overnight. Be careful not to operate the microwave with the box of baking soda inside.

Hand closing a stainless steel microwave

How to Clean the Outside of a Microwave

Microwave handles and controls are exposed to all the culinary creations you get your hands into. Get them cleaned up quick in just a few steps:

Step 1: Turn on the Control Lock option

Look for a button labeled “Control Lock” or something similar. This will disable the touchpad so you can clean it without accidentally selecting microwave options. 

Step 2: Wipe down the exterior

Mix a teaspoon of liquid dish soap or other mild cleaner in a cup or two of water. Dip a soft cloth into it and wipe down the entire microwave exterior. On stainless steel or black stainless steel models, make sure to rub in the direction of the metal’s grain or use a specialized cleaner like affresh®stainless steel cleaning spray.

STEP 3: dry and clean any glass

Use a new cloth soaked with clean water to rinse the exterior. Then dry with a soft, lint-free cloth. If you’d like to finish with glass cleaner on the window or glass controls, spray it directly onto a paper towel before wiping the glass.

STEP 4: clean the grease filter

If your microwave has venting capabilities, you’ll want to clean the grease filter monthly or as prompted by the filter status indicator. Simply slide it out and wash it with soap and water. Many can also be placed in the dishwasher. Learn more about cleaning microwave filters.

Shining, clean microwave interior

How to Clean a Microwave Turntable

Your microwave’s turntable can be cleaned separately from the rest of the oven. 

Step 1: Check if the microwave turntable is hot

Wait for the turntable to completely cool before washing it. The glass could shatter if exposed to water while it’s still hot. 

Step 2: Wash in the dishwasher or by hand

Many turntables are dishwasher-safe. Check for a dishwasher-safe symbol engraved somewhere on the turntable or reference your microwave’s owner’s manual. If not, hand wash it with a soft sponge and liquid dish soap. 

Step 3: Rinse with clean water and dry

Run the turntable under warm running water to rinse it clean. Dry it with a soft drying towel and replace before using the microwave again.

Shop KitchenAid® self-cleaning MICROWAVE ovens

Some microwaves have an option like the Steam Cleaning function by KitchenAid that uses the power of steam and added water to release spills and stains so they are more easily wiped away.



More help keeping your kitchen fresh and clean