Is your microwave a little bit stinky on the inside due to all the reheating and cooking you’re doing to it all throughout the global pandemic? Then you should deodorize it. Usually, the best way to go about it is by using lemon juice mixed with water at varying concentrations.
However, you should give vinegar a chance in cleaning your microwave thoroughly as well as removing smells from leftover food stains. Sure, it has its own unique smell, but that usually goes away faster than the rotting food smell.
With that in mind, here’s how to clean the Microwave with Vinegar outlined step-by-step. It also includes other methods of cleanup and how to ensure that the stink from your microwave goes away permanently.
What You Need
You basically need equal parts vinegar and water put inside a microwaveable bowl. From there, microwave the bowl of vinegar water from 1-3 minutes at full power. You can also let the steam stand for about 15 minutes before microwaving the bowl again until all the foul odors are gone.
- OXO brush
- Baking soda
- Paper towels
- White vinegar
- Old toothbrush
- Dishwashing soap
- Microfiber sponge
- Ordinary cotton dishrag
- Lemon juice extract from real lemons
- Microwaveable bowl (glass container, measuring jug, or ceramic bowl)
Steps to Follow
Follow the tips below to ensure a clean microwave when all is said and done.
The Virtues of Vinegar
Vinegar is a weak acid. This means it’s like hydrochloric or muriatic acid used to clean bathrooms, but it works at a less potent level. Instead of wiping your microwave down with a sponge sopping with vinegar, it’s better to “fumigate” the interior of the microwave.
To do so, use a bowl of vinegar water zapped with the appliance for a more straightforward deodorizing process. The vinegar even makes residue and food stains go away a la alcohol removing sticker residue.
The Basic Vinegar and Steam Microwave Cleanup Technique
You can use vinegar water steam to clean your microwave by microwaving a bowl of such until it smells fresher than before. Lemon juice works the same way. Furthermore, vinegar is a weak acid so it works excellently in loosening the food remnants.
If you’re worried about the Vinegar smell, it won’t stink afterwards as long as you use watered-down vinegar and white vinegar. To wit, do the following.
- Use two cups of water and 2 tablespoons of white vinegar on a glass container, measuring jug, or ceramic bowl.
- Add a few drops of essential oil to leave a nice scent instead of a vinegary one.
- Put the bowl of vinegar and essential oil solution inside the microwave oven and zap it for 2-3 minutes on the highest setting.
- To remove the bowl, make sure to use gloves or potholders.
- Use a clean, damp cloth and/or toothpicks to wipe down all the dislodged food bits, dirt, and grease.
More Concentrated Vinegar Microwaving Techniques
Vinegar steaming is as effective as microwaving a baking soda solution in order to make grime easier to wipe down. If you combine vinegar steaming and dish soap together, they’d serve as a potent method of cleaning your microwave interior.
Be careful when removing the bowl because it could scald you if you remove it while it’s hot to the touch. At any rate, here’s an alternative way to microwave with vinegar.
- Fill a microwaveable bowl with equal parts of vinegar and water.
- Put it inside the microwave and zap it for about 1-3 minutes at the highest power level.
- Let the steam stand for about 15 minutes then zap it again.
- Remove the bowl and start wiping down the steam condensation from the microwave with a dishrag soaked in warm water.
- Use a toothpick to pick out those hard-to-reach food remnants.
- Wipe with a dry paper towel or clean dishcloth until no food stain or remnant remains.
Use the Vinegar Mix with a Portable Microwave Steam Cleaner
You can buy on Amazon portable microwave steam cleaners for $13 or so. They include brands like the Angry Mama Microwave Steam Cleaner. You can use ordinary water with them or you can use a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water as well as vinegar, essential oils, and water.
It’s all for the sake of making those stinky, rotting food bits and remnants like old spaghetti sauce or grease bacon much easier to remove with a simple wipe down. The main benefit of these cleaners is that they can be used hundreds of times after every microwave usage with minimal preparation.
The Benefits of Cleaning with Lemon Juice
Aside from essential oils and vinegar, you can also clean up and deodorize your microwave with lemon juice. Citrus is a popular ingredient in many a cleaner or detergent for good reason.
It doesn’t only remove the stink from leftover food that got leftover inside your microwave. It also leaves a scent that most people agree is pleasant to the nose, like something fruity or reminiscent of spring. The juice is also a weak acid like vinegar.
Further reading: How to Clean Microwave with Lemon
The Simplest Lemon Juice Trick
When using the versatile lemon juice ingredient, it basically mirrors how vinegar is applied to a microwave. It takes advantage of the oven’s unique ability to heat up water molecules in a lickety-split thanks to how they react to radiowaves or micro radiowaves to create cleansing steam that cuts through rotting food particles straight to their core.
In other words, do the following.
- Fill your microwaveable bowl with water around the halfway mark.
- Slice a lemon in half and place it in the water. Squeeze it to release the juice.
- Alternatively, you can remove the lemon wedges from the peel and put them inside the bowl of water.
- Put this bowl of lemon water inside your microwave and cook it at the highest level for about 1-3 minutes.
- Use pot holders, oven mitts, or gloves to remove the bowl.
- If the stench remains, microwave the bowl for 1-2 minute increments as many times as needed. Wipe it all down afterwards.
Combine Vinegar and Lemon Juice Together
Most people associate combining vinegar and lemon juice with detox drinks or attempting to balance your body’s pH levels. They should be more well-known when it comes to more effective cleanup of a stained and stinky microwave interior to ensure healthy microwave cooking in the future, in our opinion!
Remember the method of vinegar cleaning where you put in essential oils together with the vinegar and water to leave a good scent? You can use lemon juice or extract as your essential oil and combine it with your vinegar solution for microwaving and steaming purposes.
Finish Off The Food Stink and Stains with Dishwashing Soap
Aside from lemon juice and vinegar, the ultimate grease-cutter remains most popular dishwashing soaps of the liquid kind.
Once you’ve loosened up the gunk with your vinegar and/or lemon steaming technique, you can now wipe down the microwave further with soap so no food remnant remains. You can do this either before the steaming or after the steaming.
- Remove the turntable ring and microwave plate. Preferably, you should have them individually cleaned in your kitchen sink or through the automatic dishwasher machine.
- Fill your microwave-safe bowl with warm water and add a few drops of dishwashing liquid.
- Dip your sponge into the solution and use it to clean the interior and exterior.
- Get a damp cloth to wipe out the suds then get a separate dry cloth or paper towels to dry out the wetness afterwards.
Removal of the Particularly Grimy Gunk
If the vinegar, lemon juice, and dishwashing soap couldn’t remove the grimiest of gunk left over inside your microwave, it’s time to bring out the big guns. It’s time to get some baking soda and directly apply a mixture of it and water as paste unto the big stain or gunk in your oven.
More often than not, the vinegar/lemon steam bath is enough to weaken the gunk and splatters enough to make it removable.
Using Toothbrush, Toothpicks, and So Forth
The big chunks of food might take a while to remove with soap, water, and vinegar/lemon steam baths alone.
After bathing your interior with vinegar solution, get out a soft-bristle OXO brush or old toothbrush in order to scrape those metal-corroding food bits away before they destroy the insides of your microwave.
You can also use toothpicks to stab at those hard-to-reach stains and food debris for good measure.
In a Nutshell
Vinegar features both antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. It works to an amazing effect when it comes to deodorizing and cleaning your microwave. However, once it softens the food bits and remnants that lurk at the edges of your microwave interior, you should use toothpicks to remove them.
Cleaning up your microwave should be done regularly or “on the reg”. Don’t be like the average homeowner that forgets to clean the device up after every microwaved dish. An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure, after all. Preventative maintenance and the occasional vinegar steaming will extend your microwave functionality beyond its 10-year warranty.