How to Clean Microwave with Lemon
What to know

How to Clean Microwave with Lemon

Nothing beats having a microwave oven so clean you can practically hear a ping sound from its gleaming insides and outsides. However, accidents do happen when you repeatedly use the kitchen appliance in order to cook up leftovers or make popcorn. You’ll end up with lingering smells inside the appliance that could leech into your future reheating. Thankfully, you can use lemon juice and whatnot to clean your microwave in a way that makes it smell great. 

Learn how to clean a Microwave with lemon by reading this article.

What You Need 

In a nutshell, you need to microwave the bowl of lemon juice in order to deodorize the device. The heat and vapors from the bowl should help distribute the citrus mixture all across your smelly microwave interior until it doesn’t smell anymore.

Here are the things you need to clean your microwave and having it smell citrus fresh.

  • Toothpicks
  • Baking soda
  • Glass cleaner
  • White vinegar
  • Kitchen gloves
  • Terry cloth rags
  • Lemon juice or oils
  • Wet and dry dishrags
  • Clean cotton dishcloth
  • Liquid dishwashing soap
  • A microwavable bowl of water
  • Dishwashing or microfiber sponge

How to Clean Microwave with Lemon

Steps to Follow

Now follow the following steps in order to clean your microwave with lemon extract or juice.

Prepping the Microwave

I’m sure you’d love to simply put in the bowl of lemon juice squeezed into the bowl of water and microwave it for 1-2 minutes and then be done with it. However, sometimes cleanup isn’t so simple.

You have to clean both the inside and outside of the microwave to remove the smells that might linger there. Furthermore, most people focus on cleaning the inside but instead neglect the exterior. You should therefore start with the toothpick and pick out bits of food stuck on the corners of the microwave.

The Benefits of Cleaning with Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is known to be antibacterial and antifungal, which is also why many cleaning detergents and soaps have lemon or citrus ingredients in them.

It’s considered a standalone cleaning agent because it deodorizes smells and helps clean out the oils and food bits that could get stuck inside your oven.

The versatile lemon juice leaves a pleasant scent but doesn’t merely mask the awful odors. It actually helps remove them while leaving an aroma that’s been described by many as refreshing.

The Simplest Lemon Juice Trick

Fill a microwaveable glass container, measuring jug, or ceramic bowl with water until it’s halfway filled. Slice half a lemon and place it in the water. Squeeze it so the juice is released. Put the bowl inside your microwave and microwave it on the highest level for 3 minutes.

Use mitts or pot holders to remove the bowl. Alternatively, you can microwave a mix of half a cup of water and lemon juice at 1-2 minute increments until the odors are gone. From there, you can clean the interior further for good measure.

A More Concentrated Lemon Cleansing Technique

If you want a more concentrated lemon cleaning technique for your microwave, you can use the other half of the lemon on a separate bowl and microwave that once you’re done microwaving the bowl with the first half of the lemon.

You can also cut the half of a lemon into smaller wedges and place the glass bowl with about 4 cups of water with the wedges in them. Zap the bowl at the highest level for about 1-2 minutes or even the whole 3 minutes.

Letting the Bowl of Lemon Stay in the Microwave

After microwaving the bowl that’s been squirted with lemon juice or filled with lemon wedges, you can leave it inside the oven for about 15 minutes. The citric steam filling the interior of your appliance is quite concentrated compared to mixing lemon with half a cup of water.

If the steam has dissipated, just microwave the lemon water once more. After 15 minutes is done, open the door, take out the bowl, then wipe the interior down with paper towels or a clean cotton dishcloth.

The Vinegar and Steam Microwave Cleanup Technique

Aside from lemon juice, you can also use vinegar to steam and clean your microwave until it smells fresh. Yes, vinegar is a weak acid with its own unique scent but it should fade away quickly and leave your microwave smelling fresh, especially if you steam another bowl of lemon juice afterwards.

You need to fill a bowl with equal parts water and vinegar then zap it for 1-3 minutes like with lemon juice. It’s particularly dependable in loosening up food residue you can then remove with toothpicks.

The Virtues of Vinegar

Vinegar is a weak acid that works excellently in making food stains and residue go away like alcohol would to sticker residue. The vinegar steam works as effectively as baking soda solution to make grime easier to wipe down with a cloth soaked in warm water or even with a dry paper towel.

Be careful when opening the oven door though. The resulting acidic steam is high temperature and the bowl should be hot to the touch. Use pot holders to remove the item to prevent scalding.

Cleaning The Microwave Inside and Outside

After picking out the food bits stuck in the corners of your microwave, you should then get a wet microfiber sponge and liquid dishwashing soap in order to soap down the interior of the microwave. Take out the glass plate or turntable for cleanup at your sink or dishwasher if it’s dishwasher-safe.

From there, give your general interior, exterior, and so forth a good wipe down with a dishrag or Terry cloth rag and a tiny bit of bleach. Wipe out the soap from the interior with a clean cloth, put the plate back, and then microwave the empty oven for about a minute or two.

Related: How to Clean Microwave

Washing the Lemon-Washed Microwave with Soap and Water

After steaming your microwave interior with lemon and/or vinegar mixtures, it’s time to clean it up with dishwashing soap. Just get a damp sponge, use just enough liquid soap, lather the interior them, and then rinse with a damp cloth or dishrag.

Once the suds are gone, dry the interior up with paper towels or a cotton dish cloth. Otherwise, you can zap the microwave for about a minute or two to make the dampness evaporate into steam and vapor. For best results, remove the turntable and ring for separate washing.

Finish Off the Odors with Baking Soda

After zapping your microwave with lemon goodness, you can use baking soda to clean the rest off. This mild alkali cuts through grease more effectively than soap. This includes any food stains and bits built into your oven. You need kitchen gloves and a clean cloth on hand in order to best go about baking soda cleanup. To wit, do the following. 

  • Remove the turntable ring and microwave plate from your microwave.
  • Sprinkle a quarter or ¼ of a cup of baking soda around the bottom of your oven’s interior.
  • Use a damp cloth or dishrag to spread the baking soda around, particularly on any food stains left on your microwave that could cause a stink.
  • Rinse the cloth thoroughly and wipe away the soda. Use that cloth or a fresh new cloth to wipe away the soda until none remains. 

Regular Microwave Maintenance 

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, most people are stuck at home dealing with endless Zoom meetings and countless TV dinners. You’re likely to use the microwave oven almost everyday, whether for cooking, reheating, or defrosting.

Naturally, food residue will fill up the device, so it’s only prudent to clean the microwave every week or every other day. Also, after using it, wipe it down every time to make your weekly or near-daily cleanup easier to deal with.

How Often Should You Clean? 

You should clean your microwave once a week if you’re using it every day. Even better, give it a quick wipe down with cloth mixed with bleach or a similar cleaning substance after every use. From there, it becomes much easier to do major cleaning with the device at the weekends.

Weekly cleaning is a good cleanup rate or frequency to ensure that your oven remains in tiptop condition when all is said and done. It also prevents the smells from sticking to your microwave since you get to wipe them off before they harden.

Final Thoughts

Everyone knows the familiar smell when you reheat a fish supper inside your microwave. You’ll really have to bunker down and clean the microwave because that fishiness tends to stick in the interior and ruin the scent and taste of other things you might wish to reheat there.

The best way to eliminate such an odor without damaging the appliance is to microwave a bowl of lemon juice mixed with water. On the other hand, you can apply the lemon in many different ways to induce the same effects as outlined in this guide.


  1. Miriam Habtesellasie, “How to clean a microwave with lemon, washing-up liquid, baking soda and more“,, April 12, 2019

Through the years, the microwave oven has become a standard appliance for all homes. It is safe to say that there is no home without a microwave oven. If you are looking for a microwave oven that best fits your needs, You find the right website.

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