• The Sparklin' Family

Save Your Food: Clean Your Microwave

Updated: Aug 29, 2019

Most times, a quick swipe of a wet paper towel is enough to keep your microwave tidy and clean. But when you can smell the last thing you microwaved even hours later, or the food you microwave comes out tasting like a medley of flavors that were not listed in the ingredients, it’s time for a deeper cleaning. Before you start, you need to unplug your microwave. While you are there, check the cord for any dirt or residue as it’s a potential fire hazard. (1)

The best part about cleaning your microwave is the fact that many of your choices are already in your home. And if you have read some of our past articles, they will most likely be familiar to you as well. A mixture of baking soda and water will make a paste you can spread over hardened residue to help loosen it; it also makes a good deodorizer. If you need a little extra cleaning power, you can microwave a bowl of water mixed with white vinegar to produce steam. Another steamy option is to microwave a halved lemon, cut-sides down, on a plate with a little water. Let either mixture sit in the microwave a few minutes before attempting to wipe everything up. Also, while you have them removed, be sure to wash and dry the turntable, and the wheeled bit it sits on, in your microwave. Be sure to use a wet cloth to wipe up any lingering baking soda. (2)

On to the not so natural solutions. You can microwave a bowl of water mixed with a little dish soap to help loosen residue. You can use a sponge dipped in a diluted window cleaner solution to wipe out your microwave too. Finally, you can use commercial cleaners to clean out your microwave, but it is recommended to use a fume-free variety and to leave the microwave open to vent for a few hours after you finish cleaning. Note, when you use any kind of chemical cleaner in your microwave, it is important to also wash it down with a rag soaked in clean water several times after the initial cleaning to make sure you get rid of all chemical traces. Besides being hazardous, it also makes your microwaved food taste funny. (2)

When wiping out the inside of your microwave, after using one of the solutions above, “you should never use pre-soaked scrubbing pads…because the loose particles will catch fire and explode.” (2) You should also never run the microwave with nothing inside in an attempt to get rid of any lingering residue. “When there’s nothing in the microwave to absorb the microwaves, the microwave can actually catch fire. At the very least, turning it on with nothing in there can damage the microwave.” (3) Instead, if you have a particularly stubborn spot, you can use a rag soaked with a little olive oil to help remove it. (2)

“To prolong the amount of time in between deep cleans, try adjusting your microwave to a lower power setting, particularly when heating up foods that are prone to splattering.” Or, if you want to make it even less complicated, you can simply cover your food with a microwave-safe cover, which are sold in stores, or with a paper towel or napkin. If splattering occurs anyway, at least it’ll be a small amount you’ll be able to wipe up easily with a napkin or paper towel. (1)

Remember at the beginning when we mentioned your microwave should not smell like previous meals? It should not smell like something is burning either; if it is, it may be time to get a new microwave and bypass cleaning it all together. Besides the burning smell, if your microwave: is smoking; is giving off sparks (without any metal involved); is making odd and/or loud sounds; is not heating your food properly or is taking longer than usual; has a door that doesn’t seal all the way (radiation leak hazard); has a keypad or buttons refusing to work; is over 10 years old (most are built to last that long); it may be time to get a new microwave. Luckily, microwaves are pretty affordable now: paying to get one fixed usually isn’t worth it. Plus, the technology and energy efficiency of microwaves is always getting better. Like a good car, if you maintain your microwave, it’ll run for as many years as it’s able. (4)

Stay Sparklin’


1) https://www.digitaltrends.com/home/how-to-clean-microwave/

2) https://learn.compactappliance.com/how-to-clean-microwave/

3) https://clark.com/health-health-care/things-to-never-put-in-the-microwave/

4) https://www.thekitchn.com/6-signs-its-time-to-replace-your-microwave-228769


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