The microwave is one of the hardest working small appliances in a kitchen or office workspace. When it is neglected and the interior becomes caked with crumbs, grime, grease or other detritus from all the meals it heats up, it may need a good cleaning.
Rather than spending hours awkwardly hunched inside the small appliance, you can use natural ingredients to make quick work of all that gunk that clings to the ceiling, sides and tray of the microwave. You can clean a microwave with lemon, which has the added benefit of working to deodorize the microwave plastic compartment as well.
Tips to Clean a Microwave
The interior of the microwave is made of hard plastic, which can get scratched if you use an abrasive sponge, nylon scrub brush and certainly if you try to remove layers of grease with steel wool. The best way to clean the inside of a microwave is with warm water, a lemon or bottled lemon juice, vinegar, a soft sponge and clean, dry microfiber cloths.
Remove the glass tray and any other removable parts and clean them separately. Wipe down the inside of the unit with a wet cloth to remove loose crumbs and splatters of oil, sauce or other liquids.
Once you've used the lemon or vinegar, use a wet sponge to pull away the loosened globs of grease and stuck-on food. Start at the ceiling and work toward the sides so that food falls to the floor of the microwave. Repeat the process as needed.
Clean the Microwave With Lemon
Lemon juice in the microwave does quick work of typical stains and grease that can collect on the ceiling and sides of the small appliance. Good Housekeeping recommends 1/2 cup of water to half a lemon. Squeeze the lemon into the water before placing the fruit, skin and all, in the bowl of water.
Put it in the center of the microwave. Turn it on high for two to five minutes, depending on the strength of your microwave as well as the condition of the cooking
Let the bowl sit for a few minutes. This is where the lemon juice solution really does the work. The lemon juice water evaporates and clings to the food and grease on the microwave's interior. The stuck-on bits will loosen and be easier to simply wipe away. Repeat as necessary, ensuring that you don't touch the steaming hot bowl until it has sufficiently cooled down.
Removing Odors From the Microwave
If you or a coworker has overcooked fish, popcorn or any other odorous item, then you may need to deodorize the microwave. The lemon is a natural deodorizer and acts as a microwave air freshener.
This also works well to remove the smell if you used vinegar to clean the microwave. Simply put a half of lemon in the middle of the now-clean microwave and put it on high for 5 minutes, according to Cleaning Maid Affordable. Allow it to cool to deodorize the microwave.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at www.vegaswriter.com.