How to Clean a Microwave with Vinegar

Nicole Austin

Cleaning with vinegar is inexpensive and effective. Get our easy tips for how to clean a microwave with vinegar.

Have you ever wondered how to clean a microwave with vinegar? In my opinion it is the best way to safely and effectively clean your microwave oven especially since it doesn't require any harsh chemicals.

As a mother and a pet owner, I try to minimize the toxic chemicals in my home. Not only do I worry about the environment my loved ones and I live in, but I also worry about what we are breathing in, consuming, or touching.

White Kitchen with White Subway Tile Backsplash

Over the years, cleaning with vinegar has become my go-to all purpose cleaner. It's an effective way to clean up common household messes and even tougher stains with little effort both affordably and safely.

Not only good for fabric softening in the washing machine or as a rinse aid in my dishwasher, vinegar is an excellent, cost effective and safe way to clean kitchen appliances, including the microwave oven beloved by many families.

You may know how to clean your coffee maker with vinegar - or you've seen someone do so. Vinegar is just as great for cleaning all household appliances!

(If you're keeping score at home, we also highly recommend cleaning your Keurig coffee maker with vinegar, too!)

I have kids, which means that my microwave sees a lot of action. And kids aren’t mindful of food spills or how their meals can explode bits of food all over.

The end result? I am constantly cleaning out and scrubbing down my microwave. Sigh. (I mean - if you know, you know.)

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Cleaning with Vinegar

Ok, why all the buzz about cleaning with vinegar? Vinegar provides a safe, effective, and inexpensive way to clean due to its highly acidic nature.

In fact, I've read that experts estimate that germs and bacteria are 80-90% wiped out by using vinegar as a cleaning solution - that’s huge!

My favorite part about using vinegar as a cleaning solution in the kitchen is that it doesn’t matter if you accidentally make contact with it while cooking or eating.

How often can you say your cleaner is actually edible and totally safe if a small bit is somehow accidentally ingested? Basically never!

Vinegar is eco-friendly, free from dyes, harmful chemicals, and artificial fragrances. That's why vinegar is my go-to for cleaning my kitchen and here I'm sharing my favorite microwave cleaning hack.

Another bonus of cleaning with vinegar - it leaves a shiny, streak-free finish on appliances. And, even if you’re not a huge fan of the smell, it disappears as it dries, leaving behind no odor and best of all, no germs!

Homemade Vinegar Cleaning Solution Photo

To Clean a Microwave with Vinegar, You Will Need:

Perhaps one of the things I love best? How simple it is to clean with vinegar and how few common household items you need. Here is what I keep on hand:

  • Vinegar - For cleaning you want to use basic, white distilled vinegar. Other vinegars, such as apple cider vinegar, are best reserved for cooking.
  • Bowl - A microwave-safe bowl helps make it as easy as can be to clean the inside of a microwave using steam. (Keep reading!)
  • Cloth or sponge - A clean cloth or a clean sponge, or even clean paper towels or a microfiber cloth are needed to wipe down the walls of the microwave as well as the outside of your microwave.
  • Citrus fruit - Lemon juice or lemon oil adds a bit of citric acid, creating a more powerful cleaner and lending a nice fragrance to your vinegar solution. It is optional, but I like to add it when making cleaning spray.
  • Baking soda - If you have tough stains or build up, adding a little baking soda can provide a quicker way to get things nice and clean.
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Steam Cleaning Your Microwave with Vinegar

When it comes to cleaning the microwave interior, I prefer steam cleaning the microwave with vinegar - it works so well and very quickly, too!

It is the easiest way to clean the inside of your microwave and deal with stubborn spots, leaving behind a sparkling clean microwave.

Here's the step by step guide I follow when steam cleaning a microwave:

  1. Measure 2 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of vinegar into a microwave-safe bowl. You may be tempted to use more vinegar, but it isn’t necessary!
  2. Microwave for 5 minutes. It will become very hot! This is necessary to steam the interior of your microwave for a thorough cleaning.
  3. Let stand, with the microwave door closed, for 2 to 3 minutes. The moisture and heat will loosen the junk that collects inside your appliance.
  4. Cautiously remove the bowl of warm water and set it aside, then also remove the the turntable or microwave plate.
  5. Using a damp sponge or damp cloth, wipe out the interior of the microwave, starting with the ceiling and then the sides. (You’ll want anything nasty to drop down onto a surface that you haven't yet cleaned.)
  6. Rinse your cloth or sponge and wipe the turntable clean, then replace it.
  7. Use a clean rag to wipe the interior of the microwave with clean water.
White Kitchen with White Tile Backsplash

How to Clean a Microwave with Vinegar 

In addition to steaming with vinegar to clean the interior, I like to create a water-vinegar mixture to clean the outside of the microwave, too.

  1. Combine one cup of white vinegar with one cup water in a large bowl or cleaning bucket. Mix to combine with a wooden spoon.
  2. Slice a large lemon and squeeze the juice of half of the lemon into the water mixture. (Add more if you like!)
  3. Mix, then add the cleaning solution to a clean spray bottle.
  4. Next, just spray the surface of your appliance and wipe clean with damp paper towels or the cleaning cloth of your choice.
  5. For a stainless steel microwave, spray the surface with the vinegar cleaning solution and sprinkle with a bit of baking soda. Then use a clean damp cloth to wash away the baking soda residue.
How to Clean Dishwasher with Vinegar Photo

A diluted spray bottle of vinegar using a solution like the one above can be a handy kitchen tool for the exterior of the microwave, especially the handle, which can become a breeding ground.

Think about it! How often do we use an appliance without cleaning off the germs and grime we accidentally leave behind while using it?

With that in mind, when I straighten up my kitchen daily, I spray the countertops, sink, fridge, microwave and stovetop with my homemade vinegar cleaning solution.

To make things super simple, I bought an empty spray bottle in the household section of my favorite big box store, and I use that for cleaning absolutely everything!

I whip up my simple cleaning solution and it lasts for weeks, for a fraction of the cost of commercial cleaning products - and it does truly an amazing job.

Vinegar is a wise investment for more than just your pantry, and you’ll think so, too, when you use it to clean your microwave inside and out!

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Nicole is a self-published author of fiction novels, and a lover of food and spending time in the kitchen with her six children. She lives in coastal Maine where she loves exploring new recipes especially those that can save time, money and wow a crowd.

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