Easy, Eco-Friendly Microwave Cleaning Hack

super simple eco-friendly microwave cleaning hack #greencleaning #allnatural

On a typical day, my microwave is disgusting. We’re talking completely splattered with caked on gunk that I try really hard not to think about because how do you even begin to clean that crap up? Except I don’t feel that way anymore. At least, not since I stumbled upon my new absolute favorite cleaning trick of all time.

Let me get really real for a second by showing you the actual level of grossness I’m talking about, so you don’t think I’m being dramatic or pretending a little soup spill is my definition of gross.

easy microwave cleaning tip via Cuddles and Chaos

Please notice that there are actual caked on chunks of food present in the before picture. Are you grossed out yet?

This is where I get all embarrassed and turn into a tomato face because you’re getting an up close and personal look at how filthy my microwave really was. I’d like to say that I let it build up on purpose so I could really show you how this tip works. But that’s bullshit.

The keeping it real version: my microwave was disgusting and I wanted to clean it with the least amount of effort possible.

Enter the ridiculously easy microwave cleaning hack.

Somewhere along the lines, I stumbled upon a magical tip from One Good Thing by Jillee. I actually didn’t believe it at first. She claimed that I could steam clean my filthy microwave with ease by filling a measuring cup with 1 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of hot water and then microwaving it for 10 minutes.

I won’t lie to you. I did not believe her. But I’m also busy and really wanted a clean microwave with the littlest effort possible, so I tried it.

I was a little scared at her note of caution about super-heated liquids exploding. Call me a chicken shit, but even the remote possibility of shards of glass flying all up in my face is a little off putting. I decided to try it for seven minutes (while watching/listening from afar).

When the time was up I let it sit in there for a couple of minutes to cool, mostly because I’m one of the least graceful people I know and I don’t play well with steaming hot liquids.

Once it cooled down a bit, I removed the measuring cup, got a wet rag, and wiped the inside of my microwave down. Most of the gunk inside came off with nothing but water. There was just a stubborn little ring in the middle that didn’t come out:

microwave cleaning: stubborn spot

When it was obvious that water was not going to do the trick, I turned to my secret weapon: my Magic Eraser. I gave the spot a little rub and it came right out.

Update:

Since my first time trying this technique a few years ago, I’ve learned to use the hot vinegar and water mixture to make things even easier. I let it sit until it’s cool enough to touch and then dip a rag into the hot mixture and wipe out the inside of the microwave—no elbow grease required. Instead of dumping out what I don’t use, I then wipe down my whole kitchen with the stuff. It’s pure magic and my absolute favorite way to clean before having people over. I can’t believe I just typed that.

Looking for more green cleaning tips? Check out my DIY green cleaning recipes and my post on cleaning with lemons.

This post was originally published in January 2013, but was completely updated in April 2017.

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13 Comments

  1. I use water and lemon juice. I don’t like the idea of chemicals in the microwave… When you think about how long the smell of popcorn lingers… You know. Did the vinegar smell cling?

    1. I’m with you! I just switched over to almost all homemade cleaners. It’s easy, cheaper, and I’m not worrying about what chemicals my toddler might be licking off the table (…or floor).

      And no! The vinegar smell didn’t cling, which is something I was a little skeptical about. My six-year old has the most sensitive nose ever so I would’ve heard aaaaaall about it when she walked in if I didn’t notice it myself!

  2. I’ve heard of lemon juice but not vinegar. This is even easier because I usually have vinegar on hand but not lemon juice. Hmm, I’ll have to give it a whirl. My microwave gets pretty nasty with a teenager in the house that’s addicted to Hot Pockets. UGH.

  3. Ohh man I really need to get Pinterest! Love your idea of a Pintervention Jen – there are so many great ideas out there but we just don’t put it into action to make our lives cooler hahaha! Good microwave tip, never ever heard of that before! 😀 (It’s okay, we’re not judging you on your microwave cleanliness status!)

  4. Girl, I am totally doing this. I’m like you – I feel a strong desire to start the year off by going room to room through my house and just organizing the bejesus out of it. Pinning this so I don’t forget!!

  5. OMG! I actually stopped reading your blog to go try this and report back! THANK YOU!!! Clean the microwave has been on my to-do list for the last two weeks and the mess scared me so much that every time I opened it, I just closed it right back up again. Move on, my brain said. There’s nothing to see here. It worked awesome!! Heading to Pinterest to find a way to clean my cooktop!

    1. Ooooh, definitely report back and let me know if you find any awesome cooktop cleaning tips! I’ve been using my homemade grease cutter (2 cups of warm water, 1/4 cup of Castille soap, 10 drops of essential oil) and it works pretty fantastically. I usually spray it on there, let it sit for 5-10 minutes and then wipe. Most of the stuff comes right off!

  6. I knew I could turn to Pinterest with my problem and get a reliable answer!
    I took a chance on your ‘recipe’, as I didn’t have lemon juice and the others I read only called for a ‘splash’ of vinegar, and my microwave was naaaaaaaastttttttty!
    It worked really well! (and the hot vinegar/water is working on the hard water crust on the faucet!)

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