The Homemade Way to Clean an Icky Microwave

I grew up without a microwave in our house.  It wasn’t until recently that I realized this was odd.  When I asked my mom why she never installed one in our kitchen, she said quite frankly, “They kinda freaked me out.” Good enough reason for me!

Although I now have a microwave in my small yet adequate city kitchen, I don’t use it very often.  I prefer to steam veggies and fruit for the kids on the stovetop, but sometimes a microwave comes in handy when re-heating leftovers.  My favorite use for it is for cooking bacon (we order delicious bacon from our co-op).  Since our kitchen lacks an exhaust fan, bacon cooked on the stove-top will stink up the place for days.  Cooking it in the microwave lessens the eau d’bacon and doesn’t result in splattered grease everywhere.

However, we do end up with a messy microwave. And since I’m not one to scrub out the microwave after every batch of Sunday bacon, the microwave can get a little icky after a couple weeks.  Since I was raised without a one, I never learned how to properly clean it out.  As a Homemade Mother I had to come up with a quick and easy method involving no hazardous or expensive commercial cleaners.

Here’s how I safely and effectively clean our dirty microwave:


Place a medium size bowl filled with equal parts water and white vinegar into the microwave.  Set microwave for 5 minutes.  Walk away and check email.

Once microwave buzzer goes off, leave the door closed for a minute or two to let the steam penetrate all the icky goop.  Open microwave and carefully remove bowl with hot water.  Using a damp sponge, gently and easily remove all the gunk. Practically zero elbow grease to clean away all the gunky bacon grease.

One happy and sparkling clean microwave!

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Written by Maureen

More posts by: Maureen

12 Comments for this entry

  1. Amanda says:

    I’m just exploring your site for the first time today.. in case you haven’t tried it, there is another option for bacon. If you have a shallow baking pan with either small cookie racks or broiler pans, those work fabulously to bake the slices. :-) The grease drips off, and it is easy to get all the pieces evenly cooked all at the same time (unlike the 4-6 slices you can do in a pan or microwave.) I’m enjoying everything about your blog! :-)

  2. colleen says:

    I recall our family microwave starting on fire! Maybe that’s why Mom was scared of them!

  3. melissa says:

    i like your mom ~ a very smart lady. microwaves are scary. we do not have one in our house either, and my little girl didn’t know what one was when we visited her grandparents…this made me happy.

  4. Amber says:

    Great idea! I was wondering if you had a good tip for cleaning ovens? I have tried baking soda, vinegar, etc and nothing really helps. I have a 2 year old son and a 4 month old daughter, so I refuse to use chemical cleaners, or the self-cleaning oven gadget.

    • Maureen Smithe says:

      Great question…and very timely as I spilled milk in our oven while making homemade yogurt last night. Soooooo, I now have a scladed patch of milk at the bottom of the oven, and I guess that will have to be taken care of rather soon!

      Let me get to work on this and report back. I’m going to start with baking soda and vinegar…

      • Jen says:

        The best solution I have ever found to a dirty oven is similar to the vinegar/micorwave trick. Moisten the bottom of the oven with plain water, then sprinkle liberally with baking soda. Just make sure the baking soda is all damp, but not liquidy. Let it sit over night and then wipe off with a wet sponge. Continue to wipe/rinse until the baking soda grit is gone. Little elbow grease is needed and it works great–also handy for gunky tubs and kitchen sinks.

        • Ali says:

          How do you apply this to dirty oven walls? We just moved to a new-to-us house and the previous owners left a dirty oven. I don’t want to run the oven on HOT for hours for a self clean during the hot summer months.

          • Maureen says:

            I’m still working on a homemade oven cleaning solution. I’ve read about using a baking soda paste with some vinegar. If you find a successful technique let me know!!

  5. Brandi says:

    I am going home and trying this tonight as soon as I get home! I am looking through your other homemade living ideas. My husband and I are expecting our first children (yes it is twins) so I have been looking into healthier and safe ways to clean and also save some money as well! You show us how to do both! So thank you very much!

  6. Brandi says:

    I tried this last night when I got home from work! I had to repeat the process since my husband is a messy microwaver. However this was a great solution. Now that I have a clean microwave I plan on repeating every week and keeping it that way! Thanks again!

  7. Denise says:

    I have another easy microwave cleaning method…put lemon slices in a bowl of water. Heat it up, then wipe. It works similar to your method but also smells good.

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