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How To Clean Your Microwave With Vinegar(& optional essential oils)

Cleaning a microwave oven should NOT work up a sweat because you used up every ounce of elbow grease that you had. It used to take ‘lil ‘ol OCD me about forty-five minutes to do a decent job at cleaning a very dirty microwave. Luckily, now it only takes me about three minutes of actual work to get it looking sparkling clean. The best part of learning how to clean your microwave with Vinegar, is that it makes the task so easy that you’ll no longer dread doing it.

how to clean microwave with vinegar
How to clean microwave with vinegar. lifeshouldcostless.com

Below I share the in’s, the out’s, and even what to keep an eye out for when it comes to cleaning the inside of a microwave with vinegar.

I know that my microwave from the “before” was totally and completely nasty and you may be thinking “how could she let it get that bad without throwing up trying to use it?”…but the truth is that the life of a single parent, with several children, gets pretty crazy.

Up until recently, I was working two jobs just to make ends meet, so now I am getting us caught up on our deep cleaning and thought that I would share it with you in case you’re also overwhelmed with the cleaning and need an easier way to do this task.

Why would you even want to try to use vinegar to clean a microwave? That is because it deodorizes and somewhat sanitizes the microwave oven as it cleans, in addition to making all the food particles come right off.

I have made a super cheesy YouTube video that explains how to do this, so here it is (I have other information further down in the post that you’re also probably going to want to read too, so remember to keep scrolling after the video.

How to clean inside of a microwave with vinegar?
First thing first, go ahead and gather all the supplies that you are going to need in order to do the easiest way to clean a microwave. You will need:

* Microwave safe bowl that can hold 3 to 4 cups of liquid.
*Two cups of water
*2 Tablespoons to 1/4 Cup of White Distilled Vinegar
*One to three clean dish towels/rags/cloths
*3-10 drops of a citrus essential oil (optional, but it smells SO much better if you do)

1. In a microwave-safe bowl, add approximately two cups of water.
2. Then add between Two Tablespoons and 1/4 Cups of white distilled vinegar.
3. At this point you have the option of adding a few drops of a Citrus essential oil, or go without.
4. Put bowl in microwave, close it, and allow it to run on high for five minutes.
5. Once the time is up, let it sit (with the microwave door still shut), for three to five minutes to allow the steam to continue to soften/loosen up any food particles.
6. Open the door and remove the turntable, and wheeled ring below it.
7. Use a clean rag or dishtowel (paper towels work too) and thoroughly wipe everything out of the microwave. Rinse out your rag, or use a different clean one, as needed.
8. Once done wiping everything out, keep your microwave open to dry out while you take your turntable plate to the sink. Either rinse it and run it through the dishwasher, or wash it by hand with soapy water, rinse, and dry and then return it to the microwave.

This method of cleaning a microwave uses the power of steam (boiling vinegar and water) to loosen any food particles that won’t seem to budge by just scrubbing…which means that it will now take much less effort to clean your microwave.

Now enjoy a deep cleaned, deodorized, and sanitized microwave oven!how to deep clean microwave

What essential oil should I use when cleaning a microwave?

To be frank with you, cleaning with vinegar stinks pretty badly…unless you happen to enjoy it for some odd reason. That is why I like to add a few drops of essential oil into the mix when I do this.

When I add a few drops of essential oil to the water, when cleaning my microwave, I like to use any of the oils from the citrus family…such as Lemon, Lime, Orange, or Grapefruit.

However, I seem to enjoy the scents of either the Orange Essential oil or the Grapefruit essential oil the most, so those are my top suggestions if you haven’t tried it yet.what essential oil should I use when cleaning a microwave?

How much vinegar and water to use to clean the microwave?

If you’re wondering what the right ratio of water vs vinegar you will need in order to get the inside of your microwave oven clean as new, it’s really up to you…but I will give you my thoughts on it.

I personally think that for two cups of water, you should use between two tablespoons and 1/4 cup of white vinegar…any more vinegar than that and it really is just kinda wasting your vinegar… and who can afford to do that? Not me!

What to do if it explodes when you put vinegar or water in the microwave.

Over the many years of cleaning my microwave with white vinegar, I have discovered that if I ever go much over five minutes of running the microwave with my water/vinegar mixture in it… like literally, that sucker can explode big enough that it can blast the microwave door open and shoot hot water/vinegar all over the kitchen.

The first thing you can do is to try to prevent it from exploding in the first place…and never go more than five minutes when you are making your microwave clean itself this way.

However, if you are reading this after your microwave already exploded this stuff into your kitchen… you should be happy to know that both times that this has happened to me in the last ten or so years, all I had to do was wipe out the vinegar-water with a large dry washrag and then I left the door open for a few hours (while unplugged) so that it could dry out the rest of the way.

If you let it dry out, your microwave should, in theory, still be totally useable just be careful as you are troubleshooting whether or not it did any permanent damage.

Like I said, as with anything you do (especially when learning of it on the internet)…be careful and always use your best judgement/common sense before you do anything… but it could be a good idea, as a safety precaution, to keep children and pets out of the kitchen when you have the microwave running to clean it this way.


That’s really all I had to share with you all today on cleaning your microwave, hopefully you found some of this information helpful.

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and supporting my endeavors to make people’s lives a little easier/better/more affordable. If you liked this cleaning hack post, or found it helpful in any way, please make sure to share it with your family, friends, and co-workers via social media…or you could even send them the direct link via email. Whichever way you choose to spread the love, I super appreciate it! ~Sarah

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*Please note that this idea/post was originally shared to this website on August 18, 2011 and has since been updated to add video, delve deeper into the subject, as well as to become more shareable across the social medias.