A Simple, Scrub-Free Way To Clean Even The Grimiest Of Microwaves

No scrubbing or harsh chemicals required.

Sometimes, it’s easier to just shut the door on a grime-covered microwave and leave those sauce splatters and crusty bits until the next time you decide to nuke some leftovers. But it doesn’t have to be this way. There’s a super simple, Pinterest-approved cleaning solution that’ll leave your microwave spotless with very little elbow grease (that is, until the next time you heat up a bowl of linguine lamb bolognese).

How to clean a microwave with water and vinegar

If you ever want to feel like you’ve accomplished something (in the middle of Netflix binge or while procrastinating, for instance) use this microwave cleaning method; it couldn’t be easier — all you need is vinegar and water.


  1. Fill a microwave-safe bowl with about a cup of water, and a large splash of vinegar (one to two tablespoons).
  2. Place the water-vinegar mixture in your microwave on high for five minutes, and once you hear it beep, let it sit for an extra few minutes. (You’re trying to create a steam room in your microwave—the steam will help loosen up all the crusted-on gunk and grime, making your clean-up a breeze.)
  3. When things are thoroughly steamy, wipe down your microwave with a sponge or micro-fibre cloth. Reheat the vinegary water as needed if you find you’re starting to scrub too hard.

Now, you’re ready to start cooking in your microwave (seriously, you can make breakfast-sandwich-worthy eggs and even bread crumbs with this oft-maligned device).

Can I clean my microwave with lemon?

Yes. But while some say to use lemon slices to get the best deep-clean, I say save your lemons for a more delicious task, like tackling our lemon meringue trifle, assembling a lemon poppy seed layer cake, or baking up a simple-yet-satisfying glazed lemon loaf. Instead of wasting citrus fruit, just add a couple tablespoons of white vinegar to water (eyeballing it is fine, microwaving cleaning is not an exact science) and hit the power button.

Originally published August 2018; Updated March 2023.

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