How To Clean A Smelly Microwave

How to Clean a Microwave with Lemon Juice

Lemons contain citric acid, which cuts through grease and grime, and leaves behind a pleasant aroma.


  1. Cut two whole lemons into wedges, then squeeze the juice of each one into a small, microwave-safe mixing bowl.
  2. Once you have juiced them, throw the lemon rinds into the bowl, along with two or three cups of water.
  3. Place the bowl in the microwave, then set the appliance to run on high for two or three minutes—long enough for the water to start boiling vigorously.
  4. Without opening the microwave door, let the bowl stand for about 10 minutes, during which time its steam can penetrate any baked-on food and grease present in the interior.
  5. Open the microwave door and remove the bowl. If your microwave has a turntable, take it out of the oven (along with the carousel upon which it rotates). Soak these parts in hot, soapy water while you continue.
  6. With a damp cloth or sponge, wipe down the microwave and, if necessary, steam the interior once again.


How to clean a microwave with washing-up liquid

‘A great way to clean your microwave is to take a microwave-safe bowl and fill it with warm water,’ says Diana Nappo, cooking category marketing manager, Whirlpool UK Appliances Limited.

‘Add some dishwashing soap (2 tbsp) and put the bowl in the microwave for one minute on high. The steam will soften the dried-on food, so you easily clean the microwave using a damp sponge to wipe off any debris, leaving your microwave squeaky clean and ready to heat up all those delicious leftovers.’

Ways to Clean Your Microwave

Apple Cider Vinegar

Thanks to its acidic nature, apple cider vinegar is an effective way to cut through old buildup inside your microwave. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Fill a Bowl. Combine equal amounts of water and apple cider vinegar in a microwave-safe bowl. Avoid filling it all the way to prevent any accidental spills.
  2. Heat. Set the microwave to a high heat and heat the vinegar solution for four minutes. As it heats, the steam will help to loosen the buildup within your microwave.
  3. Wipe. When the time is up, remove the bowl carefully in case it’s hot. Take a damp cloth and wipe the entire inside of the microwave. Make sure you get into the corners, top and underneath the turntable.

Baking Soda

If you’re noticing an unpleasant odor in your microwave, it’s time to deodorize. But how? We prefer to use baking soda since it effectively absorbs odors and creates a neutral environment. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Create a Mixture. Start by mixing three tablespoons of baking soda with a cup of water in a microwave-safe bowl. Mix it well to combine.
  2. Turn Up the Heat. Place the bowl in the microwave and heat for three minutes. As the baking soda heats, it will effectively loosen buildup and other splatters inside the microwave. It will also absorb bad odors, so you can enjoy a clean-smelling microwave.
  3. Wipe Clean. Remove the bowl carefully so you don’t burn yourself. Then use a damp cloth to wipe the inside of the microwave. Take the turntable out and give it a good wipe as well as underneath it.

Vinegar and Lemon

Vinegar is one of the most popular natural cleaning products you can find — it’s also one of our favorites. What you may not know about vinegar is that it also neutralizes odors and disinfects. It’s the perfect solution for a microwave. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Make a Solution. Mix one cup of vinegar, one cup of water and two tablespoons of lemon juice in a microwave-safe bowl. The lemon juice will provide additional grease-cutting power while toning down the strong scent of the vinegar.
  2. Wipe the Exterior. Use a small amount of the solution on a cloth to wipe down the exterior of the microwave, especially the handle. The vinegar and lemon will disinfect and remove any greasy marks on the outside of the appliance.
  3. Heat. Place the bowl in the middle of your microwave and heat for two minutes. The vinegar will release steam and quickly loosen buildup and kill bacteria.
  4. Remove. Take the bowl out of the microwave taking care not to burn yourself. Next, use a damp cloth to wipe the inside of the microwave. Then, remove the turntable to wipe underneath and around it.

Dish Soap

Dish soap is something we all have in our homes. It’s easy to use and can add a fresh scent to your microwave. Here’s how to clean your microwave using dish soap:

  1. Fill a Bowl. In a microwave-safe bowl, add two cups of warm water and one tablespoon of dish soap. Give it a good mix to incorporate.
  2. Heat in Microwave. Place the bowl in the microwave and heat for two minutes. If the water isn’t steaming, give it another minute or two.
  3. Wipe to Clean. Remove the bowl carefully from the microwave and wipe the inside with a damp cloth. Pay close attention to the corners and underneath the turntable.


Steam is a natural and effective way to clean and sanitize your microwave. For this method, all you need is warm water. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Fill a Bowl. Add two cups of warm water to a microwave-safe bowl. Make sure the water is on the warmer side, this will help to create steam quicker.
  2. Create Steam. Place the bowl in the microwave and heat for two to four minutes. Check to see if the water is steaming. Once it’s steaming, close the microwave and allow the bowl to sit for a couple of minutes. Because we’re only using water, it needs to sit for a little while to really work its magic.
  3. Remove and Clean After carefully removing the bowl from the microwave, take a damp cloth and wipe the inside. Remove the turntable as well to clean thoroughly underneath.


Lemon works effectively at cutting through greasy spills within a microwave. It’s also super easy to do and you’re likely to have everything you need right in your kitchen. Here’s how to clean microwaves with lemon:

  1. Add Water. Add one cup of warm water to a microwave-safe bowl. Cut a lemon in half and squeeze the juice into the bowl. Add both halves of the lemon to the water.
  2. Heat. Put the bowl in the microwave and heat on high for three minutes. Once it’s done, leave the bowl in the closed microwave for five minutes. This will give it a little extra time to work, giving you a better result.
  3. Clean. Take the bowl out of the microwave and use a damp cloth to wipe the inside. Remove the turntable as well and give it a thorough wipe.

Deodorize Microwave With Vinegar Steam

Vinegar is another cleaner that is commonly used to eliminate funky household odors. Get the burnt smell out of microwave vent with the help of vinegar steam.Fill a microwave safe container with 1 cup of water and ¼ cup of white vinegar. If the odor is extra foul, then don’t hesitate to increase the amount of vinegar to ½ cup.Microwave on high for about 3 minutes, or until the liquid begins to boil. Turn off the appliance and allow the container to remain inside with the door closed for about 5 minutes. During this time, vinegar steam will build up on the interior.

After the time is up, carefully remove the container. Any debris or food particles will be loosened and you will be able to easily wipe the surface clean with a sponge or damp cloth. Any burnt odor or bad smells should have been eliminated. Leave the door open and the lingering vinegar smell will dissipate within a couple minutes.

Save That Vinegar Water

The vinegar water mixture works well for cleaning household surfaces. Allow the liquid to cool, and then use it to wipe down the refrigerator doors, grimy handles, glass windows and mirrors.  In addition, use the liquid to clean out your coffee maker and remove any stubborn mineral deposits. Run the vinegar water through the coffee maker without any coffee inside. Then, brew a pot of plain water to flush away any residual and rinse the device.


We hope these DIY techniques for removing fishy odor from the microwave will help you get it back into shape. It’s also essential to develop a cleaning schedule for your microwave. Regular cleaning keeps away odor even before it smells.

Has this article been helpful to you? If so, then why not check out some of our other articles and free guides? You could even sign up to our email list.

Have a great day!


How to Get Rid of Microwave Smells

Our microwave cleaning hacks above usually elimina

Our microwave cleaning hacks above usually eliminate smells by removing the stuck-on food that’s creating them. But for particularly strong odors (we’re looking at you, burned popcorn), try one of these microwave cleaning hacks:

  • For milder odors, leave the door open for a few hours. 
  • Add a few drops of your preferred essential oil to the lemon/water method.
  • Use orange slices instead of lemons (or both).
  • Soak a sponge in white vinegar. Sprinkle the sponge with baking soda. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, then thoroughly wipe down the inside with it.
  • Leave an open box of baking soda or a bowl of used coffee grounds inside the closed microwave for at least 8 hours. 

How to clean glass and microwave controls

‘It’s easy to clean up the everyday smudges, fingerprints, and grease that keep your microwave from looking its best.’ says Nappo. On some microwaves with touch controls, you can turn on the control lock to avoid accidentally activating buttons while you clean.

Step 2: Wipe and dry exterior Use dish soap and water or a dedicated appliance cleaner such as Affresh® Stainless Steel Cleaning Spray from Whirlpool on a soft cloth or sponge. If you have glass controls, you can use a glass cleaner instead. Dry with a soft cloth and turn the control lock off.

What you need to clean a microwave properly

(Hint: Most of it can be found in your pantry.)

Cleaning your microwave

Now that you know the tools that will help you cle

Now that you know the tools that will help you clean your microwave, here are some of the things you need to know when it comes to cleaning your device:

Wet Paper Towel Method

If your microwave doesn’t look like a nuclear expl

If your microwave doesn’t look like a nuclear explosion happened inside it, then using a bunch of wet paper towels would be more than sufficient to clean it. Just place the wet paper towels inside your microwave and run your microwave on high for around 5 minutes. This trick will create steam which will help you remove unwanted dirt and contaminants in your microwave. It also serves as a primer for tougher issues like stuck food.

Using dish soap

This method works almost the same as the Wet Paper

This method works almost the same as the Wet Paper Towel Method. Fill a non-metallic microwave-safe bowl with parts of water and dish soap and place it in the microwave. Let it run for just 1 minute on a high temperature or until it steams. Remove the bowl and use a sponge to wipe the inside of your microwave. Don’t forget to clean the microwave door whilst you’re at it.

The power of baking soda

Baking soda is the go-to cleaner for stuck food in

Baking soda is the go-to cleaner for stuck food in your microwave, amongst other things. Simply make a paste out of baking soda and water and place it on whatever hardened food is stuck in your microwave. Allow it to sit for at least 5 minutes then just wipe it off with a wet sponge or towel. You may repeat the process until you can completely and easily remove the unwanted burnt food inside.

Vinegar and water solution

The process for using this solution is just like t

The process for using this solution is just like the dish soap method. Grab a microwave-safe bowl and mix in one cup of water and vinegar in equal parts.

Place it in the microwave and allow it to steam for quite a bit. Make sure to wipe the unit dry before using it again so that there won’t be any traces of vinegar left inside your microwave.

Vinegar water is a timeless, versatile, natural cleaning product that assists with the removal of stubborn stains and grime. A match made in heaven for an extra dirty microwave.

Using lemon to freshen up your microwave

Like vinegar, lemon is another great, natural disi

Like vinegar, lemon is another great, natural disinfectant for a microwave oven, Just cut one lemon in half and place the cut side down on a microwavable plate. Add a few teaspoons of water and put the plate in the microwave until it produces steam. Remove the plate and wipe off the excess liquid inside the microwave, that’s it, it’s really that simple. Again, be sure to wipe down the inside and outside of your microwave door.

Diluted window cleaner for microwave doors

Although you may not notice this enough, your micr

Although you may not notice this enough, your microwave’s door also needs some tender loving care. Good thing that a diluted window cleaner will work wonders for both the inside and the outside of the microwave. Use a rag or a sponge and dip it in the solution and start scrubbing the interior and exterior of your unit. Repeat the process to make sure that the microwave is thoroughly clean. If the smell of the window cleaner bothers you, just use a clean cloth dipped in water and scrub it for one more round.

Commercial Cleaners

If you don’t want to risk using other disinfectant

If you don’t want to risk using other disinfectants to clean your microwave and using lemon, baking soda or vinegar just won’t do the trick, then it’s time to buy readily available commercial microwave cleaners.

One thing you must remember though is to choose a commercial cleaner that won’t leave a bad smell or fumes in your unit that can affect the smell and taste of the food your cooking.

Easy Off Microwave Cleaner is a good choice for a fume-free cleaner but there are other products out there. Just go to your local grocery or hardware store and ask for microwave specific products.  Always be sure to read the instructions and air out your microwave for at least 30 minutes before cooking again.

FAQs About How to Clean the Inside of a Microwave

Q. Can you clean a microwave with Clorox wipes?

You can clean the exterior surfaces of the microwave with disinfecting wipes, but do not use the wipes or bleach inside the microwave as this can leave a chemical residue that can interact with your food.

Q. How do you deodorize a microwave?

The best way to deodorize a microwave is to place a few tablespoons of baking soda and 1 cup of water in a microwave-safe bowl, run on high for 5 to 10 minutes, and then let stand until cool; wipe down the interior with a clean sponge or soft cloth. You also can use baking soda and vinegar, or water and lemons or lemon juice.

Q. Why does my microwave smell weird?

Most weird smells in a microwave are the “ghosts of meals past” in the form of food spills or spatters that are being burnt onto the surfaces; this indicates a deep-clean is in order. A burning smell or smoke, however, indicates that you either have a major build-up of food debris, or your unit has a serious wiring or electrical problem and should be unplugged and serviced immediately.


Q. How do you clean smoke out of a microwave?

Air out the unit by leaving the door open for 30 to 60 minutes; then place a bowl or plate full of baking soda inside the unit with the door closed overnight or until the next use.

Q. How do you clean a stained microwave?

Most microwave messes can be cleaned using the non-toxic materials and methods outlined above, including lemons, lemon juice, baking soda, and vinegar. For really stubborn stains, however, you may need to use the chemical acetone (available on Amazon.) Make sure to wear hand and eye protection and open the windows for ventilation. Wet a clean cloth or sponge with acetone and rub the stains until they are gone. Once you have removed the stains, wash the interior thoroughly with warm water and dish soap and rinse well with clean water until no acetone smell remains.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.