5 Easy Ways to Remove Stubborn Stains from Your Microwave

Are stubborn food stains in your microwave staring back at you? Or, have you ever had to suffer through a reheated cup of tea that now tastes like onion because the stains in your microwave give off an unpleasant odour that just won’t go away?

You are not alone. I have been there. There are many ways to remove those stubborn, stuck-on stains and I will show you step by step.

how to clean microwave stains

In this blog post, we’ll explore all the tips and tricks I use regularly to clean my own microwave. I will also show you some regular cleaning methods, deep cleaning methods as well as a few maintenance tips to use all year round.

Say goodbye to judgmental looks from guests and hello to a clean, fresh-smelling microwave you won’t be scared to open.

Basic Microwave Cleaning – For Everyday Cleaning and Stains

For daily and weekly cleans of your microwave to keep it clean and working perfectly, here are some tried and true methods.

Method 1 – Wet Kitchen Towel

Wet kitchen towel for cleaning microwave

This is my favourite method and one that I use very frequently. Microwaving a wet kitchen towel with soap creates steam and the warm towel finishes the job. It is really quick and easy, Let me show how.

  1. Tear off three sheets of regular kitchen towel and fold along the perforated lines
  2. Run slightly under the tap. You want it slightly wet but not dripping
  3. Squirt a bit of dish soap on it and smear all over the towel
  4. Pop in the microwave for 1- 1:30 min depending on the wattage of your microwave.
  5. The wet paper towels create steam that loosens dirt
  6. Once your paper towels are warm enough to handle, use it to clean the interior of the microwave
  7. Run paper towel under warm water, squeeze and clean the microwave again
  8. You should have a sparkling clean mirowave
  9. Repeat if necessary

Method 2 – Plain water

steam water for cleaning microwave stain

Yes, I know it sounds so simple but everyday stains can be cleaned with plain water. Here’s how:

  1. Fill a microwave safe mug 3/4 of the way with plain water
  2. Place the mug in the microwave and turn it on high for 5 minutes
  3. The water will boil and fill the microwave with steam
  4. Leave the microwave door closed for 1 minute before opening to avoid any accidents
  5. Carefully remove the warm mug and wipe the inside of the microwave with a clean cloth
  6. Repeat the process if there is still dirt or try any of these other methods.

Method 3 – Lemon and Water

Lemon and water for cleaning microwave

Water and lemon work well to clean the microwave as the lemon does the added job of deodorising the microwave. Here’s a step by step guide for using lemon and water to clean your microwave.

  1. Fill a microwave-safe container with plain water
  2. Cut up a lemon and squeeze the juice into the water. Also put the lemon halves into the water (The lemon rind contains oils that help loosen dried on dirt and grease).
  3. Place the container in the microwave and turn on high for 5 minutes.
  4. The steam, acidity and oils from the lemon will loosen the stains in the microwave
  5. Let it sit with the door closed for 1 minute
  6. Carefully take out the container and once the lemon water has cooled enough to touch, dip a cloth or paper towel in the water and clean your microwave
  7. Don’t forget the roof of the microwave as it’s a prime spot for stuck-on food

Method 4 – Water and Vinegar

Just like lemon, vinegar works the same way to deodorise the microwave and get rid of foul smells or burnt food. It’s important to know that vinegar can be dangerous when boiled at very high temperatures. The best way to use it is to ensure it is mixed with water before popping in the microwave.

  1. Fill a large enough microwave safe mug or bowl with 1/2 cup vinegar and 1 cup of water
  2. Place the container in the microwave and let it boil the vinegar solution on high for 5 minutes
  3. Wait a minute with the microwave door closed and carefully remove the mug or bowl. Be careful as the smell can be very strong
  4. Wipe with a clean rag, microfibre cloth or towel
  5. Repeat if needed

Method 5 – Commercial cleaner and soft moist cloth

Whilst many people have switched to eco-friendly products, others don’t seem to mind. In today’s busy world, people are looking for products that can get the job done quickly – such as microwave cleaners. Many of these cleaners cut through grease in minutes without requiring you to turn on the microwave. 

To use them, simply spray the cleaner inside the microwave, let it sit for a few minutes, and then wipe it away with a damp cloth. This can save you time and effort rather than waiting for the microwave to heat up a bowl of water to steam.

However, the environmental impact of these chemical cleaners isn’t something to ignore. Some of them may contain harsh ingredients that can pollute the air. Eco-friendly options, like vinegar or lemon, can be just as effective and safer for the environment.

Here are some popular microwave cleaners:

  1. HG Combi Microwave Cleaner – This products works very quickly to easily remove greasy build up and caked-on food in microwaves & combination microwaves.
  2. AEG Oven & Microwave Cleaning Spray – This is a powerful cleaner that can remove even a lot of greasy buildup from your microwave.
  3. Oven Mate Microwave Steam Clean Cleaning Cloths – Similar to the wet Kitchen towel method, this cleaning cloth are heat-activated, antibacterial wipes. You simply heat them up, let them cool and wipe.
  4. Method All-Purpose Cleaner – Although this is not marketed as a microwave cleaner, it is an eco-friendly and non-toxic cleaner that can be used to clean microwaves and other parts of your kitchen.
  5. Knaus Microwave Cleaner – This spray cleaner removes grease and residue without leaving streaks

Deep Microwave Cleaning- For Tough Stains and Yellowing Microwaves

These deep cleaning methods will help remove lingering stains or microwaves that may have changed colour over time.

How to remove permanent yellow stains from microwave interior

Over time microwaves made of galvanised steel with a white coating can turn yellow and removing that stain can be extremely difficult.

While I personally do not face this challenge as my microwave is made of porcelain-enameled steel, I searched various online spaces and found on product that came up frequently. The only thing that seems to work for many people tackle yellowing microwaves is oxygen bleach, also known as percarbonate of soda.

Here are a few simple steps to use it:

Step 1 –

Mix the oxygen bleach with a small amount of hot water to activate it.

Step 2 –

Create a watery paste similar to pancake batter and spread it over the stain.

Step 3 –

Let it sit for 30 minutes before cleaning.

Step 4 –

Repeat if necessary.

I have found that oxygen bleach is a versatile cleaner that can be used for a lot of things beyond laundry. I use it to keep my kitchen sink white and clean plastic and enamel bowls as well. It truly is a magical cleaning agent, and there’s no doubt that it will effectively remove yellow stains from microwaves.

How to prevent and remove lingering odors from microwave

It’s happened to the best of us. The smell of burnt popcorn and other foods inside of a microwave can linger for a long time. Here’s my three step approach to get rid of that burnt smell faster.

prevent and remove lingering odors from microwave

Step 1 – Baking Soda.

Baking soda is a fantastic deodoriser that can help neutralise unwanted smells.

  • Mix some baking soda with water till it forms a thick paste
  • Apply the paste to the interior inside of your microwave oven (don’t forget the top)
  • Let it sit for 4-6 hours or overnight
  • Wipe generously with a damp microfibre cloth till all traces of the baking soda is gone

Step 2 – Vinegar.

Vinegar is also an incredible deodoriser that will eliminate the burnt smell

  • Follow the steps above in ‘Method 4’ using a cup of vinegar and a few cups of water

Step 3 – Vanilla Extract.

This is another powerful deodoriser. Be sure to get the extract and not vanilla essence

  • Follow the steps above in ‘Method 2’ and add a drop or two of a good quality vanilla extract

This three pronged approach takes time but will eliminate any lingering smells of burnt food in your microwave.

Microwave Door Cleaning

In order to clean the outside of the microwave and door, simply use a micofibre cloth and glass cloth

Step 1-

Choose a microfibre cloth with a rough texture to get rid of set on stains.

Step 2-

Dampen the microfibre cloth and clean the entire microwave door and body

Step 3-

Buff and Shine with a glass cloth

An alternative to searching for a separate glass and microfibre cloth is an e-cloth. It comes in a pair of a waffle textured cloth and a smooth glass cloth

How To Maintain a Clean Microwave

Here are a few tips to keep your microwave clean and in good condition.

  1. Clean up spills with a damp microfibre cloth after each use. It may seem like a hassle, but it will keep your microwave clean at all times. Don’t forget to clean the inner roof.
  2. If your microwave has a glass turntable, remove it and wash it in warm soapy water or the dishwasher.
  3. Use a microwave cover every time you use it to reduce splatters.
  4. Leave the microwave slightly ajar after use so that the steam can evaporate. Depending on the interior coating of your microwave, continuous steam can cause rust.
  5. Make sure there is no stuck-on food on the mica cover as this can eventually cause a fire.
  6. Clean around the door and seals to ensure the door closes properly each time it is used.
  7. Don’t run an empty microwave, as the lack of moisture can damage it.
  8. Clean the microwave regularly to prevent the buildup of grime and food residue.

I hope this post has equipped you with all the information you need to tackle any microwave stain effectively. Regular cleaning after use is the best way to prevent the buildup of grime and unpleasant odours. By following the tips shared in this post, you can keep your microwave working perfectly and clean for a long time to come.

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Hey you, Iā€™m Torera

Hey there! I am Torera, a home care and cleaning enthusiast with a mission to make cleaning as fun and easy as possible for women like you. As someone who had to learn everything from scratch, I have the mindset of a beginner and know exactly how to take you from A to Z. Let us ditch the overwhelm and create a space that is clean, cozy, and totally you!