How to Clean a Microwave With Vinegar

Did you know you should be cleaning your microwave? Just like any other appliance you use on a daily basis, your microwave needs a good cleaning every now and then. Thankfully, unlike more complicated appliances (try cleaning a Keurig coffee machine), learning how to clean a microwave can be done with a few simple steps and common household products, like vinegar and water.

If it's been a while and you've started to notice gunk that's difficult to wipe down with a sponge, this steam-cleaning method will come in handy. Or, hey, maybe cleaning is your love language or you're just on a decluttering kick. Regardless, it's helpful to know how to clean a microwave with vinegar. Just whip up this simple vinegar and water solution and follow the instructions below to get your microwave sparkling clean without much effort.

Items You Need to Clean a Microwave With Vinegar

  • Microwave-safe bowl
  • Toothpick or stir stick
  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Sponge

How to Clean a Microwave With Vinegar

  1. First, pour equal parts vinegar and water into a bowl. Measure based on how long you plan to steam your microwave for: half a cup of each liquid is good enough, but if it's in need of a deeper clean, then use one cup vinegar and one cup water.
  2. Insert a toothpick or another small wooden object into the vinegar-water solution. This is a cautionary step that not everyone has to take, but it minimizes the chances of explosions. (Bubbles will form on the toothpick or wooden implement, letting it boil without exploding. Bubbles can't form on really smooth surfaces, which causes it to boil into an explosion when the bowl is suddenly moved. Most plates and bowls aren't completely smooth, so you don't usually have to worry about this.) It's not necessary, but I prefer to do this just to be on the safe side. For this cleaning, I used a wooden stir stick instead of a toothpick since I didn't have any on hand.
  3. Heat the bowl for five to ten minutes, depending on how dirty the microwave is. When the time is up, leave it in for a minute or two to let it steam it up more.
  4. After letting it sit for a bit, take the bowl out with oven mitts, because it's going to be very hot. Then, take a sponge and dip it into the hot vinegar-water mixture and scrub down your microwave. Most likely you won't even need a sponge, and the gunk will come off easily with a few swipes of the rag or paper towel.

— Additional reporting by Kelsey Garcia

Emily Co is a former POPSUGAR Smart Living editor.

Kelsey Garcia is the associate content director of POPSUGAR Balance, where she oversees lifestyle coverage, from dating to parenting and financial wellness. Kelsey is passionate about travel, skin-care trends, and changes in the social media landscape. Before joining the POPSUGAR team more than eight years ago as an editorial assistant, she interned at Elle and Harper's Bazaar, among other publications.