Believe it or not, microwave ovens have been around since the 1950s, although it took them at least another 30 years or so to become the staple kitchen appliance we all know and love. Microwaves are now used routinely for heating up ready meals, warming drinks, defrosting frozen food and even cooking from scratch.
Of course, the more frequently you use your microwave oven, the more it needs to be cleaned. Food stains and deposits on the interior walls are unhygienic and, left undealt with, will leave an unpleasant smell that you need to tackle. For routine cleaning, if you want to keep your microwave clean and fresh, a fortnightly clean should be ample. In a project with Halcyon – Modern kitchen designers, we’ve put together 4 ways to keep the inside of your microwave spick and span.
- Initial Wipe Clean
Your first step to cleaning your microwave is to wipe down all the interior surfaces with a paper towel or a damp cleaning cloth, using a non-scratch scouring sponge or plastic scraper to remove any hard-to-shift food residues. The ‘non-scratch’ bit is important as it can ruin the finish on the interior of the microwave. For the same reason, you should never use a steel wool based product such as a Brillo Pad.
Clean the rubber gasket around the door with a damp sponge or cleaning cloth, and try to avoid the use of a cleaning agent – it won’t be necessary.
- The Lemon Juice Method
To cut through grease and grime and tackle nasty odours inside your microwave oven, lemons are a great natural cleaning agent, and a very effective one at that.
Cut 2 whole lemons into wedges and roughly squeeze the juice into a large microwave safe bowl, followed by the lemon wedges themselves. Add up to a pint of water and place the bowl into the microwave.
Set the appliance to High Power for approximately 3 minutes or long enough until you can see the water boiling vigorously and the window steaming up.
Leave to stand for about 15 minutes without opening the microwave door, so that the citric acid can get to work and the steam can penetrate any stubborn food and grease inside the oven.
Finally, open the door and remove the bowl, wiping the interior surfaces clean with a damp cloth or sponge.
- The Vinegar & Baking Soda Method
As an alternative to lemon, you can use vinegar and baking soda to create a powerful natural cleaning agent. Vinegar also acts as a natural disinfectant.
Add 4 tablespoons of baking soda to 1 litre of warm water and stir until fully dissolved. With a cloth or sponge repeatedly dipped into the mixture, wipe the interior of your microwave.
Next, pour about 100ml each of water and white vinegar into a microwave safe bowl and place it into the microwave oven. Set the appliance to High Power for approximately 3 minutes or long enough until you can see the mixture boiling vigorously and the window steaming up.
Leave to stand for about 15 minutes without opening the door so that the steam can do its magic.
Finally, open the microwave door and remove the bowl, wiping the interior surfaces clean with a damp cloth or sponge until all traces of baking residue have been removed.
Did you know that vinegar is an excellent glass cleaner too? Before you throw the vinegar solution away, dip a clean cloth in the liquid and use it to clean the glass in your microwave door, both inside and out.
- Using commercial cleaning products
Of course, you don’t have to use ‘home made’ products at all, if you don’t have any to hand or it’s simply too much effort. There’s a wealth of commercial kitchen cleaners available that are perfectly OK to use on microwave ovens.
However, be advised that most commercial detergents will produce strong and often unpleasant fumes that may linger inside and interfere with the taste of your just microwaved food. If you are using a shop bought cleaning product, it may be best to choose a fume-free variety, and take the extra precaution of leaving the door open for a few hours after cleaning.
Photo by Doug Waldron