How To Clean A Microwave With Vinegar And Steam!

Have you ever exploded pizza sauce in the microwave? Here’s a quick and easy way to clean a microwave using only water, vinegar, and steam! It’s easy to do, only takes about five minutes, and it works great!

How to clean a microwave in 5 minutes with just water and vinegar!

I was able to clean off dirt and grime I didn’t even realize was there! Mostly what I saw when I looked at the microwave were the big red pizza sauce spills, but after I was done cleaning I realized the entire thing had gone five shades whiter! Don’t just assume your microwave is yellow. It’s not; microwaves are white. :-)

I love simple cleaning solutions like this. I made a homemade grout cleaner with just baking soda and bleach and it worked WONDERS! And we’ve been using a homemade borax free laundry soap for almost a year now and we love it! It’s cheap, non-toxic, and cleans better than commercial detergent!

This tip for cleaning a microwave is just as simple as the other two homemade cleaning products; it only requires water, vinegar, and about one minute of elbow grease to get a sparkling clean microwave!

How To Clean A Microwave With Vinegar

Here’s what you need: (Amazon affiliate links below)

Fill a microwaveable bowl with 1-2 cups of water and add 1-2 tablespoons of vinegar. Add a few drops of essential oil if you don’t want your microwave to smell like vinegar. :-)

CAUTION: Liquids can get superheated in a microwave and explode. It isn’t common, but it can happen if you microwave liquids in a perfectly smooth container. Bubbles can’t form on a smooth surface, so the liquid won’t boil until it is jostled. This can cause it to “explode” into boiling when you open the microwave or try to remove the bowl. But don’t freak out! Most consumer bowls and cups are not perfectly smooth, and a microwave with a turntable jostles the liquid enough to allow it to boil. But, if you are worried about it, float a toothpick in your bowl. Bubbles will be able to form on the wood, causing the water to boil without exploding.

How to clean a microwave in 5 minutes with just water and vinegar!

Put the bowl in the microwave and shut the door. Microwave the water and vinegar for 5 minutes.

If your microwave is REALLY dirty, don’t open the microwave right away when the timer goes off. Leave the door shut for about two more minutes to let the steam continue to work. The steam will help loosen up caked on bits of food, and the vinegar will help eliminate any odors.

When you open the door, be careful pulling the bowl out; it will be very hot! Remove the turntable tray (carefully, it will be hot as well) and wash it in the sink.

Now just take a cloth or sponge and wipe down the inside of the microwave. The dirt and food will come right off!

How to clean a microwave in 5 minutes with just water and vinegar!

If you don’t want to microwave a bowl of water and vinegar, you can also get a sponge soaking wet, pour about a teaspoon of vinegar on it, and then microwave the sponge. This doesn’t create as much steam though, so if your microwave is really dirty like mine was, use the bowl instead.

Do you have any other tips for cleaning a microwave? I was thrilled with how easy this was! What other kitchen cleaning tips have you tried?

If you’re looking for other great cleaning tips, check out the homemade grout cleaner, the homemade borax free laundry soap, and all of the cleaning posts here at Practically Functional!

I used Young Living’s lemon essential oil, which is a super versatile oil! It’s good for smoothing calluses, removing grease, gum, or sticky residue, plus it smells great, so it makes a great air freshener! Check out all the other things lemon essential oil can do!

Lemon essential oil is great for cleaning grease, gum, and sticky residue, plus it smells great so it's the perfect air freshener! http://practicallyfunctional.com/natural-living-essential-oils/

If you’re interested in learning more about essential oils, just let me know! I’d be happy to get you more info, get you a sample to try out, or if you are ready to start using essential oils, you can get the Young Living Premium Starter kit at a HUGE discount and get all your oils at 24% off for life when you sign up as a wholesale member. The starter kit is everything you need to get started living a happier, healthier, more natural life with essential oils, and the 24% discount on all Young Living oils and products doesn’t hurt either!

Welcome to the club! Sign up to get Young Living essential oils at 24% off for forever, and get all this as well! http://practicallyfunctional.com/young-living-member-sign-up/


I link up at these awesome parties! 
The following two tabs change content below.
Hi, I'm Jessi! Welcome to Practically Functional, a blog about simple, practical projects and ideas to help you love your home, no matter where you live! We just bought our first house, and I'm busy turning it into a home. I want to make sure we love every single square foot of our new home, so I decorate, I craft, I DIY, I build, I organize, I cook… I even garden! Practically Functional is about loving your home and turning it into the perfect place for you, your family, your pets, your hobbies, your work, and everything else you love! Make sure you follow along by RSS or subscribe by email so you don't miss anything!

Latest posts by Jessi Wohlwend (see all)


  1. This is very helpful! Thank you :D
    LediaJ – Healthy Beauty recently posted..Avalon Organics Thickening Shampoo review

  2. Did this today. My microwave was in a similar state… worked brilliantly! Thanks.
    kristin recently posted..Antiphospholipid Syndrome

  3. Tested some Pinterest inspired cleaning tips, including yours for cleaning microwaves, and posted about it on my blog. I linked back to you of course! Thanks for the tip and feel free to come check out my post:

  4. My wife did this and it worked great.

    However … does this shorten the life of the microwave? You’re coating the inner parts of the microwave that have any exposure to the inner compartment with acid.
    mbhunter recently posted..What would happen if the military just “went shopping”?

    • hmm… something to think about. my mom taught me the same trick ages ago without the vinegar. maybe I’ll try with just water from now on

  5. Love this trick.. just tried it for the first time today. I realized I didn’t have white vinegar but tried it with the apple cidar vingear we have and it worked just as great. Crusted cheeze came right off the glass plate too! My microwave is usually a nightmare and this was great. Made it an easy ordeal. I could fill the dishwasher while the combo was microwaving.

    @ Karla, I have a white stovetop too and it is always another nightmareish task to tackle in my kitchen.. we love to cook and get messy in the kitchen. I will definitely try the angled razor trick-thanks for the tip!

  6. HOLY CRAP! My micrwave hasnt been cleaner since the day I bought it! I poured some of the hot vinegar water on my stovetop instead of down the drain and let it sit for a bit. Didn’t go as well as cleaning the microwave, but my stove is nice and clean now also. YEAH!

  7. I have been doin this for awhle now. I hav never used vnegar, however, I do use dish soa in the bowl and let it run for quite some tme and it works great !!U can also spray your microwave with kiten cleaner such as 409 or whatever u use and it works well tooo!!

  8. Very good trick. This is so simple & easy idea to clean microwave. As Megan said, I will take care of it. I will use toothpick to avoid any problem. Thanks a lot.
    amruta recently posted..India’s Top Businessmen & Their Academic Qualification

  9. Another great tip. Thanks you are the go to girl with all the easy tips for making the house sparkle. The best tip I know around the home is to buy an extension cord for your vacuum so that you don’t have to stop and start all the time. Saves all the bending over.

    • Very smart! Our apartment is small enough right now that I only have to plug it in once, but when we move to somewhere bigger I’ll keep that in mind!

  10. rossinhawaii says:

    I soak 2 or three kitchen sponges in water and then pour a small amount of vinegar. Set the timer for 2 minutes and then let it cool for a few more. You can use the sponges to clean the microwave. It also kills the bacteria in the sponges so it’s a two-fer!

  11. Yesterday evening I read this on Pinterest and started at once this cleaningtip. After five minutes I saw some result and decided to give it another 5 minutes. A great boom and the water exploded!!! But …. after cleaning the mess, my microwave was cleaner than ever ;- ))) Thanks for this tip, but never longer dan five minutes. Greez from Corrie

    • The same thing happened to me, except what ever that big boom was broke the microwave! After I cleaned it my turn table no longer turned. I will not be doing this with my new one that is for sure!

  12. Can you do this with apple vinegar?

  13. Thanks for this tip! I live in a dorm and we have two shared microwaves in the whole dorm for about 90 girls. As you can imagine, our microwaves are disgusting! I live right across the hall from the microwave room, so when I can’t sleep, sometimes I scrub at the microwaves, but I can never get them clean. I’m going to try this next time I’m having a burst of insomnia!

  14. I saw this over at Miss Information and it’s such a great idea that I had to pin. I am glad I am not the only one in that vicious cycle! LOL! I think I’ll go try this out *RIGHT NOW*!!
    Diana Rambles recently posted..Rosette Plate Wreath

  15. Pinned it! I totally feel you on that vicious cycle. I fall into it regularly.

  16. Doing this as I type, at first I thought you took a picture of microwave lol ;-) I was thinking today I needed to clean it

  17. Wow! Must try this.
    Do you think it may work with an oven also?

    • Wouldn’t think so-steam would escape. My old Polish mother-in-law would put ammonia in a bowl in the oven overnight and wipe the slime out in the morning with hot dish water. Seemed to wrrk great.

  18. Worked great!

  19. Patty Paulsen says:

    That lovely little turntable can go in the dishwasher…every time I have a not-quite full load I put the turntable in. Also, the lovely little vent cover goes in to (I have a microwave mounted over my stove and the cover can get pretty gunky).

  20. Jasmine chand says:

    This was great advice cuz my microwave was like a jungle but with food stains it was just omg so I wanted to clean it for my mom but just with water it did not work tried with microwave cleaners and etc but nothing worked whenever someone came they would say nice house nice furniture but WOW what a microwave its so dirty I would be like ok lol Ikr and blah but then my cousin told me bout this website so it was great help for me and my family thxz soo much for having pictures and great advice for us viewers to see

  21. Brilliant!!! Just did this on my microwave which had suffered from too many spills and explosions and I can’t believe how quick and easy it was! Thank you!!

  22. Just did my microwave , worked great :)
    Decided to try it on my oven , I am absolutely amazed, WOW can’t believe how well it worked…..thank you :)

  23. FYI: My DD used that exact bowl to reheat some Chile a couple of weeks ago, and it cracked all the way around the middle of the bowl! Unbelievable because we have been using it all the time and there were no cracks, chips and she only put it in for 55 secs!
    Thanks for all of your tips by the way!!!

  24. Debbie A says:

    You can also do this with vanilla and water. If you are using the vinegar I wonder if you could add a little lemon juice for a fresher smell.

  25. Hello! clever trick I tend to add a bit of lemon too as when I clean glass :) Pinned onto my “Oh I could Live there” Board, came over from the Blitzen party at Debbiedoo’s.
    Lizy @ http://justdipitinchocolate.blogspot.com/ recently posted..15 Delicious Spring- Summer Drinks Recipes

  26. Just did it! my microwave was not very dirty but I wanted to try it!
    It worked! Thanks for the tip! :)

  27. Ok, this did not work for me at all. I microwaved it for five minutes the first time, and nothing happened. I microwaved it for ten minutes the second time and let it set a couple minutes after the time went off. When I opened the microwave, the baked-on crud was still baked on. This didn’t moisten or loosen any of the grime. Is there some secret step that I missed?

    • You couldn’t just wipe it away with a rag afterward? I doesn’t clean it for you, it should just make it way easier to wipe up. :-) After you microwaved the water and vinegar, when you opened the door did a bunch of steam come out? The steam is what loosens up the gunk.

  28. Had a very high expectation for this cleaning trick but turned out to be a total dissapointment. It didn’t work at all! =(

  29. Absolutely did not work for me. I tried it several times with different size bowls, different water amounts, different times… no luck on any of them! :( None of any of the variations produced enough steam to help in any way at all. So disappointed since my microwave is a mess!

    • That’s too bad Kelly! I’ve never produced enough steam that steam came pouring out of the microwave when I open the door, but it’s always enough to slightly loosen the caked on gunk so I can wipe it away with a sponge. I wish I had some other suggestion for you. :-(

  30. Sherry Roth says:

    I use baking soda mixed with water. Heat the same way…let it sit for several minutes before wiping out with a damp cloth. Using baking soda also deodorizes the microwave too!


  1. [...] immediately following a mess, i wouldn’t need to do steam clean it, but i don’t and this is pretty easy and [...]

  2. [...] to clean the microwave today and I looked to Pinterest for some advise. A very popular post from Practically Functional promised a solution to cleaning your microwave in 2 minutes. I was sold- especially since it was a [...]

  3. Pinterest Does It Work? Homemade Microwave Cleaner » Creativelyb says:

    [...] believe it disappeared …. Until you open the door again of course. So I have seen this article on Pinterest that mentioned a quick and easy way to clean your microwave. I figured I’d try it out since I had [...]

  4. [...] found my way to Jessi’s blog, Practically Functional, and her post on “How to clean a microwave in 2 minutes” which was based on a tip from Crafty Little [...]

  5. [...] How to clean your microwave | DIY microdermabrasion | How to glitter-fy everything | Crayon [...]

  6. [...] microwaves in general, though for practicalk purposes I understand if you have one in your house.  Practically Functional will show you how to completely clean your microwave in 2 minutes, minus all [...]

  7. [...] 7 // Learning to clean a glass stovetop (check out that reflection!) and a microwave [...]

  8. Life Hacks | Pearltrees says:

    [...] Hacks < how to < CRAFTY < aislynowen Get flash to fully experience Pearltrees Cleaning A Microwave In Just 5 Minutes! – Practically Functional I’ll admit it, my microwave was disgusting! Disgusting with a Capital D. It was past the point [...]

  9. [...] Here is a link to the original blog I followed via Pinterest: http://practicallyfunctional.net/2012/04/how-to-clean-your-microwave-in-2/ [...]

  10. [...] frequent use that these appliances will have during the holiday season.  In fact, you can actually steam clean your microwave for the best [...]

  11. [...] this pin on Pinterest, I certainly wanted to try it. The ingredients were simple, water and vinegar Practically Functional blog made it simple. 2 cups of water and 1-2 tablespoon of vinegar, microwave on high for 5 minutes [...]

  12. [...] just enjoy! If you are looking for microwaving tips, in the event of a Peeps explosion, check out this [...]

  13. [...]  How To Clean A Microwave.  Ever had something explode in your microwave?  Cleaning it sucks.  Well, I had been curious [...]

  14. […] we moved into this apartment it wasn’t very clean. I already shared my 5 minute microwave steam cleaning tip, but another area that needed serious cleaning was the bathroom. The grout was disgusting! But […]

  15. […] Clean Your Microwave In 5 Minutes  ||  Homemade Grout Cleaner  ||  Detox Bath Recipe […]

  16. […] How to Clean Your Microwave in 5 Minutes from Practically Functional. […]

  17. […] bleach mixture sit for an hour. (Get some other spring cleaning done while you’re waiting! Clean your microwave with vinegar, or make this homemade grout cleaner and clean your tile […]

Leave a Comment


CommentLuv badge