This posts shows how to steam clean a microwave the easy way - simply use vinegar and water! This is the best way to clean a microwave with natural ingredients.

This posts shows how to clean a microwave the easy way - simply use vinegar and water! 

Sometimes, it just helps to see a cleaning task broken down into simple supplies and steps. Over the years, I've broken down some of my favorite tips and tricks for cleaning your home. This tutorial on how to clean a microwave with vinegar has been one of the most popular. By using incredibly simple ingredients (just vinegar and water), you can clean even the dirtiest of microwaves in just a few minutes!

When it comes to cleaning things that get really hot, I don't love using harsh chemicals or cleaners. Sometimes, the simplest cleaning supplies are the most effective. When it comes to my microwave, I use one incredibly simple ingredient:

This posts shows how to clean a microwave the easy way - simply use vinegar and water! 

...plain distilled white vinegar. I actually keep a big bottle of vinegar with the rest of the cleaning supplies under my sink. It's a great all-purpose cleaner when diluted with a little bit of water and can be super effective for disinfecting, cutting grease, and making surfaces shine. It's an incredibly valuable (and inexpensive) cleaning tool to keep around for even heavy duty messes.

Here's how I use vinegar to clean my microwave!

How to Steam Clean a Microwave With Vinegar

microwave interior before cleaning
microwave door before cleaning
inside of a microwave

Steam Everything Up

Start (obviously) with a dirty microwave. This is what mine looks like before cleaning - not terrible, since I schedule in a microwave cleaning once a month during kitchen week of Journey to Clean, doing touch-up cleanings as needed. But it needs a little TLC by after not being deep cleaned for a month.

This posts shows how to clean a microwave the easy way - simply use vinegar and water! 

Fill a microwave-safe bowl (no special tools needed!) with about ½ cup of vinegar and ½ cup water.

This posts shows how to clean a microwave the easy way - simply use vinegar and water! 

Set your microwave for around 5 minutes - you want to give the vinegar mixture plenty of time to boil and let off steam. The steam is the key to how to clean a microwave. Once the microwave stops, don't open the door for an additional 5 minutes or so (again, to give that steam lots of time to break up dirt and grime).

(Note: Microwaving liquids too long can be dangerous. I've tested this 5 minute cycle to ensure it's safe in my microwave. If you are unsure of your microwave power, start with 3 minutes and check after 10 minutes to ensure the microwave is steamy inside. If it's not, increase microwave cycle by a minute at a time.)

looking into a microwave with a bowl on turntable

Once you open the microwave up, everything inside of your microwave will be nice and steamy. From there, your spills and gunk should lift very easily.

cleaning the inside walls of a microwave with microfiber cloth

Wipe Everything Down

After you steam clean the microwave, wipe! Get all of the steam off of the inside surfaces of the microwave. You can very carefully get a little bit of the cleaning liquid on your rag/sponge to clean it needed - just make sure it isn't too hot first. I wipe down all of the interior surfaces of the microwave with the damp cloth as well as the inside of the microwave door, giving any gunk or splatters a little bit of extra elbow grease. You can also use this mixture on the outside of the microwave - vinegar is great for streak-free cleaning!

I love these reusable kitchen cloths for everyday cleaning. The microfiber is much more effective at scrubbing than paper towels, and they're reusable. You simply have to throw these reusable microfiber cloths in the washer once they get dirty. Another great option for scrubbing your microwave is a sponge - I love Scour Daddy sponges for almost any kind of cleaning in the kitchen!

cleaning the turntable of a microwave with microfiber cloth
cleaning the turntable of a microwave with microfiber cloth

Take your turntable out and wipe it down well. Check your microwave manual to see if yours is dishwasher-safe - mine is. I'll throw it in the dishwasher if it's especially dirty, but normally a good wipe-down is all it needs.

This posts shows how to clean a microwave the easy way - simply use vinegar and water! 


And just like that, your microwave is clean and shiny until next month's cleaning. It takes just a few minutes to maintain a clean microwave each month. I also recommend using a microwave-safe cover like this one to keep monthly cleaning to a minimum.

I've also heard of adding a little bit of lemon juice to your vinegar and water mixture to really brighten up the smell of the mixture. I'll admit, the vinegar mixture doesn't smell amazing once microwaved. Adding a little bit of lemon juice does help!

Video: Steam Clean a Microwave with Vinegar

Thanks so much for stopping by this tutorial for how to clean a microwave with vinegar! You can catch up with a few more home cleaning tutorials below.

Click here to see my full collection of cleaning posts. And I'd love to see some of your tips for how to steam clean a microwave in the comments!

xo, Leslie; signature for end of the blog post.

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  1. Leslie, Thank-you for the exact measurements for this vinegar mix. I have been cleaning my microwave with full strength vinegar for months. I believe vinegar is my only cleaning solution that I keep on hand. I rescue cats so I need to be somewhat cautious when it come to cleaning supplies. This is a great help.

    1. You are so welcome, Donna! Glad it could help.

  2. Looks simple and easy! I'm going to try this.

    1. Super simple - hope it works for you!

  3. Penny Zeller says:

    Thank you so much for the detailed instructions. I'm trying to use vinegar more and more, as it's definitely the better choice. Stopping by from the Friendship Friday Blog Hop. Have a wonderful weekend!

  4. Five minutes is too long for vinegar and water. It exploded in my microwave and literally blew the door open. Do some research on boiling water in the microwave.

    1. Leslie Lambert says:

      Oh my, sorry about that Sharon. Not sure what's going on, I've done it dozens of times and never had that issue. Was your microwave maybe at a higher power setting than is standard? I did put a note about testing the cycle time in my post to make sure that doesn't happen.