Whirlpool® Low Profile Microwave in brown cabinetry

How to clean a microwave

From splattered particles that could flake off onto your food to smudges that make your kitchen look messy, a dirty microwave can become an annoyance. Select from the topics below to learn how to easily clean a microwave, inside and out, with common household products such as vinegar and baking soda.

Instructions for cleaning a microwave

Achieving a sparkling clean microwave inside and out can be accomplished in a handful of simple steps. Follow the instructions below to learn how to give your microwave’s interior, turntable and exterior a thorough clean.

  • Microwave-safe container
  • Water
  • Dish soap
  • Soft cloth or sponge
  • Stainless steel cleaning spray (optional)
  • Vinegar (optional)
  • Lemon juice (optional)
  • Baking soda (optional)
Person wiping splatters from microwave interior with rag

Clean the inside of the microwave

Deep cleaning your microwave is as simple as clearing out residue and splatters. Learn tips to clean a microwave by following the steps below.

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Step 1: Soften heavy build-up (optional)

Heat 1 cup of water in a microwave-safe container for 3 to 4 minutes. The steam can help loosen up grime. Try adding 1 tablespoon of vinegar to the water for extra cleaning power.

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Step 2: Clean your microwave with dish soap

Wipe the interior with a soft cloth dipped in water and a little dish soap. On stainless steel models, rub in the direction of the metal’s grain.

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Step 3: Rinse and dry

Rinse the microwave with clean water and dry with a soft, lint-free cloth.

Cleaning tip: On select Whirlpool® microwaves, you can use the Steam Clean setting to skip scrubbing when you’re cleaning the interior. Just put 1 cup of water in the microwave, press the Steam Clean button, and wipe up with a damp sponge or paper towel when it’s done.

Microwave turntable in bottom rack of dishwasher

Wash the microwave’s turntable

Your microwave turntable gets a lot of use. Take care of spills and splatter from tomato sauce or exploding eggs regularly to keep your microwave looking clean.

Microwave turntable icon
Step 1: Start with a cool turntable

Let your turntable cool completely before cleaning. A warm or hot turntable may shatter if put in water.

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Step 2: Wash by hand or in the dishwasher

To wash by hand, use soapy water and a non-abrasive scouring pad or dish cloth. To wash in the dishwasher, check your microwave manual to see if your turntable is dishwasher-safe. 

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Step 3: Dry and replace the turntable

Dry the turntable and replace it immediately after cleaning. Do not use the microwave oven without the turntable in place.

Whirlpool® Countertop Microwave on white countertop

Clean the outside of the microwave

Learn how to easily clean up the everyday smudges, fingerprints and grease that keep your microwave from looking its best.

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Step 1: Turn on the control lock (optional)

On some microwaves with touch controls, you can turn on the control lock to avoid accidentally activating buttons while you clean.

Hand wiping clean icon
Step 2: Wipe and dry exterior

Use dish soap and water or affresh® Stainless Steel Cleaning Spray1 on a soft cloth or sponge. If you have glass controls, you can use a glass cleaner instead. Dry with a soft cloth and turn the control lock off. Read on to learn how often to wipe down your microwave, more methods for cleaning the interior and what to do with a new microwave before its first use. 

Whirlpool® Low Profile Microwave in off-white cabinetry

How often should you clean your microwave?

Though it depends on how frequently you use your microwave, a good rule of thumb is to clean your microwave about once a week. Frequent cleaning helps prevent messes from getting caked on and makes each wipe down that much easier. Be sure to clean your microwave immediately after any large spills or splatters occur. 

Person opening microwave cavity of Whirlpool® Combination Wall Oven

Do you have to clean a microwave before first use?

Your new microwave won’t require a thorough scrub, but it’s wise to wipe down the interior before heating food or drinks. To clean, wet a soft, damp cloth and run it over the walls, ceiling, floor and turntable of the microwave.

How to clean microwave with baking soda

Baking soda is such a common household ingredient that it can be a convenient alternative to other cleaning methods. Use it to clean your microwave by sprinkling several tablespoons of baking soda into a small, microwave-safe dish filled with water. Microwave the water for 5 minutes and allow the dish to cool before removing. Wipe your microwave’s interior with a sponge or soft cloth to remove stuck-on food.

How do you clean a microwave naturally?

Cleaning your microwave with natural ingredients like baking soda, lemon juice or vinegar can help tackle messes naturally. To clean, fill a microwave-safe bowl with 1 cup of water and combine with 1 tablespoon of vinegar, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or several tablespoons of baking soda. Microwave for 2 to 5 minutes and allow the dish to cool before removing. Wipe down the microwave with a damp cloth.

Looking to invest in a new microwave? Check out countertop models from Whirlpool  or browse all Whirlpool® microwaves to find the right fit.

Shop Whirlpool® microwaves

Learn more about Whirlpool® microwaves

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1. affresh® brand products and the recommending brands’ products are all owned and distributed by Whirlpool Corporation.