Vinegar plus hot water equals clean microwave oven microwave-before

Everyone wants to go green, and “green” formulas for everything are all over the internet. And I mean everything — from underarm deodorant to toothpaste to tile and kitchen counter cleaners. Which works and which don’t, we won’t know until we try and find out.

The most recent one I encountered was for cleaning the microwave oven. Very simple. Mix together vinegar and hot water in a bowl, put in the microwave, leave for ten minutes and that’s it. It’s something I could let sit while doing the darn dishes, so why not?

It goes like this. Measure a cup of vinegar and a cup of hot (I used newly boiled) water and pour into a bowl. Put the bowl inside the microwave oven, shut the oven door, and leave for ten minutes WITHOUT turning on the microwave. In fact, to avoid any unexpected complication, I unplugged the microwave. And I removed the turntable plate too because I doubted very much if the underside would miraculously clean itself, vinegar and hot water or not, so I washed the plate separately.

What’s the water-mixture supposed to do? The acidic steam is supposed to soften and loosen any stuck food inside the microwave. And it works, really. microwave-after

See the difference.

But here’s the thing. You still need to wipe the inside of the oven. The steam loosens the dirt and grime but it does not make them evaporate. That’s being realistic. The water-vinegar solution is meant to make clean-up easier; it isn’t meant to be a magic cleaner.

So, once you’ve taken out the bowl with the water and vinegar, get a clean rag or a stack of paper towels and start wiping. All the grime comes off easily. Wipe twice or thrice to remove all traces of oil. I mean, there’s bound to be oil inside the microwave. Do you always cover your bowls and plates when reheating? We don’t. So, wipe and re-wipe.

Note though that the water-vinegar steam won’t remove food stains and discolorations that have accumulated over time. Baking soda and water might solve that problem but that’s for another post.


  1. Beibei says

    This really works! I also use baking soda sprinkled on a damp sponge to remove stains for the microwave, oven and ref. it leaves the appliances smelling fresh — takes away the used oil smell!

  2. misao says

    After I squeezed out the juice and took the zest out of lemons, I usually keep a couple of rinds once a week for cleaning purposes – for microwave, fridge, counters, etc… I just like the smell better than vinegar! :)

  3. Giselle says

    I was looking for a chicken recipe I could use when I came across this article. I was finally able to remove the grime from our microwave easily. Thanks so much for posting this!