If you haven't cleaned your microwave in a while, then you might notice a buildup of gunk. And if it's been sitting in there for a while, then the bits of food may have hardened to the point of making it almost impossible to remove. Thankfully, steam-cleaning the inside of the appliance with a vinegar-water solution will remedy the mess without much effort. Here's what you need to do.
First, gather your materials:
- Microwave-safe bowl
- Toothpick or stir stick
- Pour equal parts vinegar and water into the bowl. Measure based on how long you plan to steam your microwave for. Using half a cup of each liquid is good enough, but if it's in need of a deeper clean, then use one cup vinegar and one cup water.
- Insert a toothpick or another small wooden object into the vinegar-water solution. This is a cautionary step that not everyone has to take, but it minimizes the chances of explosions. It's not necessary, but I like to do this just to be on the safe side.
Bubbles will form on the toothpick or wooden implement, letting it boil without exploding. Bubbles can't form on really smooth surfaces, which causes it to boil into an explosion when the bowl is suddenly moved. Most plates and bowls aren't completely smooth, so you don't usually have to worry about this.
For this cleaning, I used a wooden stir stick instead of a toothpick since I didn't have any on hand.
- Heat the bowl for five to 10 minutes, depending on how dirty the microwave is. When the time is up, leave it in for a minute or two to let it steam it up more.
- After letting it sit for a bit, take the bowl out with oven mitts, because it's going to be very hot. Then, take a sponge and dip it into the hot vinegar-water mixture and scrub down your microwave. Most likely you won't need a sponge, and the gunk will come off easily with a few swipes of the rag or paper towel.