I've always thought people who don't own a microwave are crazy. How else do you risk radiation damage making a Hot Pocket? Or reheat leftovers? But after one too many cup-runneth-over situations, I'm starting to understand their reasoning: Those little boxes are impossible to clean. You just can't scrub hardened food and sauces off all six sides without bumping an elbow or pulling a muscle. And if you're fancy AF, you've got to remove the spinning glass tray and wash that whole apparatus separately.
IT'S EXHAUSTING—but it's super necessary! As you might have guessed, keeping your microwave clean is kind of important, because, well you eat the stuff that comes out of it! Food can often splatter to the top and sides when you reheat it and then when you go to heat something else up, that stuff can drip down onto what you're eating next, Marjorie Harvey, founder and director of Australian Food Hygiene Services, told Canstar Blue.
“A dirty microwave could be growing a smorgasbord of germs in it,” she said. “Germs need warmth, food, and moisture to multiply, and allowing the internal top of microwaves to be splattered with food particles and not cleaned after each use could pose a potential health risk. Remaining particles from the day, or week, before will dislodge as steam softens the old food and causes it to drop and contaminate the new food—if not covered."
Okay, so we've clarified that not cleaning your microwave is gross, but trying to wipe it down is a HUGE pain. So what do you do? Well it's nothing the internet can't solve. A hack has been floating around lately that makes cleaning the microwave so much easier. It's also the simplest recipe you'll ever follow:
How to clean your microwave:
Pour equal parts white vinegar and water into a glass measuring cup or bowl (one cup of each works best for a deep clean). Insert a toothpick or wooden spoon into the bowl. This allows bubbles from boiling liquid to form on something, eliminating the chance of an explosion when the bowl is moved. Nuke it for 10 minutes, then carefully remove the bowl with oven mitts. All the caked on crap will have become loose by now, so go in with a wet cloth and voila!!
For anything else that's stuck on, you can mix together two parts baking soda and one part water and wipe it down with a rag. You can also get it super, super clean by following the tips from the experts over at Whirlpool and putting your microwave turntable in the dishwasher (provided it's dishwasher safe!), and locking the door to wipe off the outside with a damp cloth. Once you do that, invest in a microwave splatter guard so you can cut down on your cleaning time next time. Wait, did you hear that? It's the sound of millions of former microwave haters running to the nearest kitchenware store. Success!
Sarah Weinberg Deputy Editor Sarah Weinberg is the deputy editor at Delish and has covered food, travel, home, and lifestyle for a number of publications, including Food Network Magazine and Country Living. Kristin Salaky News Editor Kristin Salaky is the news editor at Delish.com covering viral foods, product launches, and food trends.
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