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How to clean a microwave with vinegar: the best microwave cleaning hack!

Nothing makes me more insane than seeing a dirty microwave with caked on grime and grease! Not everyone in my family shares this same sentiment, for whatever reason, so when I learned about this new microwave cleaning hack, I had to share it. 

And because I typically gravitate towards using products that are “greener,” I was excited when I learned you could actually clean your microwave with just vinegar and water.

Why does vinegar work to clean a microwave?

clean a dirty microwave with vinegar

Not only is vinegar super cheap, it’s also a heavy-duty cleaner, thanks to its highly acidic nature– which is no match for grime, grease and dirt. Additionally, white vinegar can even get rid of up to 80% of germs.

The microwave cleaning hack you have to try: Cleaning with vinegar

  1. Combine 1/2 cup vinegar with 1/2 cup water and place in glass bowl or pyrex. For tougher jobs, use more vinegar and water, but just make sure the ratio is 1:1.
  2. Add in 2 tablespoons lemon juice. This step helps mask the sour smell of vinegar.
  3. Heat in microwave according to microwave wattage (see note below)
  4. Let mixture rest in microwave for 2 minutes to allow steam to loosen
  5. Remove glass bowl with oven mit and wipe down all surfaces of microwave with a sponge.

Note: Depending on how powerful your microwave is you’ll microwave the vinegar solution between 3-7 minutes. The more wattage your microwave has, the less amount of time you’ll microwave. For example, a microwave with a wattage of 1000 will probably only need about 3 minutes, but a microwave with a wattage of 600 will likely need longer.

What kind of vinegar do you use to clean a microwave?

Typically you’ll want to use white vinegar or cleaning vinegar to clean a microwave, but if you only have apple cider vinegar on hand, you can always use that, too. Because apple cider vinegar is milder than white vinegar and cleaning vinegar, bump up the ratio of apple cider vinegar to water in your solution.

If you happen to have cleaning vinegar on hand, you’re in luck! Cleaning vinegar is about 20% more acidic than white vinegar and is really valuable at deep cleaning many dirty areas of your house– including the microwave. If you are sensitive to the smell of vinegar and using cleaning vinegar to clean your microwave, I would dilute it further and then follow the instructions above.

How to prevent a vinegar microwave explosion

To be on the safe side and prevent a vinegar microwave explosion, simply drop a tooth pick down into the solution. This allows the bubbles to form on the wood toothpick and stops the vinegar solution from bubbling over. Of course, make sure to use a microwave safe bowl, too.

How to clean a microwave with vinegar

clean a dirty microwave with vinegar and lemon juice

Clean your dirty microwave the all natural way using water, vinegar and lemon juice.


  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 2 tbls lemon juice
  • microwave safe bowl
  • toothpick
  • sponge


  1. Combine vinegar and water in microwave safe dish. Add in lemon juice.
  2. Place toothpick in bowl to prevent microwave vinegar explosion
  3. Heat in microwave on high according to your microwave wattage (see note above).
  4. Let stand for 2 minutes.
  5. Remove bowl using oven mitts and wipe down with a sponge or damp paper towel.

Final thoughts on how to clean a dirty microwave with vinegar

Don’t run out to the store and spray heavy-duty chemicals in your microwave when you could just use a natural solution of vinegar and water to clean your microwave!

Other cleaning with vinegar tips

How to clean glass shower doors with vinegar and dawn
How to fix a smelly dishwasher

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