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How To Clean A Microwave With Vinegar & Steam; No Scrubbing!

How To Clean A Microwave With Vinegar

  • 3 minutes (time spent doing stuff)
  • 7 minutes (time spent waiting around)
  • 10 minutes (total project time)


  • a microwaveable bowl or glass measuring cup (you can also use the Angry Mama microwave cleaner)
  • a toothpick
  • a sponge


  • vinegar
  • water
  • one drop of lemon essential oil, optional (learn more about essential oils here)


I made a video to show you just how easy it is to clean a microwave with vinegar and steam!

Or if you’d prefer written instructions, here they are.

Fill a microwaveable bowl with 2 cups of water and add 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Add a drop of essential oil if you want to mask the vinegar smell. 🙂

Drop a toothpick into the bowl of water to help keep the water from boiling out over the edges of the bowl.

NOTE: Liquids can get superheated in a microwave and “explode”. It isn’t common, but it can happen. Bubbles can’t form on a smooth surface, so if you’re microwaving liquid in a perfectly smooth container no bubbles will form (i.e. the liquid won’t boil) until it is jostled. This can cause it to “explode” into boiling when you open the microwave or try to remove the bowl. But don’t worry too much; most consumer bowls and cups are not perfectly smooth. Even things like glass that feel smooth to the touch still have minor imperfections in the surface that will allow bubbles to form. Also, the turntable in the microwave should jostle the liquid enough to allow it to boil while the bowl rotates in the microwave. But it never hurts to be safe, so drop a toothpick in your bowl; bubbles will be able to form on the wood, causing the water to boil without exploding.

how to clean a microwave with vinegar and steam

You could also use the Angry Mama microwave cleaner to steam clean your microwave, which eliminates the “smooth surface” problem of a glass bowl. Plus she’s cute, and only a couple bucks!

how to clean a microwave with vinegar and steam

Whether you use Angry Mama or a bowl, put it in the microwave, shut the door, and run the microwave on high for 5 minutes.

When the timer goes off, don’t open the microwave right away. Leave the door shut for 2-3 more minutes to let the steam continue to work. The steam will help loosen up caked on bits of food, and the vinegar and lemon oil will help eliminate any odors.

When you open the door, be careful pulling the bowl out; it will be very hot! Remove the turntable tray (carefully, it will be hot as well) and wash it in the sink.

Take your sponge and wipe down the inside of the microwave; the dirt and food will come right off!

how to clean a microwave with vinegar and steam

Another way to clean your microwave is to get a sponge soaking wet, pour about a teaspoon of vinegar on it, and then microwave the sponge. However, this method doesn’t create as much steam as microwaving a bowl of water, so if your microwave is really dirty, use the bowl instead.

Do you have any other tips for cleaning a microwave? I was thrilled with how easy this was! What other kitchen cleaning tips have you tried?