A microwave is my all-time favorite appliance for cooking and reheating food. However, it is not without flaws.
You know that bizarre layer that sometimes accumulates inside your microwave? Some dab it a microwave popcorn build-up, while others refer to it as powdery gunk.
Whatever name you give it, this residue is tough to remove. If you’ve tried every tip in the book without success, you might wonder if an oven cleaner could do the trick instead.
But, can you use an oven cleaner in a microwave?
The answer is yes, but the oven cleaner must be specifically intended for microwave use. To ensure safe usage, strictly adhere to the instructions on the packaging and proceed with caution. Furthermore, avoid ammonia-based cleaners as they can be corrosive to your microwave’s surfaces.
For more insight on oven cleaners, whether they’re safe to use in the microwave, safety precautions, best alternatives to oven cleaners, and much more, please read on.
Is An Oven Cleaner Safe to Use in a Microwave?
An oven cleaner is safe to use in a microwave, provided it’s specifically designed for the appliance.
However, to be safe, it’s best to stay clear of using any chemical-based cleaners. Why? Let me explain.
I understand the frustration when food particles get lodged in your microwave, and you can’t seem to clean them out no matter what.
Not everyone is a fan of standing long hours scrubbing away at a dirty microwave. And even if they’re, chances are they don’t have time to do it during their busy day.
This is where more powerful cleaners come into play. Due to their high pH level, these products are highly effective at dissolving those hard-to-remove food stains.
However, the same qualities that make them great also make them dangerous.
Most oven cleaners have pH levels as high as 14, categorizing them as corrosive alkaline. Upon contact, whether on the skin or in the eye, they can cause tissue damage, blindness, burns, and respiratory issues.
While these products are often marketed as microwave or oven cleaners, they’re designed for commercial use in restaurants and bakeries. Furthermore, the hassle of identifying a suitable cleaner may not be worth the risks. Oh, and lest I forget, they’re generally pricey.
Instead, I recommend utilizing home remedies to save money, minimize risk, and leave your microwave smelling fresh.
Can You Use Mr. Clean Magic Eraser in Microwave?
Yes, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is a safe alternative to use in the microwave as long as you take precautions.
Like any other commercial cleaner on the market, you should not use the solution in microwaves without following safety instructions and guidelines. Avoid contact, especially on your skin and eyes, as this could cause severe irritation.
When done, rinse your microwave thoroughly and store it away from the reach of children or pets. Remember to follow the product’s usage directions for the best results.
How Often Should You Clean Your Microwave?
While there is no hard and fast rule for how often to clean your microwave, do so after every use.
I know this might be taxing for some, especially on busy days, but frequent wipes will save you from deep scrubbing sessions in the future. But if you can’t manage to clean your microwave daily for whatever reason, make sure to give it a thorough cleaning at least once a week.
When microwaves are left unclean for long periods, food particles accumulate, causing odor and bacteria growth. Bacteria then give birth to molds, which you don’t want anywhere near your microwave.
Furthermore, if left unchecked, grime, oils, and other food residues in your microwave may alter the taste of your next meal. Worse, the bacteria may spread to other areas of your kitchen, contaminating everything else. Your best bet is to tackle the problem early before things get out of hand.
Safety Precautions to Consider When Cleaning a microwave
Even though the potential for disaster is high when using oven cleaner on a microwave, you can still do it. Be sure to follow these safety precautions:
- Read the label carefully and ensure you have an oven cleaner designed explicitly for microwaves.
- Follow the product’s packaging directions to the letter for the best results.
- Refrain from mixing different types of cleaners as they might react dangerously with one another.
- Always do a small test run before an entire cleaning session to know what and what doesn’t work with your particular microwave.
- Before beginning any cleaning process, unplug your microwave. Allow the appliance to cool completely before cleaning it.
- Wear protective gloves while handling the cleaner to avoid contact with your skin.
- If you accidentally spill the oven cleaner onto yourself or other surfaces, rinse immediately with cold water.
- Once done cleaning, rinse your microwave thoroughly with water to remove any residue from the chemicals.
- Store the oven cleaner away from children or pets to prevent accidental ingestion.
What Should You Use to Clean a Microwave?
Rather than using an oven cleaner, consider using natural cleaners such as baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, or warm soapy water.
I find these options less harsh on my hands, environmentally friendly, and much more affordable. Additionally, they’re safe to use around children and pets as opposed to chemical cleaners, which can be harmful if ingested.
With such many options, you’re certain to find something that works for your microwave and your personal preferences.
Check out the guide below for instructions on how to clean a microwave using each of the three options stated above.
1. Cleaning Your Microwave with Warm Water and Dish Soap
Warm soapy water is one of the most effective ways to clean your microwave, especially the light accumulation.
Here is a quick guide on how to go about it:
- Pour some warm water and dish soap into a microwavable bowl.
- Place the bowl with the warm soapy water in the microwave.
- Close the door tightly and microwave the solution for one minute on high or until steaming.
- Once done, carefully open the door and remove the bowl from the microwave to avoid scorching yourself.
- Set aside the bowl with the now dirty soapy water.
- Using a damp sponge, wipe off all surfaces of the microwave, especially those hard-to-reach corners.
- Rinse and wring out the sponge thoroughly before wiping down surfaces again to remove any remaining food particles.
- Once satisfied with the cleanliness level, use a clean towel and dry off any remaining wet patches.
2. Cleaning Your Microwave with Vinegar and Water
Vinegar is a natural disinfectant that works best for minor spills and messes. Below is an easy, fast way to clean your microwave using vinegar and water:
- Mix two tablespoons of apple cider or white vinegar with a cup of water and pour into a microwave-safe bowl or dish.
- Nuke the vinegar solution on high power until it becomes steamy (usually about 5 minutes).
- Do not remove the bowl from the microwave right away. Instead, wait for another five minutes to let the steam loosen any caked-on food residue.
- Remove the vinegar solution from the microwave and set aside.
- Wipe down the microwave interior and all the surfaces using a damp cloth until everything is spotless.
- Using a clean, dry towel, wipe out any remaining moisture inside the microwave or leave the door open to air dry.
3. Cleaning Your Microwave with Baking Soda
If you have more severe stains than what can be cleaned with vinegar, baking soda is the perfect DIY weapon.
Follow the steps below for a deep clean that will revitalize your kitchen appliance.
- In a microwaveable container, mix two teaspoons of baking soda and 1 cup of water.
- Place this concoction in the microwave and nuke on high for 2 minutes or until steaming.
- Allow the mixture to sit for another minute in the microwave for the steam to loosen any gunk or grime.
- Remove the baking soda solution from the microwave and set it aside.
- Find a damp cloth and wipe down the inner walls and surfaces, paying close attention to those corners, cracks, and crevices.
- Rinse out the sponge and wipe down the microwave once again until no streaks are left.
- Now take a dry towel and wipe off the excess moisture inside the microwave or leave the door open to allow for drying.
4. Cleaning Your Microwave with Lemon Juice
The acidity of lemon juice makes it great for cutting through moderate grease and leaving a shiny finish behind. Plus, it leaves a pleasant citrus smell lingering around your microwave and kitchen.
Here’s how to go about it:
- Fill a large microwavable mug with freshly squeezed lemon juice and the rest with water.
- Set the timer for five minutes and microwave the lemon juice solution on high until it’s steamy.
- Wait another five minutes before removing the lemon solution from the microwave to allow the steam to loosen any stubborn bits of food.
- Take the bowl with the solution out of the microwave and set it aside on the countertop.
- Like the other methods, use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe down the insides and surfaces of your microwave until satisfied.
- Finish by wiping any remaining moisture with a clean, dry towel or leaving the door open to air dry.
Although you can use an oven cleaner to clean your microwave, it requires great caution. Plus, finding one specifically designed for microwave use is challenging.
Rather than risk ruining your appliance or potentially injuring yourself, it’s best to stick with natural cleaners. They’re inexpensive, easy to find, and safe for most appliances.