4 Super-Easy Steps to Clean Your Microwave With a Lemon

Lydia Schapiro
Written by Lydia Schapiro
Updated March 18, 2022
 A woman opening a microwave
Photo: Grace Cary / Moment / Getty Images

This cleaning hack is simply the zest

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Have you ever put off cleaning the microwave for weeks on end? Scrubbing down this appliance likely isn’t your favorite task—especially when it's full of forgotten spaghetti sauce—and it’s easy to close the door and forget about it. 

Luckily, there’s a way to clean your microwave and leave it smelling like a fresh lemon tree. The key to cleaning your microwave effectively and efficiently? Lemons. By following the simple steps below, you’ll have a sparkly clean microwave in no time. 

Difficulty: ⅕ No experience? No problem. 

Time to Complete: 20 minutes 

What You’ll Need:


  • Microwave-safe glass, bowl, or dish

  • Gloves

  • Cloth or sponge 


  • Water

  • Lemons

1. Mix Up a Lemon-Water Solution

A woman putting bowl of slice lemon in microwave
Photo: Andrey Popov / Adobe Stock

To start cleaning a microwave with lemon, first, fill a microwave-safe glass, bowl, or dish halfway up with water. Cut a lemon in half and squeeze the juice into the water. Then, drop the lemon halves in gently so you don’t have another mess to clean. 

2. Microwave The Mixture

Next, microwave your lemon-water mixture on the microwave’s high setting for three minutes or until the liquid starts boiling. The power of steam will loosen some of the hardened bits of food and grime, making your work that much easier.

Leave the bowl in the microwave for a few minutes so the solution can work its magic.

3. Wipe Down The Microwave

After a few moments, remove the bowl, making sure you use gloves to protect your hands since the water may still be quite hot. In addition, take out any removable parts, such as the turntable.

Wipe down these removable parts using a cloth or a sponge. You can also use a dish wand for an even easier clean. Then, wipe the entire interior of the microwave clean using a damp cloth or sponge. 

Pro tip: If you’re finding stubborn stains, dip your cloth or sponge into the leftover lemon water and scrub until you’ve removed the spot(s). 

4. Clean the Exterior

A woman cleaning microwave

Finally, wipe down the exterior portion of the microwave with a cleaner of your choice, taking care not to miss any spots or gunk in corners. Make sure you scrub the handle, as this is where you’ll find fingerprints, as well as some other food stains.

Additional Questions About Cleaning Your Microwave With Lemon

Why is lemon a great cleaning agent?

What makes lemon one of the best natural cleaners is its low pH and high acidity. Plus, lemons can help get rid of stinky smells in your home, thanks to their naturally pleasing scent. 

What else can I use to clean my microwave? 

In addition to lemons, you can use vinegar to clean your microwave. Simply go through the steps above, just substituting lemon juice for vinegar (around 2 tablespoons of vinegar combined with water).

In addition to homemade cleaners, you can also go over your microwave with a suitable store-bought cleaner or disinfectant if that’s what you’d prefer.

Can I use lemon juice from the bottle?

Yes. Both bottled lemon juice and fresh lemons will work as cleaning agents. 

What if stains don’t come out?

If you’ve gone through the above steps and your stains are not gone, you can try using a mix of equal parts baking soda and water to remove the spots. 

Cleaning with baking soda can loosen even the most stubborn hardened grime. Spread the paste around the stain(s) and let it sit for around five minutes. Afterward, use a sponge or damp cloth to scrub. 

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