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How to clean a microwave oven

Splattered soup? Caked-on casserole? We asked professional oven cleaner, Mark Woollard, from Kent-based The Ovens and Hobs Cleaning Company about how best to clean a mucky microwave.

Prevent mess from staining your microwave

The secret to a stain-free microwave oven is a splatter guard (a cover). Place one over everything you’re heating to reduce the damage done by both predictable splatter and unexpected explosions.

Trader tip: Grubby buttons and dials can be cleaned with a damp cloth that includes a splash of vinegar.

Clean your microwave - little and often

Try to get into a habit of wiping away spills and splashes before they get stuck on. Some surfaces can be stained by ignoring an acidic or colourful sauce splatter.

How can I clean minor microwave muck?

Mark recommends using an all-natural means of loosening stuck-on grime before wiping it away:

  • Sweep away any loose crumbs or debris from the turntable plate and the floor of the microwave.
  • Put half an inch of water into a microwaveable ramekin or bowl along with three tablespoons of white or cider vinegar. Place this on the turntable plate.
  • Close the door and run the microwave on the 'high' setting for two minutes before removing the ramekin or bowl. Watch your fingers as it will be hot.
  • The steaming process loosens dirt. The grime should now be easy to wipe off with a good quality microfibre cloth.
  • If there are lingering smells, follow the four-step process (above) but substitute the vinegar for the juice of a fresh lemon. This neutralises the odour, leaving a fresh smell.

How can I clean serious soiling from my microwave?

A kitchen spray can be used but, says Mark, 'be sure to follow the grain of the surface you’re cleaning to avoid scratching it.'

Many glass microwave plates are dishwasher-safe, but often a soak in soapy water is enough.

The glass in microwave oven doors can be more challenging if heavily stained. Microwave oven doors which aren’t covered in a mesh can be tackled with careful use of a hob scraper. These are stocked by larger supermarkets or easy to find online. 'For a sparkle, polish with a glass cloth afterwards,' says Mark.

If the glass is covered in a mesh on the inside, it cannot be cleaned with a hob scraper. In these cases, a green scouring pad and a bicarbonate of soda paste will lift away the muck.

Be careful when cleaning your microwave

'Most microwaves have a grate on the back for ventilation and another on the interior,' says Mark. 'Be careful not to allow any water or cleaning products to get inside the grates.'

Plastic exteriors require little else than soapy water and a cloth to remove grime that might have accumulated from a nearby hob. A stainless steel finish should be carefully wiped, following the direction of the grain in order to retain shine.

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