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Table of Contents

1. Clean the Inside with Vinegar and Water or Lemon and Water

2. Clean Stubborn Stains Using Baking Soda

3. Clean and Touch Up Arc Marks

4. Clean the Outside of Your Microwave

5. Clean the Grease Filters and Outside Vent Damper

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5 Microwave Cleaning Tips: Achieve a Spotless Microwave Like a Pro

4 min readUpdated May. 23, 2024Lyle WeischwillMicrowave
5 Microwave Cleaning Tips: Achieve a Spotless Microwave Like a Pro image

Looking to know how can you clean a microwave and keep it running optimally? Welcome to our 5 microwave cleaning tips, courtesy of Sears Home Services. We'll guide you on how to effectively eliminate stubborn food stains, grease, and grime, and maintain your microwave's performance. Let's discover these simple yet effective cleaning procedures.


  • Keep the inside of your microwave clean using expert tips from our Sears Home Services professionals.
  • Fix arc and burn marks inside the microwave as shown in our DIY video.
  • Keep the grease filters and damper vent clean to help ventilate your kitchen using your over-the-range microwave.

1. Clean the Inside with Vinegar and Water or Lemon and Water

Wondering how you can clean a microwave for optimal performance? Start from the inside. Mix equal parts of vinegar and water in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat the solution in the microwave for about 5 minutes. The steam from the mixture will loosen any stuck-on food or stains. Remove the bowl (be careful, it's hot) and wipe the interior with a damp cloth.

You can use lemon and water in the same manner. Squeeze a lemon into a microwave-safe bowl and add a cup of water. Microwave this mixture for about 3 minutes. The lemon's acidity will cut through grease and grime. Let the bowl sit inside for a few minutes before wiping the inside clean.

2. Clean Stubborn Stains Using Baking Soda

Create a paste with baking soda and water. Apply this to any stubborn spots inside your microwave. Leave it for a few minutes, then scrub off gently. Rinse thoroughly to avoid leaving any residue.

Using baking soda helps you avoid harsh cleaners that can damage the interior of your microwave. To avoid stubborn spots and stains inside your microwave, clean splattered food residue after each use and cover food with a microwave splatter cover to help keep the microwave cavity clean.

3. Clean and Touch Up Arc Marks

Sometimes placing aluminum foil close to the sides inside your microwave, or using your microwave rack incorrectly, can create an electric spark in your microwave cavity, burning the inside of the unit.

This video shows you an easy way you can repair these types of burns using microwave touch-up paint:

To avoid arc and burn marks inside your microwave:

  • Clean the microwave cavity often using the methods recommended above.
  • Cover food using a microwave splatter cover (also mentioned above).
  • Don’t keep the metal rack in the microwave. Only place the rack in the microwave when it will be used for multi-level cooking.
  • When using the rack, insert it correctly so it doesn't touch the sides or back of the microwave cavity and it’s mounted correctly in all of the rack supports.
  • Never place the rack on the floor of the microwave.
  • Never use the metal rack when cooking popcorn. As the bag expands, it could push the rack out of position and create arc or burn marks.

Cleaning and avoiding arc and burn marks will help you keep your microwave in top shape and looking great.

4. Clean the Outside of Your Microwave

Clean the outside of the microwave with the same vinegar and water solutions that you used to clean the inside. If necessary, use a degreaser on an over-the-range microwave to clean off heavy grease deposits. Don’t forget to clean the bottom of the microwave and light covers on an over-the-range model.

Keeping the outside of your microwave clean will greatly improve the look of your kitchen.

5. Clean the Grease Filters and Outside Vent Damper

For an over-the-range microwave, cleaning the grease filters is essential to kitchen safety and smooth microwave operation.

Follow the steps shown in the owner’s manual to remove the grease filters. Soak the filters in hot, soapy water in the kitchen sink for 15 minutes to help remove grease. Rinse the filters off with hot water and dry them fully before reinstalling them in the microwave.

Carefully check the vent damper on the outside of your home. Wasps love to take up residence in this area. Check the damper for blockage by a wasp nest or other obstructions and clean out the vent cover. Make sure the vent damper opens and closes smoothly. Lubricate the vent damper hinges with silicone spray if necessary.

Ensuring the that vent damper works and the grease filters are clean will help the microwave hood clear smoke and cooking fumes out of your kitchen.

By following these 5 microwave cleaning tips and additional expert advice, you're on your way to a well-maintained microwave that delivers delicious food and helps keep your kitchen safe.

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