Cleaning stainless steel microwave

10 best microwaves for quick and easy cooking

While some people are content with using microwaves for occasional tasks such as reheating a cup of tea that’s gone cold or melting butter, others depend on them for everything from baking cakes to cooking complex dinners. Whatever your needs, the good news is there’ll be a microwave to suit you.

Standard microwaves, which are the cheapest, are great for the simple stuff like reheating and defrosting. They don’t take up much room and are the easiest to use.

But if you want something more whizzy, consider a microwave grill, which also has a heating element, or a combi which can heat, roast, crisp and brown just like a normal oven.

Remember more watts mean faster cooking and think about capacity too, bearing in mind that anything less than 20l can feel cramped for larger households.

Consider the latest tech, such as a drop-down door and flatbed design to fit awkward and bigger shaped dishes inside. You may also want features such as auto-reheat, auto-defrost and steam.

When testing microwaves, our criteria included all this tech, as well as size, capacity, cooking time, ease of use and cleaning, aesthetics, usefulness, efficiency of features and value for money.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

All it takes is one round of leftovers or burnt bag of popcorn to turn a sparkling clean microwave into a grimy, smelly mess. The key to keeping a clean microwave is regular maintenance — every few days, at the very least. Good news: Carolyn Forte, director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab, has easy-to-follow tips on how to clean a microwave.

Unlike other kitchen appliances, you can clean a microwave with everyday supplies you already have in your house, including baking soda, dish soap, and vinegar (white or apple cider). That’s right, stay away from bleach because General Electric warns it actually weakens the plastic interior and damages the entire appliance in the long-run. Plus, microwaves don’t stain like countertops and sinks, so the high-concentrated cleaner is unnecessary to begin with.

Now that you’re geared with the right cleaning supplies, follow this expert-tested guide to get a sparkling clean microwave, stat:

How to Clean the Microwave from Inside

The mixture of splatters and smells can leave your microwave looking, well, rough. To target your microwave’s interior – turntable included — follow this step-by-step:

  1. Combine 1 cup water and lemon, lime, or orange slices (squeeze juice from the fruit slices into the water) into a microwave-safe bowl. If you have white or apple cider vinegar on hand, combine a few tablespoons and 1 cup water into a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Place it inside the microwave and turn it on high power for several minutes until the mixture boils and the window steams up.
  3. Let cool for 5 minutes before opening the door, then remove the bowl and wipe the inside clean with a sponge.

How to Clean Greasy Microwave Doors

It’s not just the inside that counts: Remove smudges and grease from the microwave’s exterior by following these tips.

  1. Clean the rubber gasket around the door with a sponge dampened with water and dipped in a little baking soda. Wipe with a damp cloth or sponge to rinse.
  2. For a greasy window, clean with a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water. Let dry.
  3. In a pinch, wipe your microwave door down with an all-purpose, grease-cutting cleaner (Mr. Clean Clean Freak Mist) or a sudsy mix of dish soap and water. Apply the cleaner with a cloth or sponge to prevent cleaner from getting into the vent holes.

How to Get a Burnt Smell (and All Smells, Really) Out of the Microwave

Sad but true: When you burn popcorn in the microwave, the smell comes back whenever you turn it back on. That means that it’s best to get rid of the stench right away. For light odors (think: spicy food with a strong aroma), air it out by leaving the door open or place a bowl of baking soda inside with the door closed to absorb smells. For strong odors (think: burnt popcorn), clean any leftover residue and place an odor-absorbing gel inside, like Fresh Wave, until you run it again.

How to Remove Stuck-on Food in the Microwave

To get rid of dried-on food, use a Good Housekeeping Seal star Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. If it’s stuck to the turntable, just throw it in the dishwasher or wash by hand with sudsy water. Just make sure you read your manufacturer’s manual beforehand.

Everything You Need for a Cleaner Microwave

Clean Freak Deep Cleaning Mist Mr. Clean $13.71 Dishwashing Liquid Dawn Ultra $5.28 Magic Eraser Mr. Clean $4.94 Odor Removing Gel Fresh Wave $24.99

For can’t-miss news, expert beauty advice, genius home solutions, delicious recipes, and lots more, sign up for the Good Housekeeping newsletter.


Freshen Up Your Kitchen

How to Clean Stainless Steel

Maintaining your home clean is full of ironies, don’t you think? You need to wash your bathtub, even though water runs there every time you use it as well as your washing machine and your dishwasher. It’s funny that even our modern-looking stainless-steel appliances need maintenance too. The name “stainless” in the case of our fridge, oven, microwave, toaster, or anything made from stainless steel doesn’t mean it stays spotless forever. On the contrary, this surface is the easiest to notice when it gets dirty because it loses its shine, and it looks very cloudy. Unfortunately, the cloudiness is not from your poor eyesight, it is an accumulated grease together with fingerprints and dust. Like everything else, those surfaces need regular maintenance to keep up with their futuristic robotic-like looks. Believe me, it is not hard, but it requires some time. And of course, you have to repeat the steps every once in a while. It’s not “clean it and forget it” (even though we wish it were). Give some love to your stainless-steel appliances so that you can enjoy them for longer.

It has been a tendency in the last decade for interior design to use increasingly more stainless-steel appliances. It gives a more modern look-and-feel to our home, especially the kitchen. There has been a focus on simplicity and convenience, subtle colours of the walls and the drawers such as grey, dark or light wood. If you open an IKEA catalogue, you would see a dozen of examples for this emerging style of design. This style relies heavily on the stainless-steel appliances, so this is a problem that affects most of us.

Things to that we probably don’t realise are made from stainless-steel

Okay, probably this sounds obvious to you, but it’s tricky. There are so many things made from this material that we overlook because we focus on big appliances. Such as:

The stainless-steel sink

Stainless-steel Sink

Yes, you probably didn’t think of the sink immediately when you start cleaning the stainless-steel surfaces in the kitchen. Usually, this is the surface that needs the most attention out of the whole kitchen as we place there dirty dishes and glasses. There are leftover food and spilt liquids that leave marks. Also, water leaves residue on the surface, especially in homes with hard water supply. One thing you can do is to buy a filter to place on the faucet. There are many out there on the market. It will not only help you maintain your sink but also it won’t harm the utensils you are washing. Before you place a plate in the sink, throw or put away all the food, don’t just leave it in the sink.

Stainless-steel pans and pots

Not everyone has stainless steel pans in their kitchen, but for my cooking lovers out there, you need to maintain those pans, so they don’t wear out fast. The most important thing for the pans and pots is to be extremely careful not to scratch them. When you are cooking something in them, use a wooden spoon preferably, and when you clean them don’t use a scrubbing wire.

The most effective way to clean a stainless-steel pot is to soak it in dish soap and warm water and then gently, with a regular sponge, scrub out the grease.


Did you even think the list of things made out of stainless steel is this extensive? Our cutlery – when used regularly, the surface of the cutlery gets dull, and some black marks may occur. If the dish soap is not working, you can employ the old trusty baking soda. Mix the soda with dish soap to form a paste, then rub it on the dirty cutlery. This process should get all the spots off of them, then take a cloth and olive oil (or mineral oil). Damp the fabric with a little bit of the oil, and go over the cutlery to bring them back the shine and also get rid of residue that may have been left from the soda.

Brushed stainless-steel

Most of the bigger appliances in our kitchen are usually made from brushed stainless steel. It is a little bit harder to clean such a surface, but it is still very much manageable. You just need to remember to wipe in the direction of the grain. Always start with a cloth damped with warm water. You can then employ a mixture of dish soap and water. The soap is pretty useful for cleaning stainless steel. Rub the solution and then wipe dry. Be careful when working with electric appliances and water. It is advisable to unplug them from the electric system before starting.

Stainless steel hobs

If your hobs are not ceramic, they are usually made out of stainless steel. When you are cooking, they tend to get dirty. You have just prepared your favourite pasta sauce, and you can’t wait to enjoy your meal but what you leave after you is a greasy mess. Yes, you should wipe the grease as soon as possible, but keep in mind that the hobs may still be hot. Give them a few minutes to cool down. Spare a minute to go over the hobs with a sponge and a little bit of warm water, so the marks don’t dry up. For more thorough cleaning of the hops you can use a mixture of soap and water again to get rid of any spots. You can also use a mixture of baking soda and water and scrub away with a soft sponge or a towel, or you can use white vinegar and water. They both work effectively, just don’t use pure bleach as it may harm the surface.

Get rid of rust on the stainless steel

Baking soda against rust

The stainless-steel appliances are manufactured in a way to prevent rusting. However, it may happen. There is no need to worry, you can clean it. Mix one spoon of baking soda with roughly 500 ml of water. Take an old toothbrush and start cleaning. Don’t use any harsher sponges that can scratch the surface. Also, keep in mind to avoid any abrasive powders to clean out the rust because they can harm the stainless steel.

Lemon juice or vinegar against rust

Mix equal amounts of baking soda with the acid, either lemon juice or white vinegar. You should end up with a paste. Take a soft sponge and spread it over the surface. Let it sit for half an hour. The solution will do its job. After that, you can scrub it away and go over with a dry paper towel to get rid of any leftover mixture.

How to remove rust spots from stainless appliances

Cleaning the appliances in the kitchen

For all the stainless-steel appliances whether it being the fridge, oven, microwave, etc. You can follow the same steps for the exterior. Here are some options for you:

Clean the exterior

Glass cleaner

Yes, you can utilise your Windex for the outside of the appliances. Spread evenly but in moderate amounts and wipe in circulate motions using a microfiber cloth or a paper towel. The glass cleaner should help you get rid of fingerprints or watermarks on the surface.

Special detergents

There are cleaning supplies out there on the market that have already prepared a solution that will not only clean your surface but polish it too, returning its lost shine. Such a product is Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaner and Polish. But you are more than welcome to research more products. Before buying something, read reviews or ask friends that may have used it, so you know it is helpful.

Vinegar or baking soda

If you don’t want to support chemical use in cleaning, you can always DIY a solution with the materials you have at home. Mix vinegar and water, preferably in a spray bottle and go over the surface. Again, use a microfiber cloth and wipe it away. Take mineral oil, or you can use olive oil and put a little bit on a paper towel. Go over the surface so you can give it a finishing touch, returning its shine. You can do the same with soda instead of vinegar. Perform the steps in the same way.

Oil is the way to shine

As mentioned above, olive oil acts excellently as a polisher. However, you can use any kind of mineral oil. You can use even baby oil, just don’t go overboard with it, you don’t want the door of your fridge to slip away every time you try to get some food. You need a small amount on a paper towel, just enough to bring the shine back.

Clean the interior

Usually, most of the stainless-steel appliances don’t have a stainless-steel interior. The most common ones are the microwave and the dishwasher.

Clean the stainless-steel dishwasher

Place a full glass of vinegar on the top rack of your dishwasher and run a high-temperature cycle. This should get rid of all watermarks and stains. Go over with a cloth after that and scrub any marks that are left.

Clean the stainless-steel microwave

Here is the thing with the microwave, the interior is harder to clean because there is no water circulation involved as in the dishwasher. This doesn’t mean you can’t clean it. Use a microwave-safe bowl, pour water and vinegar in it. Put it in a microwave for 3 minutes (or until the mixture starts boiling). Don’t open the microwave, let it sit for 10 minutes so the evaporated vinegar can do its job on the sides and the window of the microwave. When the time is up, open it and use a dry towel to wipe the walls. You would be amazed to see how much grease you will take off. You can do the same process with baking soda. Mix them in a bowl, let the solution boil and leave it on for 10 minutes. And voila, your microwave is spotless from outside and the inside.

Learn How To Clean Microwave like a Professional

Don’t stop only with the home appliances.

You can clean everything made out of stainless steel with the materials above. If you have a stainless-steel watch that is getting dirty, get some dishwashing soap, water, and an old toothbrush. Fill a bowl with soap and warm water. If your watch is water resistant, dip the whole watch in the mixture, scrub it a bit with the toothbrush inside the water, then take it out and finish cleaning. Pat dry with a paper towel, and now it’s like you have a brand-new watch. If your watch is NOT water resistant, make sure you dip only the straps, so you don’t break the mechanism. Perform the same steps of scrubbing and drying. You can do a vinegar bath also instead of a soap bath. Again, be very careful with whether your watch is water resistant or not.

You can make a paste of soda and water. Take the old toothbrush and rub the solution in the crevasse. Take a damp cloth with water, wipe out the watch so you can get rid of the excess and then pat it dry.


Whether it’s your fridge or your watch, stainless-steel needs regular upkeep. If you remember to do it often enough, even warm water and a sponge are enough to keep the shine of the surface. But you need to do this every few days or so. We all know that in this hectic reality we don’t have a spare hour or so every two days, to wipe every stainless-steel surface in our house. I advise, however, to employ one of the cleaning methods written above at least once every two weeks, of course, depending on how often you use the appliance. For the microwave and the oven, you may need to do it every weekend because food dries up and leaves a hell of spots. Once you build a routine, it will be faster and more enjoyable every following time.

When you need a good oven cleaner you don’t have to use harsh chemicals. I have learned that you can get great results by using every day kitchen items.

I recently needed to clean a convection microwave oven that was well overdue for a good scrub. It was given to me by a friend who had been too lazy to clean it (thanks Paul!). Anyway the inside of the oven had well and truly seen better days.

I wanted to get it clean but I didn’t want to use a store bought oven cleaner because they usually contain lots of nasty chemicals. I was sure that someone would have already come up with a quick and easy DIY oven cleaner. So I went online and started having a look around for homemade oven cleaners and I was not disappointed.

What I found was that most homemade oven cleaner recipes called for the use of baking soda (bi-carb soda).

I have used baking soda to clean my bath and tiles in the past and again this wonder chemical was proving to be my likely saviour.

Many DIY oven cleaner recipes suggest making up a paste of baking soda and water and applying it to the oven and leaving it for several hours. But I wanted to get started immediately and I didn’t want to have to wait around for hours. So I kept looking for a DIY oven cleaner idea that would allow me to get stuck in right away.

One website suggested that the use of dry baking soda alone would be enough to clean an oven in no time at all.

I also found a website (now removed) that suggested using a mixture of baking soda, vinegar and detergent as a good oven cleaner. This website had a few oven cleaning suggestions including warming up your oven a bit to help with the cleaning process.

Armed with these ideas I headed to the kitchen to attack my “new” dirty oven and see if I could have success with a homemade oven cleaner. I warmed the oven up by setting it to 70 °C for 15 minutes and then got stuck in.

As the oven is also a microwave it has a turntable and that was very dirty with lots of baked on grime. I started off using just dry baking soda and a non-scratch cleaning pad and was pleasantly surprised that a large amount of grime was cleaning off.

However, there was some stubborn baked on grime that just wouldn’t budge!

DIY Oven Cleaner – Baking Soda and Dishwashing Detergent!

Next I put a squirt of dishwashing detergent onto the turntable, sprinkled over some more baking soda and had another try. Wow did that work – the detergent seemed to help break down the grease and the baking soda did the rest! With a bit of scrubbing the turntable came up really nice. I used the same combination on the inside of the oven, making up a paste of baking soda and detergent and using the cleaning pad to rub it over the insides of the oven.

I didn’t use any set amount; the formula was just:

  • sprinkling of baking soda
  • small squirt of dishwashing liquid (I used Palmolive)
  • small amount of water (just enough to make a paste)

I just kept mixing a small amount of each of these together and rubbing the mixture over the oven interior. If it was a bit dry I added a little more water to help with spreading it over the dirty surfaces.

Once I had an area clean I then used a damp cloth to wipe it down and remove any baking soda/detergent residue.

The oven racks were also very dirty and had burnt on grease spots. I was able to get these into my sink so I soaked them in some hot water for a few minutes. I then used the same baking soda/detergent paste and my trusty cleaning pad to get them sparkly clean again!

It was amazing how clean the whole oven came up after just using plain baking soda and regular detergent. I won’t lie to you, some elbow grease was required to clean the oven but it wasn’t that hard considering how dirty it was to start with. There are still a few dirty spots on the oven but I think you’ll agree that compared to how it was before it looks a whole lot better now!

This DIY oven cleaner has been a great tip for me because I always have some baking soda and detergent on hand and it is also much cheaper than buying an oven cleaner! I’m sure that if you used this mixture to clean your oven on a regular basis it would probably be a very quick and easy job!

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