Close-up of a lemon juice solution in a bowl for eco-friendly microwave cleaning
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Microwaves are staples in modern kitchens, swiftly warming our meals and beverages. Yet, with frequent usage, they quickly become splattered with food residues and odors. The main topic of this article is revealing how lemon juice—a humble kitchen staple—transforms into an eco-friendly, powerful cleaning agent. Rich in citric acid, lemon juice cuts through grease and leaves a refreshing scent, offering an ideal solution for those smeary, food-splattered microwaves. It’s one of the easy ways to maintain kitchen appliances without resorting to harsh chemicals, and it showcases how natural ways of cleaning can be just as effective, if not more so.

Why Lemon Juice is Effective for Microwave Cleaning

The science behind lemon juice as a cleaner

The science behind lemon juice as a cleaner lies in its high acidity level. The citric acid in lemon juice is a natural disinfectant, which makes it not only good for drinking but also good at breaking down grease and grime. When heated, the steam from the lemon-infused water will help to loosen any dried-on foodstuffs, making it easier to then wipe away the mess without rigorous scrubbing.

Comparing Lemon Juice to Conventional Cleaners

Comparing lemon juice to conventional cleaners, it does not carry the risk of leaving behind toxic residues or harsh odors. When choosing between a bottle of chemical spray and a bottle of lemon juice, the latter is certainly the safer bet, especially for households with children, pets, or allergy sufferers.

microwave cleaned with lemon juice technique

Preparing Your Lemon Juice Cleaning Solution

What You Will Need

What you will need is simple: a couple of fresh lemons will work wonders. Here’s a mixing guide for the perfect lemon juice cleaning concoction:

  1. Squeeze the juice of two lemon halves into a microwave-safe bowl filled with half a cup of water.
  2. For added strength, you could also chop the squeezed lemon halves into small chunks and add them to the mixture.

The Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Your Microwave with Lemon Juice

Removing Solid Food Residues

Removing solid food residues is the first step in getting your microwave pristine. Start by removing the turntable and washing it separately in soapy water. This will give you better access to the interior of the microwave.

The Lemon Juice Steam Cleaning Method

  1. Place the bowl with lemon slices and lemon juice inside the microwave.
  2. Run the microwave on high power for about 3 to 5 minutes, or until the mixture boils and the window steams up.

Allow the bowl to sit with the door closed for another 5 minutes after the microwave has turned off. The combination of heat and acid from the lemons will work to dissolve food splatters and neutralize odors. Once the time is up, carefully remove the bowl—the contents will be hot!—and take out the turntable and the rotating track. Dip your cloth into the lemon-water and begin wiping the inside of the microwave. The messy splatters and greasy streaks should come off easily now. If there is a turntable, be sure to wash it separately and ensure it’s dry before placing it back in.

The microwave door and exterior deserve attention too. Using a fresh cloth dampened with the leftover lemon water, give the entire microwave a good wipe-down. The lemon’s natural cleaning properties will leave your microwave looking clean and smelling fresh.

Adding extra lemon juice could also be a good way to make sure no odors linger. Saturate a sponge with the lemony mixture and leave it inside the microwave for an hour before removing and rinsing. This extended exposure ensures that your microwave smells fresh, with no trace of food odors.

clean microwave interior with natural lemon juice.

Additional Tips and Tricks for a Sparkling Microwave

Tackling Tough Stains and Odors

In instances where the microwave has been neglected for some time, tough stains and pungent odors might have taken residence. Addressing these requires a bit more elbow grease and a few additional natural ways to boost your cleaning power. For the most stubborn stains, making a paste by adding 1 tablespoon of baking soda to lemon juice will create a potent scrub. Apply this mixture to the stained areas and let it sit for five minutes before scrubbing gently with a sponge. The natural abrasive nature of baking soda combined with the acid from the lemons will help removing the gunk without scratching the microwave’s interior.

Besides the stains, odors can be a persistent nuisance. An effective method to deal with them involves placing a bowl with a mixture of equal parts lemon juice and water back into the microwave and heating it until boiling. Let the steam will do its work for another 15 minutes after turning off the microwave. This extended steam treatment will help loosen the remaining residue and neutralize odors that a short steam session might not have completely eliminated. When cleaning a microwave, it’s essential to remember that patience and consistency are as important as the cleaning solution used.

Maintenance Cleaning to Keep Your Microwave Fresh

To avoid the necessity for heavy-duty cleaning sessions, regular maintenance is key. Here are some easy ways to implement a simple and effective maintenance routine:

  1. After the use of the microwave, quickly wipe down the interior with a damp cloth. This will help catch spills before they become baked on.
  2. Once a week, slice a lemon, place it in a bowl of water and microwave for a quick steam clean to maintain freshness.

Keeping to these habits will ensure your microwave remains clean and functional, preventing the build-up of splatters and odor-causing residues. Encouraging family members to cover dishes while microwaving can also reduce the amount of mess created. Now, you won’t have to deal with a dirty microwave that needs intense cleaning too often—it’s all about preventative care.

how to clean a microwave using fresh lemon juice


In conclusion, utilizing lemon juice, a natural and readily available kitchen commodity, for microwave cleaning is an excellent strategy. With its powerful citric acid and friendly scent, lemon juice provides a brilliant cleaning solution that is both effective and eco-conscious. We’ve explored the easy ways to craft a cleaning concoction, the step-by-step guide to eradicating messes with steam-cleaning, and the additional tips for tackling tougher stains. Integrating these cleaning hacks into your routine will not only keep your appliance in top shape but also contribute to a healthier, more sustainable home environment.

Remember, the beauty of using lemon juice doesn’t stop at cleanliness—it extends to peace of mind, knowing your cleaning practices are safe for both your loved ones and the planet.


  • Can I clean my microwave with just lemon juice without adding water? No, it’s not recommended to use lemon juice on its own as it may be too concentrated and could damage the interior surfaces of your microwave. Diluting it with water ensures a balanced pH level for safe and effective cleaning.
  • How often should I clean my microwave with lemon juice? For maintenance cleaning, using the lemon juice steam method once a week should suffice. However, the frequency can vary based on how often you use your microwave and how messy it gets with each use.
  • What should I do if my microwave has a particularly strong odor? If you’re dealing with a powerful scent, leaving a dish of lemon juice and water mixture in the microwave overnight can help. The lemon’s natural aroma will deter nasty odors and ensure your appliance smells fresh.
  • Can I use bottled lemon juice instead of fresh lemons for cleaning? While fresh lemons are optimal due to their natural oils and acidity, bottled lemon juice can work well as an alternative. However, be sure to check that it’s pure lemon juice without any added sugars or preservatives.
  • Are there parts of the microwave that shouldn’t be cleaned with lemon juice? Lemon juice is safe for most parts of your microwave. However, be cautious around any metallic parts to avoid possible corrosion over time. Always read the care instructions specific to your microwave model.

By Siobhan