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  • Lauren Smith

How to Clean All the Grime on Your Microwave

All it takes is one leftover spaghetti dinner to turn a sparkling clean microwave into a war zone. If you avoid cleaning this appliance because you think it requires more elbow grease than you can muster up, we have good news: Carolyn Forte, director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab, has easy tips to help you tackle this on the regular.

1. Removing food-splatter and gunk from the inside

Place a microwave-safe bowl with 1 cup of water and a chopped up lemon, lime or orange or several tablespoons of vinegar in your appliance. Turn the machine on high for several minutes (or until the solution boils and the window is steamy). Let it cool for 15 minutes before opening the door, then remove the bowl and wipe the inside with a sponge.

2. Wiping down the greasy door

Clean the rubber gasket around the door with a sponge dampened with water only. If the window is greasy, clean with a mixture of half vinegar and half water, then dry. You can also wipe your microwave down with your favorite all-purpose cleaner, like Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner.

3. Dusting the exterior

This is another place you can utilize your all-purpose cleaner. Just make sure you spray the cleaner on a cloth or sponge, and not directly on the appliance, or you may risk cleaner getting into the vent holes. "You don't want cleaner getting into the inner workings of the microwave. And don't spray the control panel directly either," Forte says.

4. Working on more stubborn spots

For super stuck-on ick, Forte recommends using Good Housekeeping Seal holder Mr. Clean Magic Eraser ($3, You can wash most removable pieces, like the turntable, in the dishwasher or a sink full of sudsy water. Just make sure you read your manufacturer's manual beforehand.

5. Cleaning it more often

If you want to make your cleaning experience easier next time, Forte recommends wiping down your appliance every couple of days, depending on how often you use it and, of course, right after something splatters so bits don't bake on. You'll thank yourself later.

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