Cleaning the microwave

This is a subject I don’t post about very often, basic household cleaning. However, I do come across a tip from time to time that works so well I just have to share. Today is such an occasion. This tip relates to cleaning the microwave.

I don’t like harsh cleaners. I use them to clean apartments between tenants because they are quick and effective for thoroughly cleaning unknown crud. But at home, I prefer mild soaps and hot water. In my bathroom I do use a bleach cleaner in the toilet. For the sinks and tub though, I use a powder without bleach, perfume, phosphorus, or dye called Bon Ami (works just as well as Comet or Ajax but without all the harsh ingredients). Usually just a wet cloth is enough to clean the counters. In the kitchen I use a bleach cleaner occasionally inside the refrigerator to keep away mold, but usually just warm water.

I use regular dish soap on my dishes, but not bleach or antibacterial. I can understand the need to bleach dishes in a commercial setting such as a daycare or restaurant when you don’t know what kinds of germs are on them. At home, I know who’s sick and with what. The germs are in the air and from coming into contact with the person most of the day. Chances are if one of us will catch it, the dishes aren’t the most likely reason.

Also, recent studies have shown that children in homes where antibacterial products are used (including dish and hand soaps), the chances of getting asthma and other respiratory illness increases. The homes are actually too clean so that the kids can’t build up immunity. Plus, the small percentage of germs left become super germs resistant to antibiotics and therefore are more dangerous. So anyway, that’s why in a nutshell I don’t use them.

A side note here since it’s flue season. Along with regular cleaning, vacuum more often when someone is sick. A recent study shown that germs are killed as you vacuum due to the harsh action, especially upright ones.

Still, I like a clean kitchen. After washing the dishes, I use the rinse water to wash my counters and stove. Sometimes I have to let water sit on a stubborn spot for a few minutes, (especially applesauce or oatmeal) but it will eventually rinse off. A friend occasionally washes my counters. She smears dish soap on the rag then washes them. Unfortunately, she doesn’t rinse them, so we have soap residue left on the counters. Ugh. She does the same at her house only she uses the antibacterial soap.

Often I forget to wash inside the microwave, or only do a quick wipe to the tray. Especially since we don’t use it very often other than heating water to make bread. On Saturdays, I try to do an extra good job cleaning the house. Today that included cleaning the microwave. While the bottom tray was clean, there was a lot of bits of dried on food stuck to the sides and top. (It’s amazing how many people never clean the sides and top inside.) A hard wiping with a wet dish rag got off about half of it. Now, I can’t exactly soak the sides or top like I do the table to get off the stuck on bits.

Instead, I filled a shallow dish about half full of water then turned the microwave on high for 5 minutes. This got the water to boil for awhile and filled the inside with steam. After a few minutes, I opened the door and wiped it clean including around the bottom edge under the tray. Finally, I left the door open for it to dry. Easy and clean with no harsh cleaners.


7 Responses

  1. We don’t use chemical cleaners at home either. For scrubbing, I use baking soda. It’s cheap and is 100% natural. For regular cleaning, I use 50/50 vinegar water since vinegar has a lot of naturally occurring antibacterial properties. I only use bleach for special things. For my toilets, I use baking soda and vinegar and I don’t get a toilet smell. I was actually surprised to find when I was sick one time that the toilet bowl had no smell at all! I will definitely give your microwave trick a try since I have oatmeal spills and such in my microwave right now!

  2. Mandi,
    Thanks for reading my blog. I’ve always been both amazed and horrified at some people who think unless you use harsh chemicals, something isn’t clean. Yes, I know about vinegar. I just really don’t like the smell, even diluted. I hope the steam bath will work in your microwave.

  3. Baking soda is a great cleaner. It is good to clean cabinets with, mix a little with water and wipe down the cabinets, then use vinegar and a clean cloth to rinse the baking soda residue off of the cabinets.

    I also use baking soda to clean the outside of the kettle, it is abrasive enought to remove grime, but never scratches/dulls the finish.

  4. Thanks for the infomation”martine” I thought people had forgotten about natural products and how much healthier they are to use.
    Great Comment.

  5. The vinegar water works great on the outside of the tea kettle, too. The vinegar cuts right through the grime that builds up from daily cooking. I will admit, though, that the smell can sometimes be overwhelming. After it dries, though, I can’t say I’ve ever noticed a smell. And it works great on windows & mirrors, too!

  6. Mandi,
    Yes, you could use vinegar water for cleaning the microwave, but I just use plain water. For me, vinegar smell seems to linger in the air after it dries so I don’t use it even though it does clean well.

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