How to Clean a Microwave With Lemon

Cleaning a microwave can be a hassle, but it doesn’t have to be. Lemons provide an easy, natural way to cut through grease, disinfect surfaces, and leave your microwave sparkling clean. With just a few simple steps and ingredients you likely already have on hand, you can transform your microwave from grimy to gleaming in no time.

Why Use Lemon to Clean a Microwave?

Lemons have natural degreasing and disinfecting properties that make them ideal for microwaving cleaning. Here are some of the benefits of using lemons:

  • Cuts Through Grease: The citric acid in lemons helps dissolve and cut through grease and grime that accumulates in the microwave over time. This allows you to easily wipe away food splatters and oily residue.
  • Disinfects Surfaces: Lemons are a natural antimicrobial, meaning they kill bacteria and germs. This helps sanitize and deodorize the inside of your microwave.
  • Brightens & Deodorizes: Along with disinfecting, the fresh lemon scent helps neutralize unpleasant smells that can linger in your microwave. It also acts as a natural whitener to brighten surfaces.
  • Non-Toxic: Lemons provide a non-toxic way to clean your microwave safely. Many commercial microwave cleaners contain harsh chemicals, whereas lemons are all-natural.
  • Affordable: Chances are you already have lemons on hand. If not, they are an inexpensive cleaning solution compared to many store-bought products.

With these advantages, it’s easy to see why lemons are an ideal ingredient for DIY microwave cleaning.

Supplies Needed

One of the benefits of using lemons for microwave cleaning is that you likely already have most of the supplies needed:

  • 1 lemon
  • Water
  • Microwave-safe bowl
  • Clean sponge or cloth
  • Optional: Baking soda, vinegar, essential oils

Before getting started, you’ll want to gather all of the supplies together. Having everything ready will allow you to clean the microwave quickly and efficiently.

If you don’t have a lemon, other citrus fruits like limes, grapefruit, or oranges can also work. Just adjust the quantity based on size.

How to Clean a Microwave with Lemon: Step-by-Step

Cleaning your microwave with a lemon takes just a few easy steps. Here is a step-by-step process:

Step 1: Remove Accessories and Wipe Down Inside

The first step is to remove any accessories from inside the microwave, like turntables, racks, or trays.

Take a damp sponge or cloth and do an initial wipe down of the interior microwave walls and ceiling to remove any loose crumbs or splatter.

Step 2: Microwave a Lemon

Cut a lemon in half and place the halves in a microwave-safe bowl. Add about 1/2 cup of water to the bowl.

Microwave the lemon for 2-3 minutes, until the lemon is heated through and the rind has softened. The steam will help loosen baked-on grime.

Tip: You can also substitute the water for 1/4-1/2 cup vinegar to boost cleaning power. Just be cautious of the potential for a strong vinegar odor linging afterward if using this method.

Step 3: Wipe Down Interior

Once heated, use oven mitts to safely remove the hot lemon water from the microwave. Dip your sponge or cloth into the heated liquid and wipe down the interior of the microwave.

Focus on problem areas with built-up splatter or stains. The heated lemon water should help cut through grease and grime.

For tougher stains, you may need to reheat the lemon water and follow up with a little extra scrubbing using the softened lemon rind directly on the stain. The citric acid will help lift stuck-on food.

Optional: For an extra cleaning boost, you can add a sprinkle of baking soda to the lemon water before microwaving. The bubbles created will provide light scrubbing power.

Step 4: Rinse and Dry

Use fresh water and your sponge or cloth to rinse down the interior of the microwave. Wipe away any excess lemon juice or grime.

Then use a clean, dry cloth to wipe down the interior and remove any standing water. It is important to fully dry the inside of the microwave to prevent mold or mildew growth.

Step 5: Deodorize and Disinfect

If any odors linger, you can place lemon rinds or a small dish of lemon juice inside the microwave and heat for one minute. This will help deodorize the interior.

For extra disinfection, wipe down the interior with a clean cloth soaked in lemon juice or water mixed with a few drops of lemon essential oil. Then wipe dry with a fresh cloth.

The lemon juice will sanitize surfaces and leave your microwave fresh.

Step 6: Replace Accessories

Once the inside is clean and dry, replace any turntables, racks, or trays that were removed.

Give the accessories a wipe down separately in hot, soapy water if needed. They will now be ready to put back into your sparkling clean microwave.

Tips for the Best Results

Here are some useful tips to get the best results from your lemon microwave cleaning:

  • Microwave lemons for 2-3 minutes to fully heat and soften them before wiping down the interior.
  • Focus on scrubbing tough, baked-on stains with the heated lemon halves. The rind is also handy for scraping off stuck-on splatters if needed.
  • Reheat the lemon water or juice if it cools off for continued cleaning power.
  • Use fresh lemon juice mixed with water for a final disinfecting and deodorizing wipe down.
  • Always wipe down with clean water after using lemons to rinse off acidity.
  • Make sure the microwave is fully dry before using to prevent damage.
  • Repeat monthly for a quick refresh and to prevent future build-up.

Common Questions

Can I use lemon essential oil instead of a real lemon?

You can add a few drops of lemon essential oil to water or vinegar for a deodorizing effect. However, real lemon juice and the rind are most effective for the cleaning power needed to cut through grease and grime.

Should I clean the outside of the microwave too?

Yes! Wipe down the exterior microwave surfaces with your lemon-soaked sponge or cloth. Avoid getting moisture in the ventilation openings, though.

What kind of cloth should I use?
Use a soft sponge or lint-free cloth. Paper towels can work too but may cause more irritation for your hands than a sponge or rag.

Is it safe to microwave a lemon that long?
Yes, microwaving a lemon with water for 2-3 minutes is completely safe. This helps release the beneficial oils and citric acid for cleaning. Just be sure to use a microwave-safe bowl.

Can I substitute vinegar or baking soda for the water when microwaving the lemon?
Absolutely. Just use about 1/4-1/2 cup. Both can boost cleaning power. Just keep in mind vinegar can leave a strong lingering smell.

What should I do if the lemon smell lingers too much?
Try wiping down the interior again just using fresh water. You can also place a small bowl of water with a few drops of vanilla extract inside and microwave briefly to help counteract the citrus smell faster.


Cleaning your microwave with a lemon is an easy, affordable, and effective method. The natural acids in lemon lift grease and grime, while the juice sanitizes surfaces. Plus, you get a fresh, lemon-clean scent.

To recap the process:

  1. Remove accessories and do an initial wipe down.
  2. Microwave lemon halves in water for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Use heated lemon water to wipe away residue.
  4. Rinse clean and dry thoroughly.
  5. Deodorize with lemon juice or peel as needed.
  6. Replace accessories to complete the cleaning.

Follow these simple steps using items you likely already have at home for a microwave that looks—and smells—like new again. Enjoy the convenience of microwave cooking without worrying about odors or grimy build up. Your lemon-fresh microwave is ready for anything!

Frequently Asked Questions About Cleaning a Microwave with Lemon

Cleaning your microwave with a lemon is an effective home remedy. But you may still have some questions about the details of the process. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

How does lemon clean a microwave so well?

Lemons contain citric acid, which gives them their sour taste and provides the cleaning power. The acid cuts through grease, lifts stains, dissolves lime and calcium deposits, and kills bacteria and odors. When heated in the microwave, the steam penetrates and loosens baked-on grime.

What type of lemon works best?

Any variety of lemon can be used, but larger, juicier lemons will provide more juice for cleaning. Standard yellow Eureka or Lisbon lemons are common choices. Meyer lemons are milder if you want less acidity.

Does it matter if the lemon is peeled or unpeeled?

Peel the lemon, as the oils in the rind help lift grime. But leave some pith attached for scrubbing stubborn spots with the coarse texture. The rind is also useful for scraping off any stuck-on splatters.

How much lemon juice do I need?

You only need about 1/2 a lemon to clean a standard microwave. Use a whole lemon if it’s small or the microwave is very dirty. The leftover heated lemon water provides concentrated cleaning power.

How long should I microwave the lemon?

Microwave the lemon for 2-3 minutes to fully heat it and release the beneficial oils. Microwaves vary, so go by if the lemon feels heated through and softened. Reheat as needed if the lemon water cools.

Can I substitute other citrus fruits instead?

Yes, limes, grapefruit, and oranges all contain acidity for cutting grease. You may need to adjust the quantity based on size. Their rinds can also help scrub the microwave clean.

Any tips for getting rid of tougher stains?

For stuck-on spots, try reheating the lemon water to concentrate it. You can also let the heated lemon half sit directly on the stain for a minute or two to help lift it before scrubbing.

What’s the best way to get rid of lemon smells left behind?

Rinse the microwave well with plain water. You can also microwave a small bowl of water with vanilla extract for 30 seconds to a minute to neutralize citrus smells quicker.

How often should I clean my microwave with lemon?

Aim to clean your microwave with lemon about once per month. This will prevent a heavy buildup of grease and grime over time. Quick lemon cleans keep the microwave fresh.

Final Thoughts

Cleaning a microwave seems like a hassle, but it doesn’t need to be. With the power of an all-natural lemon, you likely have everything needed to easily cut through grease, remove stains, disinfect surfaces, and leave your microwave smelling fresh in just a few simple steps.

The next time you notice splatter building up or smells lingering, don’t reach for toxic chemical cleaners. Reach for a lemon instead. You’ll be amazed by how quick and effective microwave cleaning can be.