Most experts agree that it’s not the bathroom but rather the kitchen that is the dirtiest, germiest place in the home. That’s because food—particularly raw and unprepared ones—can harbour different kinds of bacteria, fecal contaminants, and other harmful microbes.

This fact also translates to the workplace. In fact, the situation might even be worse considering that there are multiple people in the office who have different hygiene and cleaning-up habits. And while your commercial office cleaner can certainly do a good job tidying up and disinfecting, you simply can’t leave everything to their capable hands.

To help you and your employees keep things safe and clean, here are some cleaning tips for one of the most-used appliances in an office kitchen: the microwave oven.

Vinegar Does the Trick

Most people don’t clean up the microwave after using it. Then, they go back to work, completely forgetting to do the task. This is why food bits and sauces get stuck, becoming even more difficult to clean.

For a hassle-free wipe-down of the grimy insides of a microwave oven, mix 1/4 cup of white vinegar and 1 cup of hot water in a microwave-safe bowl (preferably a glass one). Depending on the size of your microwave, you may need more of the mixture. Just follow the same ratio.

Put the bowl in the microwave and bring it to a boil. The length of time might differ depending on the wattage of the oven. Some models might take just 2 to 5 minutes, while others might take a little longer. The key here is to have the vinegar-water solution steam enough to break down the stubborn mess.

A good tip to prevent the liquid from spilling once it boils is to put a toothpick or a wooden spoon in the bowl.

Lemon Juice Also Works

If you don’t like the smell of white vinegar, you can replace it with lemon juice. Use the same amount (¼ cup to 1 cup of water) and microwave as usual. It’s the acid content of the white vinegar or lemon juice that will help break down the grime so you can clean things up that much faster.

Don’t Open the Door Immediately

Once the timer goes off, don’t open the microwave door immediately. Keep it closed for about 3 to 5 minutes to let the steam and acid do their job and really loosen up the sticky, gooey messes inside the oven.

After the 5 minutes are up, open the microwave and remove the bowl. It’s going to be extra hot, so make sure to use oven mitts or potholders to avoid any nasty burns.

Use a Damp Microfibre Cloth or Sponge

Now that the grime isn’t stuck on the walls, floor, and ceiling of the oven, it’s time to wipe them off. It’s best to use a damp microfibre cloth to catch every stain and splatter. You can also use a soft sponge.

Give the microwave a couple of passes before drying it completely with a dry cloth. Don’t worry about the odour—the white vinegar or lemon juice will remove any lingering bad smells and give the oven a crisp, clean scent.

Take Out the Plate

To make things easier to clean, take out the rotating dish and wash it just like you would a normal plate. It’s also likely dishwasher safe, so you can just toss it there for a quick wash and rinse. Once it’s dry, put the plate back inside the oven and make sure it’s properly attached.

Don’t Forget the Outside

For the outer parts of the microwave, a washcloth or microfibre cloth will do the job. Dampen it with a little disinfectant and wipe everything down. Don’t forget parts like the handle and dials or control panels, since these can accumulate oils and smudges from fingertips.

If you have a spray container of disinfectant, don’t apply the liquid directly to the microwave’s surface. Instead, spray it onto the cloth and then wipe. This way, the liquid won’t get into the vents.

In addition, should the exterior of the microwave be a little too dirty, you may need to wipe it with a mild soap solution first. Then, “rinse” it by using a cloth dampened only with water. You may need a few passes to thoroughly remove the soap residue. Finish things off by disinfecting the surface.

Finally, if the microwave oven has gaskets or seals, make sure to clean them as well. This will prevent gunk and grime build-up. A damp paper towel or cloth would more than suffice for this purpose.


At first glance, all of these steps can seem tedious. However, it really won’t take you more than 30 minutes to complete this task. This is especially true if you don’t let too much time pass in between cleanings.

With these tips in mind, you’ll surely have an easier time keeping your office microwave clean and running smoothly for years.