How to clean a microwave without toxic chemicals

How To Clean Your Microwave & Dishwasher

With so many chemicals in most homes these days, sometimes it can be good to take a break from these abrasive (and expensive) substances and use a natural method. When it comes to cleaning the microwave and dishwasher, I tend to always go natural. The best thing is, you probably already have these ingredients in your home. Win!

Here’s how you too can clean your microwave naturally and further down instructions on cleaning your dishwasher the natural way:

clean microwave naturally


Microwaves can get really crusty and messy after a little while, with various foods spilling and splattering as you cook. While there are some great ways to help reduce the mess, such as covering food while it cooks with a suitable lid or paper towelling to avoid splatters and placing a piece of paper towelling on the glass turntable under your food, it still needs regular cleaning.

What you need:

  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Bowl
  • Essential oil (optional)


Fill a microwave safe bowl with 1-2 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Add a drop of essential oil if you want to avoid that vinegar smell afterwards (I actually had no essential oils on hand so used 2 drops of vanilla essence instead). Put the bowl in the microwave, shut door and set the microwave to heat for 5 minutes. Don’t open it as soon as it finishes. Leave it sit for a few minutes to let the steam work it’s magic and for your liquid to cool down.

clean microwave naturally

When you do open the microwave, be extremely careful as the liquid and bowl will be hot. Remove bowl and turntable (also hot) and wash it in the sink with warm water. Use a cloth to wipe the inside of the microwave clean.

The messy stuff should wipe right off with the cloth. Dry off the inside of the microwave with paper towelling or a tea towel and make sure the turntable is completely dry also before replacing.


The dishwasher is of course going to get a bit clogged and gross with the food residue and crumbs that end up in there. Sometimes this can lead to your dishwasher not draining properly, with dirty water floating around at the bottom and leaving lots of chunks of yuck stuff all over your ‘clean’ dishes. Frustrating when this happens even after you pull out that catcher and give it a scrub (gag).

What you need:

  • Vinegar
  • Baking Soda/Bicarb
  • Cup
  • Old toothbrush (optional)
clean dishwasher naturally


Start by pulling your removable dishwasher parts out, such as the racks, catcher, etc. Fill the sink with hot water and scrub these clean. You may even need an old toothbrush or similar to get into the grooves of the catcher and really clean it out. It is seriously the grossest thing ever! Replace removable parts back in dishwasher.

Place a dishwasher safe cup of vinegar on the top rack. Make sure the dishwasher is otherwise empty and run through a full cycle. After the cycle completes, remove the cup and sprinkle around a 1 cup of baking soda / bicarb around the bottom of the dishwasher. Turn the dishwasher on for another complete cycle using the hottest water option.

Afterwards your dishwasher should smell fresh, be sanitised and now hopefully be draining away all that awful old stinky water that may have been building up around the bottom.

There you have it… naturally clean both your dishwasher and microwave using simple every day home ingredients. Non toxic and family friendly, the vinegar works to sanitise while the two ingredients together have a lovely reaction to break down dirt and grime. These two ingredients can also be used as a substitute for Draino to unclog sinks, or as a stain remover on carpet. Actually, the options using vinegar and bicarb are pretty darn impressive and they can replace a large portion of your home cleaning products!

Just remember with the dishwasher and microwave that prevention is the best method so clean regularly to avoid excessive build up or the need for repairs.

For more cleaning tips and hacks:

Do you have other great uses for vinegar or bicarb/baking soda? Or other natural home cleaning tips to suggest? Feel free to link posts up in the comments so we can come visit.

14 thoughts on “How To Clean Your Microwave & Dishwasher”

  1. Eeeek… Lucky it wasn’t worse. My dad once cooked a choc pudding that was meant for 50 seconds for 5 minutes in the microwave. No explosions but a very black, steaming chunk of pudding :-/ fingers crossed your microwave cleans up nicely.

  2. That is a clever way to clean the microwave at home, I’ve never heard of it. It is so hard to get the stains out of the microwave, but this seems to be an easy way to remove them. I usually clean my microwave with detergent but sometimes the stains still stay where they are.

    As for my dishwasher at home, it doesn’t need cleaning. I don’t use it :D

    1. It does the job nice & easy. We do a lot of freezer cooking to suit hubby’s night shift so need to warm up a lot of dinners.

  3. I can vouch for the effectiveness of cleaning your dishwasher this way. I do mine regularly now to keep on top of it. So much mold had developed (yuck – I know!) that I had to start with bleach. The vinegar is milder, so is better to catch the muck sooner.

    1. Yes I definitely agree that prevention is best. It’s the perfect way to keep on top of the cleaning process without letting it get too revolting! Thanks for sharing your experiences :)

  4. Bev @ Blogging Inspiration

    I use the vinegar and water mixture to clean my microwave too. It’s so simple and works perfectly!

  5. Jennifer Kennedy

    Great suggestions, Holly!! This is the 3rd time in the past month that I’ve read about using vinegar to clean around the house. I had actually never heard of that before. I have been on the look out for more natural options, so this comes at just the right time!!

    I definitely have the food chunks landing back on the dishes, so I think the first up is the dishwasher!!

    1. It is something of a wonder product. I’ve heard people replace 99% of their household chemicals with a vinegar & baking soda combo. Pretty awesome. Hopefully your dishwasher is sparkling soon :)

    1. Yep… It’s totally quick and easy with this method. Vinegar is amazing for cleaning! It’s all about the steam too. Loosens up all the ickiness ;)

  6. Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom

    i already knew how to clean my microwave naturally but I didn’t know what to do with my dishwasher. This is awesome!

    Thanks for sharing and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop.

    Wishing you a lovely day.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *