If you’ve ever turned a blind eye to the sauce splatters and smears that plague your kitchen microwave, we don’t blame you. When food residue and unfamiliar gunk have been left to harden over time, the tricky-to-reach appliance is practically impossible to wipe down—no matter how hard you scrub.
With spring-cleaning already on our radar, we’re ready to tackle this greasy culprit once and for all. And who better to source savvy advice from than Reddit users? In the threads, “What is the best cleaning tip you’ve ever received?” and “What’s your best cleaning hack?” clever cleaning pros share their genius solutions for fighting microwave gunk, stopping stove-top scum, and getting rid of oven crud.
From homemade remedies to unusual scrub-down strategies, here are five hacks to try this cleaning season.
Try: Water and Lemon
The majority of Reddit users swear by this classic cure-all for the microwave, which calls for your choice of citrus and a cup of water.
“I’m a professional housekeeper. I’ve found [that] putting a bowl of water in there for five minutes works amazingly and doesn’t leave any smells closed in there from the cleaner,” says Redditor, Supergario64.
If you really want the interior to sparkle (and smell good) toss in some slices while you’re at it.
“Put lemon slices in a cup of water and microwave it long enough to generate steam. All the grime wipes off easily,” adds user Papayaregime.
Try: Making your own concentrate
Reddit user Katgib13 also happens to be a professional house cleaner with a ton of clever cleaning ideas. If you don’t have lemons or limes hanging around, the pro suggests letting time and a natural surface cleaner take its toll.
“Buy a bottle of concentrate (I use Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day), put a cap full in a spray bottle of water, and go,” she says. “It cleans mirrors, countertops, appliances, etc. Spray it in your microwave, close the door, and come back in 10 minutes. It’ll wipe clean with no scrubbing.”
Try: The Damp Rag Trick
In lieu of filling a bowl with water or slicing citrus, some people are going at their microwave with a rag—and only a rag.
“Microwave a wet rag for about one to two minutes depending on crud build up. Take the rag out by the corners as to not burn yourself and swing [the] rag a few times to cool. Wipe your microwave and watch the stuck on food come right off. Repeat as necessary,” explains user ChefBoyTD89.
By saturating a standard dish towel with water, it will create enough steam to loosen any built-up gunk.
Try: Cream of Tartar
The microwave isn’t the only crud culprit that’s giving Reddit users a cleaning headache. “The wall behind the stove that’s sticky and greasy is driving me nuts, please help,” begs user, Baroqueandsaxy.
For backsplash and counter scum, Katgib13 suggests scouring the spice aisle at your local grocery store for Cream of Tartar. “Mix it with a little bit of water to form a thick paste. Take a damp sponge or cloth and scrub. Do small sections at a time. Works on toasters, cabinets, and range hoods too!” she says.
Hot tip: Cream of Tartar can also act as a natural bleaching agent for white kitchen sinks or tile.
Try: Baking Soda
What can’t you do with baking soda? For tackling the oven, one user likes to create a plaster-like solution out of baking soda and a splash of water.
“Mix a few tablespoons of baking soda with just enough water to make a paste and smear it all up in there. You might want to wear gloves. Let it sit overnight and then scrape/wipe it out. I used a clean paint scraper on our oven that hadn’t been cleaned in years…) Spray with diluted vinegar to get the last of the residue and it’ll be like new!” says li_the_great.
Another user suggests mixing baking soda with hydrogen peroxide to create a similar paste that can be used for cooking tools or the stove top.
“You can remove burnt grease from your stove, grill, or pots with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Mix the baking soda and hydrogen peroxide together into a paste and cover the grease with it. Let it sit for a couple of minutes and then clean it off. Rinse the area with water,” says fellow Redditor, Marmorset.
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