The 3 Best Microwave Cleaners

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Microwaves are a convenient way to cook in a hurry, but they can be notoriously tough to clean because of splattered and stuck-on food. Luckily, the best microwave cleaners quickly soften buildup and get rid of odors so all you have to do is wipe away the mess without scrubbing.

When it comes to cleaning the microwave, harsh cleaners and bleach aren’t necessary and may even damage the appliance. Instead, one of the most effective ways to remove food gunk and grime is a simple solution of water and vinegar, which you probably have around the house already. This natural microwave cleaning solution is heated in the microwave to create steam and soften tough stains — all you need is a nontoxic, microwave-safe container for the mixture, and you’ll find a cute and reusable cult-favorite option for $10 below. For extra-heavy cleaning jobs, I've also included a microwave scrubber that combines steam action with foam — you even have a sponge to wipe everything down with.

When you’re just looking to spot clean, you can also use an all-purpose cleaner to wipe away leftover food stains and grease. The pick listed below is plant-derived and won’t leave strong, unwanted scents behind. And if odor is your main issue, a plant-based gel neutralizes (and doesn’t just cover up) lingering smells (think: burnt popcorn and spicy leftovers).

Cleaning your microwave is probably not something you look forward to, so when the stuck-on food splatter becomes too much, turn to these easy-to-use microwave cleaning products to get the job done without scrubbing and stress.

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1. The Overall Best: A Cult-Favorite Microwave Steam Cleaner

The Angry Mama microwave cleaner is one of the most popular microwave cleaning products on Amazon, and it’s easy to see why. Made from durable, nontoxic plastic, the Angry Mama cleans your microwave with natural things you have around the house, so there are no harsh chemicals required to remove stuck-on food. To use, just add vinegar and water to the fill lines — you can also add lemon juice for a fresh scent — and microwave the solution for five to seven minutes. Steam is released, softening stuck-on food stains so you can quickly wipe them away to reveal a sparkly clean microwave. Choose from four bright color combinations, including the red and blue Mama pictured here.

According to a reviewer: “I was skeptical at first buying this. But, this is AWESOME. It works like a charm. Super easy to use and does exactly what it says. It made my microwave look brand new again.”

2. The Runner-Up: A Heavy-Duty Steaming & Foaming Scrubber

To combine steaming and scrubbing power, the Glisten microwave cleaner is a quick and easy way to clean messes in the microwave. Place the scrubber in the microwave, heat it to activate the scrubber’s foaming power and create deep-cleaning steam (like with my first choice), and let it sit for three minutes. The steam softens stubborn food buildup and the foam wipes off stains and odors quickly. The lemon-scented scrubber is safe to use with all microwaves, and it’s available in a two-pack or four-pack.

According to a reviewer: “Just put it in and turn it on for 30 seconds then let it sit for a couple of minutes. Then you just use the scrub side of the sponge to loosen any sticky spots and then wipe it clean with the sponge side. How much easier can it be??I even reused the scrubby side to loosen up some spots on the window to my regular oven....double duty!”

3. A Natural All-Purpose Spray That Cuts Through Grease For Spot Cleaning

The Better Life all-purpose cleaner is a plant-derived cleaner that cuts through grease both inside and outside the microwave. This nontoxic cleaning spray is made with soap bark, coconut, and corn and contains no synthetic fragrances, petroleum solvents, or alcohol. It’s an effective way to remove food stains and grease without leaving residue or scent in the microwave, and it's safe to use around kids and pets. In addition to getting the microwave clean, the all-purpose spray is great for just about every surface in the house, including countertops, toilets, showers, appliances, upholstery, walls, tables, and more.

According to a reviewer: “I cannot believe how powerful this cleaner is with a couple sprays to cut through grease, dried spills, microwave explosions, and more.”

Also Great: A Plant-Based Odor Remover

To remove strong odors from the microwave, like the smell of burnt popcorn, Fresh Wave's odor-removing gel neutralizes smells, rather than just covering them up, and contains no harsh chemicals. Made with plant-based ingredients including cedarwood, pine needles, anise, clove, and lime, the nontoxic gel works around the house. Good Housekeeping suggests placing it in the microwave between uses — just remove the seal from the jar of gel, cover it with its slotted lid, and leave it in the microwave until you want to cook again or the smell is gone. Each jar works for up to 60 days.

What fans say: “I use it in the kitchen for cooking odors and they disappear pretty fast - and with no lingering 'cover-up' scents!”