Cleaning your microwave is one of those jobs that’s all too easy to put off. If you don’t wipe it down immediately after use (when you’d rather be eating whatever you’ve just cooked!) the splatters harden and you convince yourself you’ll get around to it just as soon as you’re in the mood for some elbow grease. But by using a few easy tricks, you’ll soon have a sparkling microwave – with no elbow grease required!

The vinegar method

Gather up a microwave safe bowl or jug and any kind of white vinegar.

Fill the bowl around half way with water, then add a tablespoon of vinegar. You might have heard horror stories of superheated water exploding – it is extremely rare, but if you are at all worried, just pop a wooden toothpick or skewer to float in the bowl before you put it in the microwave.

Heat the water for five to ten minutes depending on how dirty the microwave is. The timing will depend a bit on how powerful your microwave is, so keep an eye on it the first time you clean your microwave this way. When the time is up, leave the bowl there for another minute or two to let the steam soften food residue and kill bacteria.

Remove the bowl very carefully – it will be extremely hot, so use oven mitts. You’ll probably be able to simply wipe the microwave down with a paper towel, but if there are any particularly stubborn bits, dip a sponge into the hot vinegar water and wipe it with that.

This method does run a risk of your microwave smelling a bit like a fish & chip shop for a little while (which might be no bad thing, depending on your fondness for fish & chips!). If you’d prefer to avoid that, then there’s…

The lemon method

Using your microwave safe bowl or jug, fill it around half way with water. Cut a lemon in half and squeeze the juice into the water, then pop the lemon halves in too.

Microwave it on high for about three minutes, or until the water comes to a boil, then let it sit for five minutes or so to let the steam get to work. Remove the bowl – again, carefully! – and wipe down any residue that remains. And job done – you have a sparkling clean microwave in under ten minutes.