I Tried This Chemical-Free Microwave Cleaning Hack from TikTok—and It Actually Worked
The entire process takes less than 5 minutes, so how could I not give it a shot?
TikTok. Home to dance crazes, food trends, style hot takes (can we agree to each their own on where we part our hair, please?!) and surprising cleaning hacks…many of which do work, but some are total flops. Case in point: We're still on the fence about this stainless steel appliance-cleaning advice.
Rather than simply take their word for it on this one, I finally decided to tackle a chore I had been putting off to put one TikTok hack to the test: cleaning my microwave. @jessicahaizman promises in her quick how-to video that, "This is seriously the easiest way to clean your microwave, and there's no chemicals whatsoever."
So I took a mid-morning break to finally, admittedly about 3 months late, give my appliance an extreme makeover just in time for spring cleaning season.
"I remove the tray and wash it in a dishwasher," she says. (Mine is running as we speak to tackle that task. But does the dishwasher soap count as chemical-free? That depends on which you're using, and pretty much all formulations have some sort of chemicals. But if you're keen on an eco-friendly option, try something like Seventh Generation's Fragrance Free Dishwasher Detergent Packs, which are $12 at Target, for this step.)
"I fill up a bowl with water and put it in for at least 3 minutes," she adds, as she closes the door and turns on the microwave. "When the water is steaming, remove it, and then wipe down the microwave."
As my bowl full of water warmed for exactly 3 minutes, I went to my closet to grab a microfiber cloth (similar to these Green Lifestyle Microfiber Cleaning Cloths; $8.49 for 12, amazon.com) to go on wipe-down duty. After the timer went off, I immediately removed the bowl and started wiping. Then scrubbing.
"Did I let this get too out of control or what?" I wondered, even though there were mainly just a few droplets on the sides and top of the microwave interior from reheating leftovers like soup. I noticed a little progress, but not much. So I listened to her instructions once more. After hearing that "...at least 3 minutes" part again, I decided to pop the bowl of water back in for 1 minute more, even though it was already steaming a little before.
Sixty seconds later, I removed the bowl again and had much better luck—and was able to scrub up nearly every splatter. So yes, this TikTok cleaning hack actually works fairly well! Depending on your microwave's heat level and the degree of grime, you might need to microwave the water longer and allow more steam to be produced, but @jessicahaizman's trick does a pretty decent job of de-gunking the microwave.
Now that the big crumbs and spots are gone, if you want your microwave even more squeaky clean at this point, you may want to spritz on this EPA-approved all-natural all-purpose cleaner as a final step if any final grime remains. And now that your appliance is spick and span, you're all set to cleanly whip up any or all of these 37 healthy recipes you can cook in your microwave.