How to clean and deodorize your microwave

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- Some of us actually cook in our microwaves and most of us use it to warm things and do microwave in the bag foods. Somehow, the microwave always seems to get dirty and smelly. Here’s some ways to eliminate the problem easily.

Quick clean: Take a wet dishcloth or sponge and place it in the center of your microwave. Turn on high and allow the cloth to “cook” for about 1 minute. The steam that this creates will help loosen any hardened spills and you can use the heated cloth to wipe the inside out.

A note of caution: Remember the cloth/sponge will be hot so allow it to cool prior to handling.

This is a great way to disinfect the cloth or sponge, too.

Cleaning and deodorizing: Place a bowl of water with slices of one lemon or several tablespoons of lemon juice in the microwave and bring to a bowl. Let boil for at least 1 minute. Make sure it doesn’t boil dry. Leave in the oven for at least 30 minutes with the door closed. Then remove and use the warm lemon juice in the bowl and a soft cloth or sponge to wipe out the inside of the microwave.

Burned-on food: Follow the cleaning and deodorizing instructions, using either the lemon juice or white vinegar in its place. Once you have allowed the solution to sit for 30 minutes, dip a sponge or cloth in the liquid and then into baking soda to remove the crusty food. Rinse well.

Odor: The cleaning and deodorizing method will remove most odors, however sometimes you have a real problem, like burned popcorn. Nothing smells worse. Try one of these methods to remove stubborn odors.

Put about a ½ cup of warm water into a dish and add 3 tablespoons of vanilla extract. Bring to a boil. Shut off the microwave and allow this to sit overnight without opening the door. The odor should be gone in the morning. Wipe out microwave with a damp cloth and you are done.

Stubborn burned-food odor: Sometimes you have to bring out the big guns, especially for really smelly burned food in the microwave. That’s when Odorzout comes in handy. It is a natural odor eliminator, safe for food prep areas. It will actually absorb the odor without covering it up.

Sit a plate with a thin layer of Odorzout on it in the microwave. Allow to sit overnight. For difficult odors, like burned fish or popcorn, you may need to repeat this several times. Toss the used Odorzout down the drain or disposal to deodorize it.

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