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How to Clean Your Microwave With a Lemon

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Learning how to clean a microwave with a lemon might sound like a weird idea at first. But after you actually try it, you might be pretty impressed with the results — not to mention the lovely citrus scent left behind.

According to The Kitchn, you only need three things for this cleaning hack: one lemon, a microwave-safe bowl, and a clean, dry rag. Once you have all those things together, you measure 1/2 cup of water in the bowl. Next, you slice your lemon in half and squeeze the lemon juice into that same bowl. Then, lightly place those lemon halves into the bowl along with the juice-water mixture. Carefully put the bowl in the microwave and nuke it for three minutes or until the mixture comes to a boil. Do not open the door right away; let the bowl sit in the microwave for five minutes. The steam you see is key to the magic of the hack — it will make those infamous icky stains in a microwave so much easier to remove.

After at least five minutes have passed, open the door and take out the bowl (you might want to use mitts or at least folded-up paper towels to protect your hands from the heat). Remove the turntable if your microwave has one, and then, it’s time to go to town with your cleaning rag. Wipe the turntable and the entire interior of the microwave, including the door. If you happen to come across any stains that are a little difficult to get rid of, you can dip the cleaning rag into the bowl of the mixture you used earlier to make your job a little bit easier. That’s pretty much it!

It’s worth mentioning that even though this cleaning trick isn’t new, different variations of it have emerged over the years. For example, Tablespoon recommends filling the microwave-safe bowl with 1 1/4 cups of water instead of 1/2 cup, and then microwaving this slightly-modified version of the mixture for up to 10 minutes before wiping the microwave down. Depending on the strength of your microwave and how much water you end up putting in your bowl, you might find that you need to tweak the process a bit to suit your specific needs. It never hurts to experiment!

P.S. According to Compact Appliance, the lemon left behind can still come in handy even after you’re done cleaning your microwave: Cutting it into small slices will yield a delightful natural deodorizer for your garbage disposal. Who would’ve guessed?

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