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Should I Unplug The Microwave When Cleaning? (Read This First)

Last Updated on November 23rd, 2022 - By Steve

The microwave is one appliance that always comes in contact with food. And no matter how careful you are, there will always be crumbs or stains.

Furthermore, we know that the longer you leave these stains unchecked, the harder it will be to clean up later. Therefore, most people tend to clean their microwaves as often as possible.

And sometimes wonder if it is necessary to unplug the machine before cleaning. Or if it is enough to turn it off.

It is a safety rule to unplug any electrical appliance before you clean it, and the microwave is no exception. The reason is so you do not unknowingly turn on the machine while cleaning. Given that you are cleaning with water or any other liquid, you would be exposing yourself to a hazard if you do not follow this rule.

This article will discuss in detail the reason why you should unplug your microwave before cleaning.

Additionally, we will consider the easiest and best ways to keep your microwave clean.

Should I Unplug My Microwave Before Cleaning It?

It would be best if you unplug your microwave before cleaning it.

Below are three reasons why.

Avoid Turning it On

You may be confident that you have turned off the microwave, so you do not need to worry about any electrical accidents.

But while cleaning, you may accidentally flip the switch on the microwave’s body, allowing current to flow through.

On the other hand, when you unplug the microwave, you are sure that you are not in danger of an electrical accident, even when you mistakenly turn it on while cleaning.

Reduces the Risk of Electrocution

If your microwave is still plugged in a while cleaning, you risk experiencing electric shocks.

You are more likely to experience this risk if your microwave is old. This is because some parts of the appliances may have chipped over time and now carry electric current.

When you clean with water, you expose yourself to electrocution since water conducts electricity.

Switching it off does not stop the flow of electricity, especially if there is a fault in the internal wiring.

Therefore, it is best to always unplug the microwave before cleaning it to be safe.

Prevents the Microwave from Short-Circuiting

Short-circuiting occurs when electricity flows through a shorter, unintended pathway.

There are several reasons for short circuits. But one of the most common is when water or fluid touches the internal wiring.

 And water can come in contact with the wiring during cleaning, even if it is by accident. Another possible cause of short-circuiting is faulty outlets. 

This is another reason you should endeavor to unplug your microwave while cleaning, as the only warning you get might be an electric shock.

Short-circuiting is dangerous because it can damage your machine, cause electric shocks, or in sporadic cases, start a fire.

Does Unplugging a Microwave Ruin It?

Unplugging your microwave is not going to ruin it and does not have any adverse effect on it in any way. On the contrary, it is usually a smart thing to do.

The only downside to unplugging your microwave is this action is an automatic reset mechanism – which means that every time you unplug it, the time will reset.

This reset might get annoying, especially if the microwave time is what you rely on in the kitchen.

What Is the Easiest Way to Clean Out a Microwave?

Maintaining a clean microwave is easy to carry out when you follow these steps.

Remove Crumbs

This first step is not for crumbs alone; it also works for minor spills. You will need a clean cloth or paper towel to wipe out any crumbs or spills.

This step is elementary, and doing this after every microwave use reduces the need for intensive cleaning afterward unless there is a big mess.

Remove and Clean Detachable Parts

Most modern microwaves come with a detachable turntable or tray, which holds the food you are heating. Most times, it is this tray that catches the spills and stains.

Therefore, after using the microwave, remove the tray and wash it gently with warm water, dish soap, and a dishrag or sponge.

Try to avoid scrubbing too hard at the tray. If the stains are hard to clean off, soak the tray in warm water before scrubbing with the sponge.

After washing, rinse off all soap suds and dry the tray with a clean cloth. Finally, replace it in the microwave.

Some trays are easy to detach, while others may be complex. For this reason, always follow the manufacturer’s manual to detach the tray.

Clean the Microwave Interior Walls

This step is the most complex of the task. You will need a clean cloth and a cleaning solution.

This cloth should be soft, and you must not use sharp objects to remove stubborn food materials.

The process is simple: use the cloth to wipe down the walls, ceiling, and floor of the microwave. It is best if you remove the tray while performing this task.

Stick to the accessible parts of the microwave, and do not try to clean the vents, so you do not tamper with the internal circuitry.

You can use different methods to clean your microwave. E.g.,

Dish Soap and Water 

Mix this solution in a microwave-safe container and put it in the microwave. Allow it to heat for 60 seconds at a high temperature to create steam.

Next, remove the bowl and wipe it down with your cleaning material. This method works well on stubborn stains and crumbs.

Baking Powder and Water Paste

You can rub this paste all over the walls or on specific spots with hardened particles. Let the paste sit for about five minutes, and wipe it down with a damp, clean material.

Vinegar and Water

You can use this solution like a dish soap solution. Alternatively, you could pour the mix into a spray bottle and use it directly with your cleaning rag.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is a fantastic cleaning agent. This method requires you to cut the fruit in half and turn the cut side on a microwave-safe plate with a few tablespoons of water.

Next, let it heat up for at least 60 seconds to generate steam. Then, remove the plate and use your cleaning rag to wipe down the microwave.

One advantage of this method is it leaves your appliance smelling wonderful.

Commercial Microwave Cleaners

Alternatively, you could buy microwave cleaners. These products are usually efficient for stubborn particles and do not affect your food in any way.

Below is a summary of cleaning a microwave and what each step requires. 

Cleaning StepStep Requirement
Clean spills and remove crumbsClean cloth or paper towel
Clean detachable traySoft sponge, dish soap, and warm water
Clean the interior wallsCleaning solution and cleaning cloth/rag

Should I Unplug a Microwave When Not in Use?

While there is no rule, you can unplug your microwave when it is not in use. This practice is one of the ways to keep your microwave safe.

 As we already explained above, one downside is the reset mechanism that kicks in.

However, there are specific times when it is best to unplug your microwave when you are not using it:

  • If you live in areas prone to power surges.
  • If you are traveling.

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