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How to Clean a Microwave Oven

By: Institutional Cleaning | September 15, 2023 | Reading time: 5 minutes

You need to know how to clean a microwave if you're an employer or industry professional who deals primarily with the general public in settings where food is prepared. This means our advice is mainly aimed at those in the catering trade.

However, learning the basics of how to clean microwave dirt and bacteria is important for any industry where there's food. This brings care homes, hospitals, and offices into the mix. Essentially, if you're an employer or cleaning professional working in a place where microwaves are used, this guide is for you.  

Recommended microwave cleaning products

Before we explain why and how to clean commercial microwaves, here are some of the professional-grade products we recommend in a business or healthcare setting:

These products can be used in combination with a comprehensive commercial microwave cleaning routine to ensure maximum protection against bacterial threats.

A step-by-step guide to cleaning a microwave

Microwaves are, by their very nature, sanitary products. As microwaves penetrate food, water molecules start to vibrate, and this causes them to heat up. This process not only cooks the food but kills any potentially harmful bacteria.

Although microwaves kill bacteria in food, once the internal temperature reaches a certain point, the same can't be said of the device itself. Areas of the microwave can be breeding grounds for bacteria. These microbial hotspots can be home to bacterial diseases such as salmonella and E.coli.

The danger of transmitting bacterial diseases such as salmonella is the main reason you need to know how to clean a microwave. The steps below show you how to clean microwave dirt and bacteria using professional cleaning products. As someone dealing with food, in any public setting, following the steps below is paramount. 

Step 1: Select the right products

A professional microwave cleaning routine starts with the right products. The cleaners and disinfectants we've already listed are among the best products for cleaning commercial microwaves.

Specifically, you can use Suma Bac D10, which is a concentrated cleaner and disinfectant that can be used to disinfect all surfaces where food is prepared. Alternative products you can use are Oxivir Plus. This all-in-one cleaner and disinfectant uses patented Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide (AHP) technology to clean and descale surfaces.

You may also want to try Sure Cleaner & Disinfectant. This product allows you to clean and disinfect water-resistant surfaces. Its plant-based ingredients make it 100% biodegradable and it doesn't have a fragrance, which makes it ideal for food preparation surfaces.

Finally, you can make use of Diversey kitchen cleaning tools, such as scourers and cloths. As well as choosing the right products, make sure that the area you're working in is well-ventilated and that gloves are worn at all times. Additionally, make sure the area is safe to work in and food preparation isn't taking place close to where you're cleaning.  With dry hands, switch OFF the mains before cleaning.

Step 2: Remove loose debris

Once you've got the right product, start the cleaning process by removing any loose debris from the microwave, such as crumbs.

Step 3: Remove any detachable items

The third step in how to clean a microwave involves removing all detachable items. This primarily means the rotating tray. The tray can be cleaned separately in dishwater or with hot soapy water.

Step 4, optional if heavily soiled: remove any stubborn debris

You need to remove stubborn debris before you attempt to disinfect a surface. Caked-on debris can be a breeding ground for bacteria, so you need to loosen and remove this before using a cleaner and disinfectant such as Suma Bac D10.

To remove caked-on debris, put a cup of cold water into the microwave (you may need to temporarily replace the turntable for this step). Microwave the cup of water for approximately three minutes. The water should boil to create steam that loosens debris. Leave the door closed for up to 15 minutes so the moisture can break down the debris.

Open the door to your microwave after approximately 15 minutes and remove the turntable (if you replaced it during Step 4). 

Wipe all surfaces, including the door, with a clean dry cloth to remove the now-loosened debris.

You may be left with a certain amount of residue or grime after the initial wipe-down. In these situations, use a second cloth to remove any excess residue or grease so that the walls of the microwave are completely clean.

*You can also add lemon juice and/or two tablespoons of white vinegar to the water. These ingredients aren't essential, but they can help to leave a more pleasant scent in the microwave.

Step 5: Clean with a cleaner & disinfectant

Once you've cleaned the microwave of any debris, it's time to use a professional-grade disinfectant. Suma Bac D10 is an ideal solution for cleaning and disinfecting microwaves. As mentioned, you may also want to try Oxivir Plus or Sure Cleaner & Disinfectant. However, for the purposes of this guide, we'll focus on Suma Bac D10.

Wipe all areas of the microwave with Suma Bac D10 sprayed onto a cloth. Leave for 30 seconds and wipe off.

Rinse with a clean damp cloth or paper towel and allow to air dry.

For the exterior, you may spray Suma Bac D10 onto a cloth, wipe over, leave for 5 mins, and then wipe off and buff dry with a paper towel. 

Step 6: Disinfect the microwave

Once you've cleaned the microwave of any debris, it's time to use a professional-grade Disinfectant. Suma Bac D10 is an ideal solution for cleaning and disinfecting microwaves. As mentioned, you may also want to try Oxivir Plus or Sure Cleaner & Disinfectant. However, for the purposes of this guide, we'll focus on Suma Bac D10.

Step 7: Leave the microwave

Give the microwave time to dry completely before using it. Although the professional cleaning products we have mentioned here are safe to use in kitchen environments, some products can leave behind a slight odour. Waiting for at least a few minutes after cleaning will allow any lingering odours to dissipate, leaving you free to use your microwave safely.

How to clean a microwave as a professional

It's generally advised that domestic microwaves should be cleaned once a week. However, this advice is dependent on the frequency of use. In a commercial setting, where microwaves are used dozens of times per day, a regular cleaning routine is paramount.

As a professional, you should aim to follow the above advice on how to clean microwave dirt and grim at least three times per week. If possible and necessary, you should clean a commercial microwave every day. Doing this with the right products, such as the Diversey Kitchen Care range, will ensure your microwave stays clean, hygienic, and in good working order, no matter what you throw at it.


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