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At first this was an amusing, slightly challenging attempt to find a solution for those long-term, permanent microwave stains. Then it turned into a vendetta. Each new method had me approaching the microwave with narrowed eyes and determination to win. And finally, I have. You would not believe how much time I have dedicated to finding a solution to this problem. But like I’ve promised to you, my dear readers, I won’t share it unless it works! And I have succeeded. 

Normal cleaning of a microwave isn’t a problem. Wipe it down often, usually no problem. If dirtier, cook some vinegar and water about 2 minutes and then wipe down. But over the years stains build up. My goal this time around was to get those stains out.

So, I tested. I googled and tested some more. I finally found one method that works better than the others. But it required major scrubbing. I estimated it would take about 4 magic erasers and two hours. I want a clean microwave…but I don’t want it that bad.

So back to Google and then the grocery store. Finally, in desperation, I offered a $25 reward on Facebook to anyone who could provide a solution that met the following requirements:

  1. Takes less than 20 min. per side to clean. (Reason: Magic Eraser works to some extent, but I would probably have to spend 3 hrs. getting stains off.)
  2. It wasn’t one of the solutions I’d already tried.

Well….none of them worked. But at least I got my friends involved. And I found a cleaning item I hadn’t used before, but definitely will again.
For a full list of all 15 things I tried, see the very bottom.

Start pictures: like I said, years of deep stains…I clean it regularly now…but wasn’t always so diligent. These stains wouldn’t go away with normal cleaning!

Before picture. Slight damage is from the acetone I tried. (I do not recommend that).
Before picture. Slight damage is from the acetone I tried. (I do not recommend that).
Before picture of the back of the microwave.
Before picture of the back of the microwave.
Before picture. It looks slightly better. The Magic Eraser worked to some extent...but took 30 minutes to get it that clean.
Before picture. It looks slightly better. The Magic Eraser worked to some extent...but took 30 minutes to get it that clean.

Anyway, I know you’re breathless. What finally worked? OxiClean powder and Softscrub. Mix it in the microwave (it will bubble a little bit) and spread around well. The walls are little challenging, but do the best you can. Then let sit for 30 min. Finally, put some elbow grease into it, and then rinse out very well. It actually took two applications to get it (almost) completely clean.

What finally worked? OxiClean powder and Softscrub.
What finally worked? OxiClean powder and Softscrub.
Squeeze out Softscrub all over microwave. Sprinkle Oxiclean over it.
Squeeze out Softscrub all over microwave. Sprinkle Oxiclean over it.
Mix it in the microwave (it will bubble a little bit) and spread around well.
Mix it in the microwave (it will bubble a little bit) and spread around well.
The walls are little challenging, but do the best you can. Then let sit for 30 min.
The walls are little challenging, but do the best you can. Then let sit for 30 min.

And….the after picture!
Not 100% effective….
but wow!

Isn’t the difference amazing?

After picture! Can you believe it?

For your amusement, here is the entire list of items I tried, and their effect:

• Methods 1 & 2: Baking soda & water/ Lemon juice & water: Fill the bowl with hot water. Add either a few dashes of lemon juice or baking soda to the water. Place the bowl in the microwave and heat on high for five minutes. Remove the bowl and wipe down the interior with a clean cloth. This worked for normal, everyday grime.

• Method 3: Nail polish remover w/ acetone: damaged microwave

• Method 4: Vinegar…slight improvement for a lot of scrubbing

• Method 5: Bleach: no change

• Method 6: Toothpaste: no change, even though it works great on other stains (such as on counters!)

• Method 7: Magic eraser- only serious change. But it’s going to take a lot of scrubbing.

• Method 8: Softscrub and OxyClean.  Mix. Scrub on. Let sit hour. Scrub again. Worked better than other methods; did lighten stains. Not 100% removed…try a few other methods. If they don’t work, come back and do second round.

• Method 9: Non-acetone nail polish remover: very slight change.

• Method 10: Soft scrub and bleach. Mixed together in small container. Poured, dabbed over area. Let sit 30 min. No improvement.

• Method 11: Hydrogen peroxide: no change

• Method 12: Clorox Bleach Stain Remover for Whites: no change

• Method 13: Clorox bleach pen for whites: no change

• Method 14: 16oz. water, 4 Tbsp. castile soap, 20 drops tea tree oil. No change…but had a good pleasant scent compared to other cleaners. I’m going to have to use it on other stuff.

• Method 15: Peppermint oil & water: no change