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  #1  
Old 09-17-2011, 01:24 AM
BACI BACI is offline
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Cleaning the stainless steel interior of a microwave...

I have a microwave/convection oven with a stainless steel interior. Over time, baked-on residue has built up and I'm keen to clean it off. I have tried using normal kitchen spray cleaners but they don't remove persistent parts of the residue.

I have some oven cleaner in a spray can, which I have used on the enamel interior of my main oven, but the instructions on the can advise me that it is unsuitable for use on stainless steel surfaces.

So, I can't use oven cleaner, normal cleaners are ineffective, and an abrasive cleaner will damage the finish - can anyone advise me on what will work?
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  #2  
Old 09-17-2011, 02:14 AM
Jaledin Jaledin is offline
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Clean it like a man! Vingegar, a lot of scrubbing is what I'd do.
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  #3  
Old 09-17-2011, 02:15 AM
Pantani Pantani is offline
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Put a cup or bowl of water in the microwave. Heat it until in boils for 30 seconds or so. The steam will then have made all the dried on gunk non dried on and a breeze to wipe off.
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Old 09-17-2011, 08:55 AM
Chefguy Chefguy is online now
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Use either Bon Ami or Bartender's Friend cleansers, using only a wet sponge. Do NOT use a scrub pad, such as the kind that comes on the back of some sponges. These products will not scratch your surfaces as long as you don't scour them.
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  #5  
Old 09-17-2011, 09:52 AM
ftg ftg is offline
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Second Bartender's Friend.

And do not use any spray cleaners of any type. The mist from the spray can get into the microwave horn and reduce its effectiveness (and over time kill it).

The number one reason for slow microwave failure is stuff wafting into the horn. (Fast microwave failure is usually caused by nuking something you shouldn't, like metal.)

This is why the manual says you need to cover things.

No doubt the buildup on the walls is because you didn't read the manual. That buildup is also a sign you are killing your microwave.

Last edited by ftg; 09-17-2011 at 09:52 AM..
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  #6  
Old 09-17-2011, 10:24 AM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pantani View Post
Put a cup or bowl of water in the microwave. Heat it until in boils for 30 seconds or so. The steam will then have made all the dried on gunk non dried on and a breeze to wipe off.
I'd put a couple of teaspoons of baking soda in the water. You'll need to wipe down the interior surface of the microwave oven to remove the baking soda, but it will help to deodorize it.
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  #7  
Old 09-17-2011, 11:33 AM
Colophon Colophon is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewey Finn View Post
I'd put a couple of teaspoons of baking soda in the water. You'll need to wipe down the interior surface of the microwave oven to remove the baking soda, but it will help to deodorize it.
I've heard this before and I'm sceptical that the baking soda will evaporate to any significant degree to get onto the oven surfaces.
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  #8  
Old 09-17-2011, 11:41 AM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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I don't know if it evaporates, but it does cover the inside of my microwave oven. It also leaves a neutral odor.
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  #9  
Old 09-17-2011, 11:52 AM
gotpasswords gotpasswords is offline
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If the inside is stainless steel, what finish is there to worry about?
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  #10  
Old 09-17-2011, 12:40 PM
Chefguy Chefguy is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gotpasswords View Post
If the inside is stainless steel, what finish is there to worry about?
Stainless steel will scratch if you use an abrasive cleaner. This could cause a change in the heating dynamics of something like a microwave, I would think.
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  #11  
Old 09-17-2011, 05:33 PM
Postariti Postariti is offline
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Another vote for boiling water. I always put lemon juice in it, and zap it for 2 or 3 minutes. You'll be amazed how soft the crusted on stains become.

If by any chance you make "baked" potatoes in your microwave, right after they're done is also a great time to wipe out the microwave. All the steam from the potatoes softens the stains.

Last edited by Postariti; 09-17-2011 at 05:34 PM..
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  #12  
Old 09-17-2011, 10:44 PM
RearEchelon RearEchelon is offline
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Originally Posted by Colophon View Post
I've heard this before and I'm sceptical that the baking soda will evaporate to any significant degree to get onto the oven surfaces.
I can verify that boiling water that's been mixed with baking soda will leave a fine white layer deposited over everything that the steam touched. I clean my silver by boiling it in a pot of water and baking soda with some aluminum foil and every time I do this it powdercoats my cooktop if I don't cover the pot.
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Old 09-17-2011, 11:49 PM
Triskadecamus Triskadecamus is offline
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I stick a sponge soaked in highly dilute dish soap, or plain water, nuke it for thirty or forty seconds, and then let it sit without opening for a bit. (Use a fairly newish sponge.) Once it is cool enough to use, run it around the surfaces inside once, rinse and wring dry, and go again. Rather than scrub hard, do it again.

Tris
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  #14  
Old 09-19-2011, 12:56 AM
BACI BACI is offline
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OP coming back after trying most of these!

Vinegar - didn't trouble the baked on goodness at all. Baking soda and water steam - maybe a 5% difference. Lemon in water - Nil. Lemon and baking soda directly on the surface - not much. Bartenders Friend not available where I am (Australia)

However... baking soda poured on the surface fizzed and bubbled when vinegar was added. The combination was much more effective, but still not nearly as effective as oven cleaner would be.

I'm assuming the instruction not to use oven cleaner is based on the misting cleaner damaging the sensitive microwave thingy in the machine? Does anyone have a view whether I could perhaps apply the oven cleaner with a cloth (thereby not having any flying about inside the machine) and whether that might be broadly considered OK? I just used some oven cleaner on the enamel plate that revolves inside the machine and it came up a treat with no effort at all.

There's no loose crud, just baked on splatters.

Thanks for your contributions so far.
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  #15  
Old 09-19-2011, 04:49 AM
Colophon Colophon is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BACI View Post
I'm assuming the instruction not to use oven cleaner is based on the misting cleaner damaging the sensitive microwave thingy in the machine? Does anyone have a view whether I could perhaps apply the oven cleaner with a cloth (thereby not having any flying about inside the machine) and whether that might be broadly considered OK? I just used some oven cleaner on the enamel plate that revolves inside the machine and it came up a treat with no effort at all.
I would be wary of doing that. Oven cleaner is designed for use on the interiors of conventional ovens, which are usually enamelled. Stainless steel is more prone to damage (etching, discoloration etc) from harsh cleaners.

I'd try using a non-abrasive kitchen spray cleaner such as Cif (the liquid spray, not the cream) after softening the crud with some steam. As you suggested, spray it on a cloth rather than directly into the oven.

In fact I have to clean my microwave today, so I'll give that a try and report back...

Last edited by Colophon; 09-19-2011 at 04:50 AM..
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  #16  
Old 09-19-2011, 07:19 AM
Khendrask Khendrask is offline
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Bar Keepers Friend also has a version made expressly for cookware, and between that and plain vinegar, all my stainless cookware still looks like new.
http://www.amazon.com/Bar-Keepers-Fr...6434649&sr=8-2
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  #17  
Old 09-19-2011, 07:28 AM
tim-n-va tim-n-va is online now
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I also vote for the boiling water with one slight alteration. I put the cup of water in, let it boil for a minute or so and then turn the microwave off but don't open the door for about five minutes.
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  #18  
Old 09-19-2011, 07:38 AM
Baracus Baracus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BACI View Post
I'm assuming the instruction not to use oven cleaner is based on the misting cleaner damaging the sensitive microwave thingy in the machine?
If the oven cleaner can says not to use it on ANY stainless steel surface, I would assume that it is not compatible with stainless steel regardless of whether you can avoid getting it on any sensitive microwave thingies.
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  #19  
Old 09-19-2011, 09:47 AM
Philster Philster is offline
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Stainless steel is happiest when you clean it immediately or not at all. Everything in-between in a compromise.

Use it and clean it.
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  #20  
Old 09-19-2011, 09:53 AM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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You should be able to clean it with a nylon scrub sponge, and possibly using a flat piece of plastic (like an old credit card) to remove the more stubborn cruddy bits. If that doesn't work, I'd be surprised.
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  #21  
Old 09-19-2011, 10:13 AM
Colophon Colophon is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewey Finn View Post
You should be able to clean it with a nylon scrub sponge, and possibly using a flat piece of plastic (like an old credit card) to remove the more stubborn cruddy bits. If that doesn't work, I'd be surprised.
I'd be wary of those nylon scourers on stainless steel. Depending on the finish, it's easy to scratch steel with those things. (I know - I figured "They're plastic, they won't scratch metal" and spoilt the finish of things in the kitchen in the past..."

BTW I cleaned my microwave this morning and it worked fine with steam followed by Cif spray on a sponge.

Last edited by Colophon; 09-19-2011 at 10:14 AM..
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  #22  
Old 09-19-2011, 10:15 AM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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I use the nylon scrub sponges that are labeled for use on non-stick surfaces. If they won't damage my teflon pan, surely they won't damage a stainless steel surface.
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  #23  
Old 09-19-2011, 02:46 PM
gotpasswords gotpasswords is offline
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I'm still convinced that marketing stainless steel for consumer appliances has got to be one of the biggest scams ever perpetuated by an industry. If it's inside an oven, it has to be babied or the poor darling will get scratched. If it's on the outside, it has to be babied and annointed with the special anti smudge and fingerprint lotions or it will be all blotchy and ugly.

Good old baked enamel, however, while out of style, could take all sorts of abuse and neglect. Caustic oven cleaner and a scrubber? A quick spritz with Windex to get the dog's nose prints off the door? No problem.
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  #24  
Old 09-19-2011, 03:02 PM
perfectparanoia perfectparanoia is offline
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If my stainless steel sink is any evidence, use ceramic stovetop cleaner. While it is a mild abrasive, I find that it is just abrasive enough to get in the tiny crevices that stainless steel has. This will also require elbow grease but it will be sparkly clean!
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