Did you know that the first microwave oven was 6 feet tall and cost around $5,000? Fortunately this pivotal piece of kitchen equipment is now available in a more convenient size and cost. It is such a handy amenity that most microwaves take more turns than Australia’s road system. In the interests of hygiene and a pleasant kitchen aroma, it’s therefore important to know how to keep your microwave sparkling clean.
Simple Methods To Clean Your Microwave
Cleaning your microwave is actually quite simple. All you need is a cup of water, a lemon and some paper towels. Or maybe a cup of water, some vinegar and some paper towels. Baking soda and dish soap are also often recommended… Then of course there’s commercial cleaning products, specifically designed to clear away the grease. And don’t forget to rinse… Suddenly things are murkier than your microwave after a spaghetti explosion! Take a breath, step back and look at the options.
Option 1- A Lemon that isn’t a dud
This is one of the simplest and best options for cleaning a microwave. Fill a microwave proof cup with water. Squeeze some juice from half a lemon into the water. Then pop the water and both halves of lemon (cut side down) into the microwave. Turn the microwave on high for a minute or two, so that it steams. Leave the door closed for 5 minutes so that the steam can do its work. This will make your microwave easy to wipe down. As an added bonus it creates a fresh scent for your kitchen.
You could turn up the juice by adding in or alternating with a lime or orange slices.
Option 2- Bubble and Brew with Baking Soda, Dish Soap or Vinegar (white or apple cider).
If fruit isn’t cutting it for you, use a few tablespoons of dish soap or vinegar to add to that cup of water instead. Heat up the cup on high for a couple of minutes so that it steams up the microwave. After 5 minutes you should be able to easily wipe down the microwave with some paper towels.
Tip: Adding baking soda to the mix helps to remove any unpleasant smells.
Option 3- Nothing but Wet Paper Towels
Usually you want to avoid wetting paper towels and leaving them sitting around. However, when it comes to cleaning your microwave they may be your cup of tea. Simply wet a bunch of paper towels and put them in your microwave. Microwave them for up to 5 minutes so that everything is steamy. Leave the doors closed while the steam does its work and the towels cool down. The steam will loosen the grime and you can then use the cooled towels to wipe everything clean.
Cleaning the Exterior of Your Microwave
A sparkling clean interior is great, but a clean exterior completes the show.
Option 1- Back to the Baking Soda and Vinegar.
Use a damp sponge dipped in baking soda to wipe clean the rubber connectors on the door. A damp cloth can be used to give it a final rinse. If the window is greasy then mix in half a cup of vinegar with half of cup of water to remove the grease.
Of course if things are really icky you may opt to use a commercial grease-cutter to bring back the shine.
Option 2- Dish Soap and Water
Once again a sudsy mix of water and dish soap may do the trick for a shiny exterior clean. Just mix and scrub, then rinse.
Alternatively you can use an all purpose cleaner. Just don’t spray it directly on the microwave as you don’t want to get cleaner into the vent holes. Either way, rinse off with a clean sponge and then dry.
For Those Stubborn Spots
Option 1- Baking Soda Is Magic
Create a paste of ⅔ baking soda and ⅓ water. This paste should be spread over any hard and stubborn spots and left to sit for around 5 minutes. Once the paste has done its job you can wipe it and the mess up with a wet cloth or sponge. Use a paper towel to dry it up and eliminate any residual bits and pieces.
Option 2- Water and Vinegar (and more baking soda) Helps the Elbow Grease
If your whole microwave needs a deeper clean then try this option. Dissolve 4 tablespoons of baking soda into warm water. Dip your sponge or cloth into the water and wipe this all over the interior of the microwave. Once you’ve done this, combine an equal amount of water and white vinegar in a bowl (make sure it’s microwave safe!). Put the bowl with the mixture into the microwave and let it spin on high power for three minutes, until the water is boiling. Once again steam is our hero here. Leave the door closed for 10 minutes while the steam does its thing. Remove the removable components and soak them in hot, soapy water while you wipe down the interior of the microwave with the water and vinegar mix. If there is still baking soda residue then wipe it down again. Repeat until the entire microwave is fresh and clear.
Option 3- Soak a Cloth in Olive Oil
For an alternative food friendly scrub, try soaking a cloth in olive oil. Apply some elbow grease and wipe, wipe, wipe. Don’t forget to rinse the oil off once the stubborn spots are removed.
Option 4- Scrub Away
If your stubborn spots need more work there are more options. Depending on your microwave (read the manual people!), you should be able to remove pieces like the turntable to give them a good scrub in the sink, or even in the dishwasher. For the non removable pieces you may need to turn to a commercial and some extra elbow grease.
While commercial cleansers are an option, and will usually do the job, you need to take precautions to avoid residue. If you leave any product behind it can get into your food or create an unpleasant smell. Don’t use pre-soaked scrubbing pads as loose particles can create a hazard. As with any wash option, rinse afterwards. You may just have to take extra care with ensuring there is a good rinse when chemicals are employed.
Option 5- Windows Are Clear, Try Some Diluted Window Cleaner
An alternative commercial product option is to use some diluted window cleaner. Using a solution of ⅔ window cleaner and ⅓ water, you can sponge both the interior and exterior of the microwave. Don’t forget to the clean the roof of the microwave, where food splatters often stick. Once everything is glistening use a fresh rag to wash it over again. Since you’re using chemicals to clean the microwave it is important that you rinse until there is no more residue. Keep rinsing until you can’t smell any of the window cleaner.
Option 6- Hire a Professional Cleaner
Of course, sometimes scrubbing away at those stubborn stains just isn’t appealing. That’s where you may want to book in a professional cleaner to help. They can clean your microwave as part of a regular or once off cleaning job.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
Keep the job of cleaning your microwave easy by actively preventing those disasters. This means regular wiping every couple of days. The more often you use your microwave the more often you should give it a wipe down. This also means giving it an immediate wipe down when there has been an eruption. If you leave the splatter sitting around then it can start to bake on and make the cleaning work even harder.
To take prevention a step further think the cleaning through while you’re cooking. Always covering your food helps prevent these splatters from happening.
When you’re washing down your microwave make sure you unplug the power cord. This will protect you from any electrical danger. It also serves as a good opportunity to check the power cord for any damage or build up of dirt. Damaged cords can be a fire hazard, and accumulated dirt can cause damage.
Use Your Microwave to Rejuvenate Your Sponges
While we’ve been talking about cleaning your microwave, it is possible to use your microwave to keep something else clean. Throw your sponges into the microwave for a couple of minutes to kill off bacteria and extend their usable life!
While this article may help you clean off some chocolate splatter in your microwave, did you know there is one other connection between microwaves and chocolate? Dr Percy Spencer, the engineer who invented the microwave, accidentally melted a chocolate bar in his pocket while building radar sets. This led him to patent microwave ovens. Now next time you eat a chocolate bar I’ll bet you think about cleaning your microwave. Take the opportunity to get into those good cleaning habits and don’t delay!
Whether you’re looking for a Perth cleaner to clean your home or your office, finding the right cleaner can be a daunting task. After all, this is your space that you are asking someone to come into. Space that sends a message about how you are and the image you want to represent. Your cleaner will be airing out your dirty laundry (although only figuratively unless you pay extra for them to do a load of washing as well). You need to feel comfortable with them, and be able to trust and rely on them. Here’s ten tips to ensure you make the right choice
1- Plan ahead.
Most cleaning companies are booked well in advance for both one off and regular clients. Not only will it be hard to find a company who can complete a rush job, you won’t give yourself enough time to do the required research if you wait until you really need the cleaning job to be completed.
2- Ask for Recommendations.
There are plenty of places to ask for recommendations. While personal friends and business associates can be the most useful source of recommendations, you can also ask in local groups and online community pages.
3- Do online research.
Find out if the company has positive or negative reviews. While one or two bad reviews may be explainable, a barrage of negative reviews is a pretty big red flag. Even checking the company’s website can tell you a lot about them. While a badly done website may not be an accurate reflect of the company’s quality of work, a well done website does usually reflect a commitment to professionalism.
4- Hire a cleaning company who is properly registered and insured
In Australia all businesses must have an ABN. If you can’t find this on their website, ask for it. This ensures they are registered as a business with the ATO. If they are specialised, make sure they have any necessary registrations and permits.
Since even the most highly trained and experienced cleaner can encounter unexpected problems, it is important that your cleaner has full and comprehensive insurance. While an uninsured cleaner may do a good job, it will be a disaster if things go awry.
5- Ensure they are the experts that you need.
Cleaning, whether residential, commercial, or industrial, can vary greatly in what is included. Each cleaner will have their own specialisations and different types of experience. Make sure the cleaner you are looking at is willing and able to clean all the items and areas that you want cleaned. Many cleaners won’t clean the external areas of your property for example, as this often requires additional specialised knowledge and equipment. Don’t expect a “cleaning firm” to be able to cover all bases. This may mean you need to be prepared to hire a specialised window cleaner and a gardener as well as an office cleaner.
6- Be prepared to pay for quality.
While a business looking for an office cleaner will typically have a better understanding of this point, it is common for families looking for a residential cleaner to undervalue the cleaning service. Since cleaning is an industry that can be tempting to get into as cash on the side jobs or helping out friends, it is vulnerable to offerings from less experience, poorly trained, or inadequately insured workers. If you want professional quality work, you should be prepared to pay for professional quality work.
If you need to understand this point more, consider that the minimum wage for a cleaner is $20.21, plus superannuation. A good rule of thumb is that for every chargeable hour worked an employee actually costs a company roughly one and a half to double their base hourly wage. This is especially true if the company is paying their staff ethically and investing in ongoing training- two factors you want in a good cleaner. Keep in mind that the income a cleaning company generates has to cover all of their employee’s work hours, not just their billable hours. This includes their leave time, training, travel time and administrative tasks. On top of that a company has penalty rates, allowances, insurance, education, equipment, materials, and other overheads to cover. Be suspicious of any cleaning company that doesn’t charge enough to cover employee costs, insurance, training, and cleaning supplies. If the rate seems too low then ask for an explanation. It may mean you are hiring a sole trader, or it may mean you are hiring a company who doesn’t ensure their staff are adequately trained and insured.
After all, remember that you are asking other people to clean your toilets….
7- Ensure you can align your expectations.
To ensure they can cover their costs different companies will have different policies on minimum charges, where they are able to travel to, and the level of work they will do. You may only want a 15 minute clean, but find that cleaning companies have a two hour minimum charge. Conversely you may be wanting a deep clean, only to find you’ve hired a company that only does general cleaning. Know what you want and ensure that the company you choose can work with the same expectations.
When it comes to cleaners one of the key points that need to be aligned is who is responsible for supplying the cleaning materials and equipment. Imagine the fuss if you hire a cleaner with the expectation that they provide their own cleaning materials, only for them to show up expecting you to provide them. Some cleaners prefer to use their client’s supplies so that they can ensure they are working with cleaning products that the client likes to use. Other cleaners prefer to work with their own products so that they can ensure they are working with cleaning products that they know and trust. Just make sure you are both on the same page before they show up to clean.
8- Make sure the cleaning firm is good with communication.
Sometimes things happen that are outside our control. This can mean that even the most organised and reliable cleaning company will have to reschedule. You do not want to be stuck with a cleaner who leaves you in the lurch without a word. Nor do you want one who just shows up two weeks later with a lame apology (and yes this has actually been known to happen). Clear, proactive, communication is an essential for any quality cleaning company. This will ensure you aren’t left frustrated, or wondering if they will ever show up.
9- Check That They Service Your Area
Perth is a large region. Most Perth cleaning companies will not clean every single location around Perth. A Balga cleaning company, for example, is more likely to service the North Perth suburbs than the south Perth suburbs. Since companies must pay their staff travel time, it is also possible that a cleaning firm will ask to charge a travel fee if you want them to clean outside their immediate service area. While this is an option you may want to take if you are set on a particular cleaning company, it may be an additional charge that you want to avoid.
10– Ask the right questions.
Utilise the above tips to ensure you have a clear, direct line of questioning.
Other than asking if they are reliable, trustworthy, and good with communication, you want to ensure that the cleaning company:
Ensures they have properly trained staff
Typically uses the same cleaner for your property every time
Is adequately insured
Services your area. Perth is a large expanse. Most cleaning companies will only service selected Perth suburbs.
Has comparable rates for their inclusions (for example do they provide their own cleaning equipment and materials or are you expected to supply these).
Are people that you personally feel comfortable working with
Make sure you know what you need and what it is you want, so that you ask the right questions.
Is cleaning your home something that you thrive on or just another thing that overwhelms your day? If you’re in the latter category, follow these six tips to help take back some control.
1- One thing at a time
The bigger the task, the more insurmountable it can feel. If you’re even half as easily overwhelmed as I am then thinking about all the things that need to be cleaned and feeling like you have to get it all done at once just makes it too hard. It reaches that point that there is so much to do it’s hard to even know where to start. If you are plagued by this barrier to cleaning then stop looking at the big picture and break it down. Focus on one thing at a time and just do that.
You can create small habits that help. For example anytime you get up, get into the habit of looking for something that you can pick up and put it away.
You can also apply it to larger cleaning challenges by picking a small area and decide to just clean that spot. Once that’s done, move to the next spot. Don’t make plans beyond the spot you choose, just keep moving on to the next spot when and as you are ready to.
Give yourself easy to achieve rules that you can confidently achieve each day, whether it’s ensuring you do one load of washing, one pile of dishes, or vacuuming one room. As you build up your routines and confidence that you can get these things done, you can start to increase your load.
2- Beware of the gimmicks
Whether it’s a viral mantra, the latest gadget or the the trendiest hack, gimmicks aren’t always all they seem. Something that works really well for one person can just add to your own junk pile and make things even more overwhelming. Make sure you really understand a product, service, or personal checklist before you jump into it. There’s nothing worse than being discouraged because you feel like the promoted solution to your cleaning woes was just something else you failed in.
Life is about choices. While it can be tempting to just avoid cleaning altogether, it’s not really practical, or hygenic to do so.
Create a list of things that need to be done and put them in order of importance. Ensure you have a list of what is important on a daily basis (such as having clean dishes to eat from and clean underwear to wear) and what is important over longer periods (such as reorganising a storage closet that you’ve hidden all the textbooks that you need for next year in).
When you prioritise you give yourself the freedom to work through the less urgent tasks at a slower pace. This can help reduce the stress of feeling like everything needs to be done at once.
4- Get the right supplies
Having the wrong tools for the job not only makes the job more difficult, it can make it impossible. Having the right storage solutions is just as important as having the right cleaning products and supplies. Ensure your cleaning tools are easily accessible and you know when you need to replace them.
5- Know that it’s ok to get help
Sometimes it takes more than we can manage on our own. It’s ok to accept that. Don’t let some sense of pride that you should be able to do it all yourself, hold you back from recognising when and where you need some help. Sometimes it’s just a matter of getting a hand to get back on top of things. Other times getting external help to stay on top of the regular cleaning is needed so that you can focus on your own strengths and priorities.
6- Find the Cleaning Style that works for you
There is a lot of information available to us on the internet, and lots of different options presented when you talk to professionals. Different suggestions for how to organise, how to clean, checklists to use, and a wide range of products and materials. Be a sponge and soak in the information, then squeeze it out so that you are only retaining what works for you.
It can take time to find your cleaning groove, and to get the right balance between what you can do yourself, what you get help with, and what products, tools, and storage options really work for you.
Don’t despair if the first thing you try doesn’t work out, or if you need more help than you realised. Just take the next step and try again. You will figure it out, and you’ll feel much better for it.
Now just breathe and pick one simple thing to do now. Doesn’t that feel better already?
Hiring the right cleaner for your home can change your life for the better. Whether you are busy with family, focused on work, dealing with personal issues, or just wanting to enjoy the precious time you have for yourself. Those time consuming jobs that can make your house sparkle eat into your day and drain the energy that you’d rather put into your life.
Ignoring that clean up work is a solution many people try. Dust and grime build up in hidden corners. Slowly, without even realising it, the house just starts to look a bit shabby. They probably can’t even put their finger on why. That is, until their finger literally lands on a pile of dust on that barely used shelf in the corner.
This is where having a regular cleaner makes all the difference. Not only do they free up your time to focus on what you want to focus on, they remove the stress of needing to work out all the bits and pieces that need to be taken care of, and they keep your home looking fresh and pristine.
CleaningBest can make this positive change a reality for your home.