Easy fixes for microwaves

June 30, 2015

Keep your microwave running smoothly with these quick and easy cleaning tips.

Easy fixes for microwaves

My microwave’s carousel is stuck

Get it back on track

If your microwave's carousel isn't rotating, a good cleaning will often free it up.

  • Lift the glass platter and wheeled turntable out of the microwave. Beneath, you'll see the track in which the wheeled ring turns, as well as a notched wheel in the centre.
  • Close the door and, very briefly, turn the microwave on; look through the window to see if the notched wheel is spinning. If not, you will need to have the microwave serviced by a professional. If it is, clean the carousel track and turntable well with a household degreaser. Before you put it back in, apply a drop of cooking oil to each of the wheels.

My microwave oven is dirty

Steam it clean

Mix a cup of vinegar with a cup of water in a large, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave the mixture on high to a full, rolling boil. Let it boil for about one minute, then remove the container and wipe the microwave clean with kitchen towels while it is still warm and damp.

I can see sparks inside my microwave oven

Check for stray metal

Stray scraps of foil or metal become charged when bombarded by microwaves. The air around the scrap also becomes charged, creating electric sparks and potentially causing the microwave to overheat. To cure the problem, start by giving the oven a thorough cleaning.

  • Unplug the microwave and clean the waveguide cover — a plate with a metallic sheen, which is usually secured to the back or side wall of the oven interior with a screw or clips. The plate protects the workings of the microwave from splashes, but if food gets stuck to it, it can burn and send out sparks. Carefully unscrew or unclip the cover and clean it with a household detergent. Allow it to dry completely before replacing.
  • If you find any burn spots — brown marks on the inside walls of the microwave — sand them smooth with sandpaper then paint over with a specialist microwave touch-up paint (available online). If there are any holes in the walls, unplug the microwave immediately. Do not use it until it has been checked by a technician.


Microwave ovens operate at very high voltages, and charge remains stored when the microwave is switched off. Never remove the casing.

Avoid running the microwave when it is empty — you risk damaging it.

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