The microwave never got dirty enough to clean on a regular basis, so over time the occasional splatters built up. I had seen in a variety of publications that the best way to clean a microwave was to heat a solution of white vinegar. I was eager to try it.
I mixed a 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of white vinegar together in a medium bowl, then cooked it for 10 minutes on high power. I have a 1000-watt microwave, and after 3 minutes, the mixture was boiling.
The vinegar steam is supposed to loosen the caked-on food particles. My microwave didn’t get too steamy; most of the evaporated vinegar was simply vented out into my kitchen. At the end of the 10 minutes, however, the splatters were easier to scrape off.
I followed up by wiping the inside of the microwave (after carefully removing the bowl full of hot water) with baking soda and a damp sponge. This worked wonders. The baking soda was a perfect mild abrasive to help scrape off the caked-on gunk. The baking soda was also a dirt magnet and captured the sticky film on the walls of the microwave.