How Microwaving Your Cleaning Rag Can Make it More Powerful

published Aug 27, 2018
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(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

Many of us are familiar with the trick of microwaving sponges to help disinfect them. Although that practice has been thrust into the spotlight and put under scrutiny lately. Turns out that microwaving sponges only kills the worst of the bacteria they harbor; the other microbes quickly recolonize the sponge and it’s as bad as it ever was, ewww.

But there is a reason to microwave your rags, one that sidesteps the whole question of how to keep your kitchen cloths sanitary.

Microwaving your rag before cleaning makes it steamy and hot, and way more powerful in cutting through messes in the kitchen and bathroom.

(Image credit: Seksun Guntanid)

For this technique to work, your rag needs to be wet. Soak your rag in water, give it a gentle squeeze so it’s not completely dripping, and pop it in the microwave in increments of 30 seconds so you can see how long your particular microwave takes to get your rag hot enough to make a difference but not scald you. (Or, preferably, wear gloves to protect your hands.)

The hotter your rag, the more it’ll help cut through grease, stuck-on food, and even soap scum with the power of steam. You can use it on its own, or combined with a cleaning spray or a gentle abrasive like baking soda.

Here are a few places to test drive your new amped-up rag:

  • The inside of your microwave
  • Food splatters on walls near a stand mixer
  • The inside of your fridge
  • Your kitchen backsplash
  • Food splatters on kitchen walls near the table
  • Chair spindles or rungs, especially if you have kids who get their grubby hands on them while they’re eating
  • Glass shower doors
  • Shower fixtures

Have you used this trick before?

More of our favorite cleaning shortcuts: