Microwaves are easy to cook in, but not to so easy to clean. The problem is that, unless you're extremely careful and always cover your food, steam can escape explosively and the inside of the microwave will wind up flecked with dried-on leftovers.

Eventually, you have to give up and scrub inside the appliance, craning your neck at a weird angle to try and see what you're doing. 

But no more.

To clean it effortlessly, all you really need is a lemon. If you don't have a lemon, a lime or even an orange would work, but a lemon is ideal as it'll leave your microwave with the freshest, most zingy smell.  

If it's not an emergency clean, wait until the next time you use a lemon in cooking or cocktails, as a squeezed chunk of lemon will do just as well. I tend to clean the microwave when I spot half a lemon going to waste in the fridge.

Fill a bowl with hot water, slice up whatever lemon you have and add it to the water. Put it in the microwave for 2-3 minutes. To be clear, you want the water to boil.

Don’t open the door. Leave the bowl to stand in the microwave for another 5 minutes. During this time, the microwave will steam up. The inside will be coated in warm, lemony water.

Take the bowl out and dip a cloth or a sponge into the water (be careful – it’ll be hot) and wipe down the inside of your microwave. The citric acid from the lemon is a great degreaser and the steam will lift away any dried-on food.

It should wipe clean instantly. If your microwave had a lingering smell of leftover curry or soup, it'll get rid of that as well.

Result: one perfectly clean, lemon-fresh microwave. No scrubbing required.

For more cleaning tips, have a look at our article on cleaning tips for home appliances. You can also read up on some quick tips on how to maintain your washing machine and your dishwasher to keep them running smoothly.