Here's the deal: You need to clean your microwave on the reg, even after every use (but more on that later). If you don't? Spills and crumbs will continue to cook each time you use the appliance, making it even harder to eventually remove, says Leslie Reichert, a green cleaning coach and author of The Joy of Green Cleaning . "Also, germs love warm, moist places, so if you leave the microwave closed with moisture and food inside, you are creating a breeding ground for bacteria ."

Odds are, your original plan of reheating leftovers for dinner are now donezo, because blech. But it doesn't always have to be always be this waythat is, of course, if you properly manage your microwave. Heres everything you need to know about how and when to scrub your machine to keep it squeaky clean:

So how do you clean the inside of a microwave?

All that caked-on cuisine can be enough to make you want to toss your micro out the window and start all over. But in the immortal words of Fat Amy, "Better not." Instead, put your big-girl panties on...and grab a scrubby (and clean!) sponge .

Pro tip: Here are 10 things you should neverlike, never everput in your microwave.

For a "thorough clean," saturate the sponge with a combo of water and dish soap (1/2 tsp dish soap to two cups of water) and wipe it all over the interior, making sure to get all areas sopping wet and sudsy, says Melissa Maker, cleaning expert at Clean My Space , a housekeeping service in Canada. "Allow this to sit for five minutes and sprinkle a pinch of baking soda as an added abrasion over any areas you notice stains or stubborn messes," she advises.

While the micro's soaking, Maker recommends using this time to deal with the dirty dish (ya know, the spinning plate you put your food on?) using the same materials and methods as you've done for the rest of the interior. While you can put it in the dishwasher, that only adds to the overall cleaning time.

With a fully rinsed sponge positioned with the scrubby-side down, use an "S-pattern" to wipe top-to-bottom, left-to-right on each side of the microwave, including the top and the base. Then, do a final wipe-down with a damp microfiber cloth, which picks up dirt, debris, and moisture better than other types of cloths, according to Maker.

Okay, but can you clean the inside of a microwave without using soap, or naturally?

Yes, ma'am. Place a mixture of 1 cup of distilled white vinegar or 1 cup of hot water with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in the microwave and heat it until it starts to boil, Reichert says.

After one minute spent boiling, press stop, but don't open the doors. Instead, let the solution sit for three to five minutes so that the steam and liquid can help loosen even the toughest of gunk. "[It's] essentially giving your microwave a steam facial," Maker jokes.

Carefully remove the cup and wipe down the interior with a damp microfiber cloth or sponge, per both experts.

How can you clean microwave doors and exteriors?

Wipe down the outside with a microfiber cloth that's treated with all-purpose cleaner , such as the aforementioned dish soap and water combo or a store-bought option. Pro tip: Steer clear of the electrical panel (for what should be obvious reasons).

Allow this to sit for a couple of minutes to really get all that grime before wiping dry. Faced with a particularly greasy, stubborn area? Rub it down with the fleshy part of a lemon. Thanks to its intense acidity, lemon can break down grease andadded bonusneutralize any yucky odors, Maker explains.

If you don't have to do too much scrubbing (read: your microwave is fairly clean), Reichert says that a microfiber cloth rinsed in "very hot water" should be enough to remove any grossness that might be hiding out in there.

How can you clean stuck-on spots?

In addition to the sprinkle of baking soda and rub of lemon that Maker recommends, you can also turn to "cool tools," like Reichert does. A few of her faves: Skoy scrub, which is a non-scratch scrubbing cloth, and Bartender's Friend, a stain-removing cleanser that also steers clear of scratching.

And, when all else fails, an ample amount of elbow grease can help get rid of gunkas does keeping your micro fairly clean in the first place, of course. On that note...

So, how can you prevent excess microwave grime?

To make your cleaning routine less of a sweat sesh next time, Maker recommends wiping down the appliance at least once week and immediately after something splatters. No matter how hungry you are when you hear the device's timer ding, take a sec to make sure the micro is sans splatter.

If not, quickly wiping down it (even with just a towel) can make all of the difference going forward. Also a big help? Covering foods with, say, a paper towel to prevent bubbling messes all together.