Nobody wants a microwave that smells like burned popcorn, meat, or plastic. A funky-smelling microwave increases the likelihood of the odor permeating any food you heat up next. Plus, if you don’t immediately get the burnt smell out, it could end up lasting for weeks on end.
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Inspecting your microwave
If there’s a foul odor coming from inside your microwave, the first thing you’ll want to do is open it and carefully inspect it. Check inside to see if any food or drink has spilled or splattered on the microwave plate, walls, or underneath the rotating tray. Wipe the spills with a wet dishcloth or sponge, and then leave the microwave door open to help air out unwanted odors.
Here are the 9 simple ways to get a burnt smell out of your microwave:
1. The white vinegar way
White vinegar is an excellent product for removing lingering odors. The amount of vinegar used in this method will depend on the severity of the burnt smell in your microwave. You will need the following supplies:
- A microwave-safe cup
- White vinegar
- A cloth
Fill the microwave-safe cup (0.24L) with water. Add 4 tablespoons of white vinegar to the water and stir gently. Place the cup inside your microwave and heat the solution for at least 3 minutes. Once the solution is steaming, allow it to sit for about 5 minutes. Steam should form on the inside of the microwave door and coat the microwave walls. This is an essential step as the steam will help loosen debris and absorb smells.
2. The citrus way
The citrus method involves deodorizing your microwave with citrus fruit (lemon, orange, or grapefruit). Citrus effectively leaves a pleasant natural scent. Here are the supplies you’ll want to have on hand:
- Microwave-safe bowl
- Half a citrus fruit (such as lemon, orange, or grapefruit)
Cut half of the citrus fruit into small slices and place them into a microwave-safe bowl. Fill the bowl with water (0.24L), then put it in the microwave for four minutes or until the water boils. Keep the microwave door shut for 5 minutes to allow the mixture to cool down and to let the steam spread throughout the microwave. You can then use a cloth to wipe down the inside of the microwave.
3. The baking soda way
If you’re not too keen on using an acidic mixture to deodorize your microwave, consider using the baking soda method. Baking soda is a handy household product to have – not only can you use it for cooking, but it is also helpful for cleaning bathrooms, surfaces, laundry, and eliminating odors. Here’s all you need to get started:
- 5 teaspoons of baking soda
- Warm water
- Rag or sponge
Fill a bowl with half a cup of warm water and mix in five teaspoons of baking soda. Mix thoroughly until it stops fizzing. Dip a rag or sponge into the mixture and use the solution to scrub the microwave, making sure to clean the appliance in a circular motion. If there are stubborn food stains stuck to the inside of the microwave, apply a teaspoon of baking soda to a cloth or sponge to work on the stain more directly.
4. The vanilla extract way
If you want your microwave to have a fresh vanilla fragrance, you might try using the vanilla extract method. Warm-up a mixture of 4 teaspoons of vanilla extract and 2 cups (0.47L) of water for at least three minutes, or until it boils and creates steam. Leave the microwave door shut to let the steam spread inside to eliminate the odor. Remove the bowl after at least half an hour. Wipe out the extra moisture in your microwave using a cloth or paper towel.
5. The coffee way
Coffee is effective at neutralizing odors, which is why the coffee method may be just what you need to get the burnt smell out of your microwave. For this method, you’ll need a small bowl, spoon, two tablespoons of used ground coffee (you can also utilize fresh coffee grounds), water (½ a cup or 0.12L), and a rag.
Mix the ground coffee with the water in a small bowl, and then place the bowl in the microwave for about three minutes. After letting it rest for around half an hour, carefully take the bowl out of the microwave and wipe any condensation with a cloth. Repeat the process if necessary.
In addition to getting rid of the unpleasant burnt smell, this method will also leave your microwave smelling like fresh ground coffee. This method is most effective with used coffee grounds. If you’re using fresh coffee beans or grounds, it might be more ideal to leave them in the microwave overnight before heating them.
6. The clove way
Choose the clove method if you prefer a spicy aroma to a coffee smell. Pour 0.97 oz. of cloves into a microwave-safe container and set it inside the microwave. You don’t need to heat the cloves – shut the microwave door and allow the cloves to sit all night. This lets the aroma of cloves fill your microwave and absorb the unpleasant smells.
7. The berry way
For this method, take a mixture of an assortment of berries (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and so on) and place them in a small container. Secure the top of the container with saran wrap, and microwave the berries for about half an hour. As the fruit heats up, the scent will spread through the microwave, thus getting rid of the burnt smell.
8. The dish soap way
Another method you can remove the burnt smell involves using dish soap. It’s cheap and easy, plus you likely have dish soap readily available. To get started, remove any loose burnt pieces or debris from the inside of the microwave with a damp rag, then heat one cup of water in a container for about 3 minutes. The next step is to wipe the interior with a soft rag dipped in water and dish soap solution. If you have a stainless steel model, rub the cloth in the direction of the metal’s grain. Rinse the microwave with clean, warm water and use a soft, lint-free cloth to dry.
9. The nail polish remover way
If wiping down your microwave with dish soap or white vinegar doesn’t do the trick, you might want to try using some acetone-free nail polish remover to get the burnt smell out of your microwave. Soak a handful of cotton balls or pads in nail polish remover and use them to wipe down the inside of the microwave. After an hour, use a sponge dipped in warm water and dish soap to remove the nail polish remover. Leave the microwave door open to allow it to air out.
Is it safe to use the microwave after burning food?
Whether or not you should use your microwave after burning food depends entirely on its current condition. Food tends to burn inside the microwave when there is a lack of moisture. As a result, there is no barrier to prevent the microwave energy from overheating, which in turn causes the food to burn and yellow stains in some cases.
If there’s only an unpleasant smell and a bit of residue that you can clean using one of the methods listed above, it should be safe to use the microwave afterward. However, if there are flames or noticeable damage to the inside of the microwave, then it might be worth getting a new microwave.
What causes burning inside a microwave?
Food can burn in a microwave when you leave it in for too long that the moisture in it becomes depleted, or when you are heating some fatty or oily foods, which can leave stubborn stains and grime on the inner lining of your microwave.
How to get rid of the odor of burnt food from your home
If you have a burnt smell in your microwave, chances are the rest of the kitchen or even the whole house has an unpleasant odor too. Read on to discover some useful tips for getting rid of the smell of burnt from your home.
1. Get rid of the burnt food
Remove the burnt food entirely. Please make sure you double wrap the garbage bag you throw it out in or take it out. This is important to prevent the burned remains from releasing odors inside the garbage container. If you leave the burned food in the garbage bag, you may need to deodorize the garbage can. Avoid disposing of the food down the garbage bag disposal as this will only release more of the burnt smell.
2. Open your windows
Open your windows to bring fresh air in and let the stale, burnt smell out. This is the easiest way to get air circulating in your home. It might also help to open all outside doors, especially if they are near your kitchen.
3. Turn on a fan or two
To speed up air circulation, turn on the fans in your home. If you have portable box fans, plug them in beside open windows and turn them on to the highest speed possible to create cross-ventilation. If you have a kitchen hood/exhaust hood, it might also be helpful to turn that on as well.
4. Clean all the affected surfaces
Wash down all the surfaces in the kitchen where the odor is particularly pungent. Consider using bleach or disinfectant to scrub the surfaces and mop the floor. If the smell is powerful, wash the ceiling and walls as well.
5. Wash or get rid of all items that smell
Wash all the items made of fabric from the areas of your home where the burnt smell is noticeable. This includes curtains, table cloths, and slipcovers. If the smell clings onto cardboard boxes in the kitchen, transfer the contents of the boxes to plastic storage containers and recycle the boxes.
6. Absorb the odor
There are several methods you can use to absorb the odor:
- Lemon water
Boil some water on the stove and toss in a couple of lemon slices. Let the water sit for about an hour to freshen up the kitchen.
- Onion water
Put onion slices into a container of water and place them in the middle of the kitchen. If the smell has spread to other parts of your home, consider placing containers of onion water in all the affected areas. Allow the containers to sit overnight to absorb the smell.
- Baking soda
Baking soda is one of the most effective products for absorbing odors because most smells tend to be acidic, whereas baking soda is basic. This makes it ideal at neutralizing the acids that cause bad smells. To use baking soda to get rid of the smell of burnt food in your home, spread it in a thin, even layer in your kitchen, or distribute bowls filled with baking soda in all the affected areas of your home.
Related article: What Can I Boil To Make My House Smell Good?
7. Masking the smell
In some cases, you may need to introduce a more pleasant smell to eliminate the burnt smell in your kitchen. Here are some tips to consider:
- Spray lemon water
Pour equal water and lemon juice parts into a spray bottle and spray it around your kitchen. The natural, chemical-free lemon scent should mask the burnt smell.
- Make a DIY air freshener with essential oils
Combine a cup of water and two tablespoons of rubbing alcohol with 15-20 drops of your favorite combination of essential oils. Put the mixture in a spray bottle, shake well, and spray as needed.
- Use a commercial air freshener
If you don’t mind the overwhelming smell, consider using commercial air fresheners like Febreeze and Lysol to mask the burnt odor.
Related article: How Do I Get Rid of The Cigarette Smell in My Apartment
As you can see, there are several ways to get rid of the burnt smell in your oven. If one doesn’t work for you, try another or a combination of several. Replacing your microwave should be your last resort.