How to Get Burnt Smell Out of Microwave

How to Get Burnt Smell Out of Microwave and Kitchen

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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As cooks, most of us have burnt something in the kitchen, whether in the cooker or the microwave oven. But, have you had a scenario your cooking adventure didn't go as planned? If yes, you know that tackling the odor can be hard, especially with the common culprits such as fish, plastic, macaroni or burnt popcorn smell.

So, are you wondering how to get the burnt smell out of your microwave? We have listed some homemade items you can use to get rid of the burnt smell from your microwave oven, kitchen and house in general. Read on!

Items That Can Take Away Burnt Smells From Your Microwave

Not all odor remover solutions work to remove the same smells. For example, coffee grounds work well to remove bad odors, and lemon juice removes chemical smells.

Here are several items to get the burnt food smell out of your microwave and get your microwave back into its tip-top shape. Follow them, and if at any point the stains and smell have been removed to your satisfaction, you will not need to continue to the next steps.

Inspect Your Microwave

Before you start the process of making your microwave smell fresh again, there are two things you should know.

First, it's a great idea to remove the source of the smell immediately after you notice it. Each time you use the microwave without cleaning, you are re-baking the burnt food, making matters worse. The longer you ignore the burnt debris smell, the harder it becomes to deal with.

Secondly, avoid using a metal sponge when cleaning your microwave. The metal sponge could scratch the inside of the microwave, and the leftover metal bits inside of the microwave could result in a fire when in use.

1. Vinegar Steam Treatment

The vinegar-water solution is a great way to get rid of lingering smells and strong odors such as plastic or burnt fish. However, you should adjust the amount of vinegar used in the vinegar method depending on the severity of the odors left behind.

Fill a bowl with half a cup of water, microwave it for four to five minutes, and leave the microwave shut for about 10-15 minutes. This allows the steam to coat the inside of the microwave, and the steam from the vinegar-water solution will loosen the debris. In addition, vinegar can absorb odors, including stubborn ones like burnt popcorn smell.

After the waiting period, remove your bowl and wipe the inside of the microwave using a paper towel or a damp cloth. Once the solution cools, you can use it to clean your glass and mirror, coffee machine or wipe down your fridge.

2. Lemon Steaming Method

For an extremely smelly microwave, take a lemon and slice in half, then microwave the lemon slices for three minutes. Or a microwave-safe bowl of water with submerged lemon halves.

Alternatively, you can microwave a water and lemon juice mixture and leave it in the microwave overnight. The mixture of water and lemon juice can later be used as a disinfectant once it cools or to deodorize the rest of your kitchen.

In addition, to get rid of unwanted smells, you can also use lemon essential oil instead of using lemons. Use four drops of the oil in place of the lemon juice.

Once the steam loosens the debris, remove everything from your microwave and wipe the inside using a damp cloth.

3. Vanilla Extract

Vanilla extract is another great way to clear the burnt smell and replace your microwave with the smell of freshly baked cookies, without the cookies, of course.

Add half a cup of water to a microwave-safe bowl, stir in four teaspoons of vanilla extract, and then microwave on a high until it boils. Allow the bowl to steam and sit inside the microwave for about 30 minutes.

Open the microwave and wipe clean. Not only will your microwave be odor-free, but also it will have a pleasant smell.

4. Nail Polish Remover

Nail polish remover has another great use. Use a nail polish remover soaked sponge to eliminate any excess burnt debris that may have refused to come out. This method will tackle even the toughest stains.

Notably, when using nail polish remover, ensure you wipe surfaces down using food-safe soapy water afterward.

5. Use Citrus Fruit

Another solution to get the burnt smell out of your microwave is to use a bowl of water with a few drops of citrus oil or fruit. Use a paper towel or a washcloth soaked in the solution but keep an eye on it. This is necessary because they could catch fire if the towels or clothes get too dry.

Peel two oranges and place the orange peels in a microwave-safe container with one to two cups of water. Microwave the solution for four minutes and watch keenly to ensure the water remains in the bowl and the citrus fruits don't burn. If possible, leave the microwave-safe container in your microwave all night or for about 12 hours.

6. Use Coffee

Leave a bowl of coffee grounds, coffee beans or instant coffee inside the microwave overnight. However, if you don't like the smell of coffee, you should try using cinnamon sticks or a quarter cup of cloves.

If the smell persists or cannot be removed, you could try leaving it outside or in the cellar or garage with the microwave door open. If coffee doesn't work, you might have to replace your microwave.

Deodorize Microwave Overnight

If the odor persists after using one or some of the above cleaning methods, it's time to implement a longer-term solution. This is an overnight method that may help your microwave smell fresh again. It is a great option for people with a busy schedule who don't have time to deep clean their microwave.

Before you go to bed, place a box of baking soda inside your microwave. If you don't have baking soda, some safe alternatives include dried coffee grounds or activated charcoal, which will work almost the same. In addition, when deodorizing, ensure you inform anyone you live with so that they don't use the microwave during the deodorization process.

Allow the baking soda to sit overnight with the microwave door shut to absorb the odors, and it will leave your microwave clean. It is advisable to avoid using the leftover baking soda for cooking, but it's safe to use for other cleaning tasks.

Is it Safe to Use a Burnt Microwave?

If your microwave smells and you can get rid of the burnt residue, it can be safe to resume use once it is clean. However, exercise caution, and if any part of your appliance seems to be damaged, invest in a new appliance. This is necessary because a damaged appliance is a fire hazard.

How to Remove the Burnt Smell in the House

If you have a smoke smell in your microwave, the chance is the rest of your kitchen has unwanted odors too. If you conveniently microwave popcorn and it gets burnt, it doesn't mean it's permanent, and your microwave is damaged. You can use some tips for your house after leaving your microwave smelling fresh. They include:

1. Throw the Burnt Food

If you burnt food in your microwave, you should clean it first before you clean your microwave and house. Double wrap the garbage bag and take out the garbage to avoid the burned remains and continue releasing odors inside the garbage can or bag.

In addition, if you leave the burnt food in your garbage bag overnight, you should deodorize the garbage bin or can. Also, don't dump food down your garbage disposal as it will release more of the smoky smell.

2. Soak your washcloth in a water and vinegar mixture

Squeeze the excess liquid and wave your washcloth around the room. Next, leave your washcloth hanging in the room with the worst burnt smell overnight.

3. Open windows or turn fans

Opening windows and turning on the fans is necessary as it helps to increase air circulation. This encourages the nasty odors to disappear more quickly.

4. Wipe down Everything

Add a few tablespoons of white vinegar to a spray bottle filled with water and use it to clean your doors, walls, furniture and floors. Wear protective gloves, and don't scrub too hard as the vinegar may burn or irritate your skin. Also, use the best stainless cleaner for all your stainless steel equipment.

5. Shampoo Carpet and Wash Clothes

Sprinkle some baking soda over all the carpeted areas in your house, leave them overnight and then vacuum them.

In addition, wash your couch covers throw blankets, fabric curtains, clothes and bedsheets. Follow by using a detergent or a deodorizer to help you get rid of any lingering smells, and if you hang your clothes to dry, do it outside.

Additional Tips to Remove the Burnt Smells

Check your pantry and closet if the smell persists since sometimes unwanted microwave odors cling to plastic and cardboard containers. In addition, some other tips include:

  • Place onion slices, lemon quarters or vinegar in hot water and leave in the most affected areas of the house
  • Remove all shoes, jackets or boots made of fabric or suede and take them outside until the smell disappears
  • If cleaning, wiping, and laundry don't remove odors, replace the burnt smell with a more pleasant smell. Bake cookies, use air fresheners, an essential oil diffuser or a spray bottle filled with water and your favorite essential oil.
  • Use coffee beans or ground inside closets, cupboards or small rooms to absorb the smoke smell and let the bowl sit for a while. If you prefer a scent-free option, use activated charcoal or baking soda.

Image Credit:

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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