Tips & How To’s

How to Get Rid of Burnt-Smell in Microwave Ovens

Tim Parry


how to get rid of burnt smell in microwave

Regardless of your microwave's quality, maintenance is vital to ensure that spills and splatters inside do not settle in. The fish, soups, plastic and burnt popcorn smell can persist, while food stains will deter you from warming up other things in your microwave. If you want to use your appliances hygienically and avoid the terrible odor, check out our "how to get rid of burnt-smell in microwave ovens" guide.

1. Check and Clean the Microwave Door, Plate and Interior

Before trying these tips, you need to assess where the burnt food smell is coming from by inspecting the microwave interior and door. Typically, you can solve the issue with a little elbow grease. Plus, this method works for the best retro-style microwave ovens.


  1. Paper towel.
  2. Cleaning sponge or dishcloth.
  3. Regular liquid dish soap.
  4. Warm water in a bowl.


1. First, turn your microwave off from the wall socket and open the door to look inside. Check for spills and stains and where they are.

2. Pour a reasonable amount of liquid dish soap into the bowl with warm water and stir until you see bubbles forming.

3. Dip your dishcloth or cleaning sponge into the water solution, and depending on where the stains are, you can control how wet it is before scrubbing. Also, you can remove the dish plate to give you access to the area below, in case some soup had settled beneath it.

4. If you encounter difficult-to-remove stains, you can use a damp cloth to soften the food particles. Alternatively, you can use a spray bottle, but do not spray the slits leading to the microwave components. Let it chill for at least a minute and try scrubbing the area again.

5. When you are satisfied with the hygiene levels inside the microwave, clean your dishcloth or sponge until the running water does not have any soap traces. Afterward, use another bowl with clean water and wipe clean the interior. You can empty the bowl as many times as possible until you remove any trace of the dish soap. Unless you use food-safe soap, it is critical to eliminate it.

6. Use the paper towel to dry the microwave door and interior.

Leave the door open for a few minutes, then confirm if there are lingering smells. This method requires the least time and will often work, especially if the bad odors are recent. After all, the culprit is the food particles that cling to the microwave's interior, and dealing with them can save you a trip to the store for supplies if the situation becomes serious. Still, you can go the extra mile and get a heavy-duty stovetop cleaner, but you will need to rinse it out well.

2. White Vinegar Water Solution

White vinegar is one of the most versatile kitchen ingredients since you can use it to make a salad, cook, clean surfaces, and get rid of mildew smell in clothes. After all, the vinegar method for cleaning can help absorb odors. Since your microwave is no exception, you can get the following requirements to get the burnt smell off your appliance.


  1. A dishcloth or cleaning sponge.
  2. Water in a microwave-safe bowl.
  3. White vinegar is best since apple cider vinegar is not a useful cleaning agent.


1. Pour water into a microwave-safe bowl but do not fill it up completely as it can boil and spill inside. Halfway full will work well if you do not want the extra work of wiping the interior.

2. Measure out two-to-three bottle caps of white vinegar into your bowl. Mix up the solution and place the bowl into your microwave.

3. Depending on the power setting, you can turn on the microwave oven and let the bowl sit until you see it boil. Afterward, shut off the appliance and let the steam work its magic for about four minutes. Typically, this duration will suffice to allow a layer of condensation to settle on the inside of the microwave.

4. With the microwave door open, use an oven mitt to remove the bowl or wear protective gloves. Wipe down the interior with your dishcloth or sponge and remove any stains and food particles softened up by the moisture.

Feel free to repeat these steps if the microwave smells linger on. Also, you can add an extra helping of white vinegar to the water when dealing with nasty odors. Plus, a pinch of cleaning powder can go a long way in speeding up the process. Finally, do not pour out the solution as it can still be useful in cleaning surfaces when in a spray bottle.

3. Citrus Fruits or Lemon Juice

Using a citrus fruit or natural, freshly-squeezed lemon juice can help clean and remove the burnt smell in your microwave. In addition, this method gives your appliance a fantastic scent afterward. Get the following supplies to get started.


  1. Lemon slices, lemon juice or orange peels.
  2. Baking soda.
  3. Microwave safe container or bowl.
  4. Water.
  5. Dishcloth, sponge or paper towel.


1. Put either some orange peels, lemon juice, lemon slices or all three into your container or bowl. You can add some water but do not fill it to the brim.

2. Turn on the microwave on high settings for about 90 seconds or how long it takes for the water solution to start boiling. Try to avoid making a bigger mess by turning off your appliance before there are more spills.

3. Keep the microwave door shut for several minutes to get the burnt smell to interact with the steam build-up. Afterward, open the door to check if the burnt odors persist.

4. You can bring the water to a boil a few more times to get rid of the persistent microwave odors. Alternatively, you can put some baking soda inside the bowl and repeat the process. Still, the extra ingredient will make the boiling more violent, and spills are possible. Hence, you can reduce the amount of water or keep an eye on the cycle.

5. With your dishcloth, paper towel or sponge, wipe down the odor-free microwave.

Take the time to inspect the appliance for odors before going through the steps again. In addition, it helps to clean it first before you tackle the microwave smell. After all, some elbow grease beforehand can save you multiple tries.

3. Vanilla Extract

Vanilla extract is a popular additive for pastries like freshly baked cookies. However, you can take advantage of the awesome scent and remove odors and chemical smells from your microwave. If you are a fan of the vanilla extract scent, this method will ensure that your entire kitchen benefits.


  1. Vanilla extract that is 100% real.
  2. Half a cup of water or a shallow microwave-safe bowl.


1. Measure a couple of teaspoons of your vanilla extract into half a cup of water or some water in a shallow bowl.

2. Put the container in the microwave for 30-60 seconds, or until the water starts to boil. Do not let it simmer for more than 10 seconds, as the vanilla could easily contribute to the burnt smell inside the microwave.

3. With an oven mitt, remove the hot cup of water, and you are all set.

Remember to clean your microwave before trying out this method. In addition, it can be a costly process if you need to use more vanilla pours to remove the microwave smell. Hence, ensure you use a small cup (microwave-safe) or a shallow bowl but do not let it boil.

4. Baking Soda

We have mentioned baking soda as one of the ingredients in a previous method. However, as a standalone product, baking soda can help you remove odors without adding another scent to your microwave oven. If this fits your needs, you can gather the following requirements.


  1. Baking soda, of course.
  2. Dish soap.
  3. A washing basin and a microwave-safe bowl.
  4. A dishcloth or sponge.


1. Pour about half a cup of water into your bowl and mix in a few tablespoons of baking soda.

2. Put the fizzy water mixture into your microwave and turn it on for a few minutes. Please do not leave the appliance while it is on since you need to ensure you can turn it off as soon as it begins to boil.

3. Leave the door shut and allow the bowl to sit for about an hour. Keeping the solution in the microwave overnight may be overkill, but extra time may be crucial if the appliance has a putrid smell.

4. Remove the bowl from the microwave, then put some soap into the basin and mix it with water. Use the dishcloth or sponge with the soapy solution to clean out the condensed steam in the interior.

A box of baking soda is affordable, so this method is pretty doable. In addition, you can use the initial mixture to remove odors on other surfaces. Plus, you can use it for tackling smells in your oven.

Baking soda can be aggressive on some people's skins. Hence, you should consider gloves and avoid touching the solution directly if you have skin issues. Also, adding essential oils into the baking soda solution can help replace the smell of burnt popcorn with your favorite scent.

5. Coffee Grounds to Absorb Unwanted Odors

Using coffee grounds to deal with microwave smells | Forest & Kim

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Coffee is a powerful tool when dealing with unwanted smells in your microwave. In addition, you do not need to invest in a special variety to get results from this method. Plus, you can use the coffee grounds from your morning cup of joe and employ them for this process.


  1. Microwave safe bowl or container.
  2. Regular coffee grounds, either used or fresh.
  3. Dishcloth.
  4. Water.


1. In your bowl, mix the coffee grounds with water and put it in your microwave for a few minutes (2-3 will suffice).

2. With the microwave door open, check for the smell after the water has cooled for a few minutes. If you can still detect a smell, you can add some water and repeat the previous step.

3. If you have removed the odors, you can wipe the moisture with your dishcloth.

You can leave the bowl to sit inside your microwave overnight for extreme cases of burnt smells. This method will add a fantastic scent to your kitchen if you are a coffee lover. Plus, you can save money on finding the requirements for the previous steps by recycling used grounds.

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Tim Parry

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