How To Remove The Burnt Smell In Microwave


When you are ready to microwave something, you may read the label wrong, and you can accidentally overcook something. Not only does that ruin your dinner or snack, but it can leave an unpleasant burnt smell in the microwave. If you have a teenager, then this is something they likely encountered too. When it comes to burning foods in the microwave, the common culprit is popping the popcorn for too long.

If you don’t read the label on how to microwave popcorn correctly, you will not only end up with charred popcorn, but you will have that burnt smell in the microwave to contend with, not something you want. Now, your microwave has that unpleasant odor of burnt food: now what? Fortunately, there are easy ways to remove that odor from the microwave and permeate the home! Let’s go over methods on how you can do that.

Give Your Microwave A Good Cleaning

The first and foremost thing to do when you want to get rid of the microwave’s burnt smell is to clean it well. All you need to do is take a good look inside your microwave to see any debris or burnt pieces of food scattered inside. If there is, take a microwave-safe container and pour one cup of water into it. Then place it into the microwave and put it on the high setting for three to four minutes. The water will vaporize and turn into steam. Steaming the microwave is necessary before doing anything else to clean it because it will help loosen up the burnt pieces of food.

Keep in mind, some burnt debris in the microwave you may not be able to see. Therefore, the steam is a necessary first step to remove those hard-to-see debris pieces from any surfaces in the interior. Once you steam up your microwave by doing that, you will want to move to the next thing.

The next step is to take a soft clean cloth and put some water and dish soap on the fabric. Begin to wipe the inside of the microwave as you will see how many pieces of burnt debris there is as you collect it by wiping it with the cloth. Is your microwave made of stainless steel? You will want to rub your cloth in the grain’s direction that you see on the metal.

After you finish up wiping the microwave’s interior, then take another clean cloth that does not have lint and put some water on it. Wipe the interior down to remove the soap, and then keep the microwave door open for two to three hours to air out. That cleaning process should be enough to remove the burnt odor. However, what if you find that hours after you clean the microwave that the smell still lingers? That is particularly the case if you burn fish or even plastic which will cause more pungent odors. You may need to rinse and repeat (so to speak) several times.

There are also other methods to remove the microwave’s burnt smell if you don’t want to repeat that process. You can add vinegar or lemon juice which may be an even more effective method to getting rid of the burnt odor.

Removing The Burnt Microwave Odor By Using Lemon Juice Or Vinegar

Sometimes soap and water are not enough to remove the burnt smell in the microwave. That is even if you clean the small oven that way several times. You may need to use either lemon juice or vinegar, not both.

The first thing to do is steam the interior of the microwave to remove debris as you would by following the first step in the point above. Then take the microwave-safe container you used to steam the microwave and pour one cup of water into it. Then mix one cup of water and add one tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice into it. Put the container inside the microwave and heat it for two to five minutes, which will remove the burnt smell. That mixture is strong enough to make it work.

Once you finish with that, take a clean sponge or paper towel and wipe the evaporated water away from the interior’s surface. You can leave the door open to air out. However, it won’t be too necessary since the mixture is powerful enough to do the job.

However, if you don’t like the idea of using lemon juice or vinegar in your microwave, there is another option to remove the burnt smell from it. That involves using baking soda.

Remove The Microwave Burnt Smell With Baking Soda

Baking soda is great for deodorizing, and if you have a box of baking soda, you can use it to remove the burnt odor. All you need to do is open a box of baking soda and place it in the microwave right before you go to bed. That is because you will need to put it in there overnight and allow anyone in your home to know that you are deodorizing the small oven. That way, they will know not to use it.

By morning, the odor should be gone, and you can remove the box of baking soda. Once you use the baking soda box for odor removal or cleaning, do not use it for cooking foods. You can reuse the same box for cleaning and deodorizing, however.

If you don’t have baking soda, you can use one cup of unused coffee grounds or activated charcoal. Those will help with removing odors. However, if you use coffee grounds for that purpose, do not use them for your coffee, or else it will taste funny.


When you overcook something in the microwave, it can leave that bad burnt smell. That odor will permeate through your home, and that won’t be very pleasant if you have guests over. Fortunately, there are easy methods for removing burnt smells from the microwave. Those only involve simple steps that include soap and water, or if that is not enough, you can use vinegar or lemon juice. If you want to use neither of those, then placing baking soda, activated charcoal, or unused coffee grounds in your microwave overnight will do the job. Either way, there is no reason you have to deal with the unpleasant burnt odor in your microwave from accidentally burning something by overcooking it.