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How to Clean a Microwave with a Burnt Smell

Burnt bag of popcorn in an open microwave

Even using microwaves, you can burn your food. The food may be cooked from the inside out but that doesn’t mean it is a perfect method of cooking. If you are not careful, you still can burn your food by accidentally giving the food item too much time to cook.

When this happens, you end up having a burnt smell left inside your handy appliance. That smell is not something you want to share with any guests. It will take a little work, but you can rid your microwave of that odor.

To learn how to do just that, continue reading. Our article has the instructions to use when you are faced with this cooking situation.

3 Methods to Clean the Burnt Odor from Your Microwave

1. Clean the Interior

Woman with red hair and wearing orange gloves cleaning a top cabinet mounted microwave

This is a must as your burnt food item probably left some food particles or sauce behind. If it has dried, then you have some work to do in order to get the interior clean.

One way to do this is to put some water in a bowl and place both inside the microwave. Then turn the appliance to maximum power and turn it on for 5 minutes or so. After the microwave has finished let the water remain inside for another 5 minutes.

Next, take the bowl of water out of the appliance and then dip a clean cloth into some clean water and add a little dishwashing liquid. Scrub the soap all over the interior of the dishwasher to make sure you got it clean.

When that is done, simply rinse and dry and the burnt food items will be gone. It is best to leave the door open for about 2 to 3 hours to let it air out.

2. Remove the Odor

Bowl of lemon juice and water in a microwave

Sometimes you may clean all the food items out of the interior of your microwave, yet the odor persists. This situation can be frustrating when it happens. Odors have a way of staying behind when the food is gone.

To remedy this problem just mix 1 cup of water with 1 tbsp. of lemon juice or vinegar. Mix well and make sure you use a microwavable bowl. Place the bowl inside your microwave and set the appliance on high and the timer to 5 minutes.

Let the steam do the work and wait a few minutes before removing the bowl from the microwave when the boiling is done. Not only to let more steam do its job but to protect your fingers from a hot bowl.

Next, get a clean dry cloth and wipe the interior of the microwave and let it dry. If you do not like the lemon or vinegar fragrance, then you can use coffee grounds, vanilla, or essential oils and half the amount of water.

3. Deodorize the Microwave

Box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda on a white background

If the vinegar or lemon did not do the job very well, there is one more step to take. You call in the reinforcements- baking soda and time. As you know baking soda is a great odor adsorbing product that does wonders for your fridge. It will work on your microwave as well.

All you have to do is open the box of baking soda and place it inside your microwave overnight. That is all there is to it. Just do not use your microwave until the next day. If you are out of baking soda, coffee grounds or activated charcoal will also work for you.

1 cup of either should do the trick, as well as about 24 hours more or less. When you are done with the microwave, you can use it to absorb odors in other parts of your kitchen. Just do not use it for cooking.

One note: If the burnt smell is very severe, it may have been trapped in your microwave’s charcoal filter. If that is the case, all you need to do is replace the filter. A clean filter will trap more odors every time you cook.

Some Final Words

Hand pressing buttons on the front of a microwave

Burnt smells do not mean you are a bad cook. All they mean is that you made a calculation error and let the food cook too long. It happens to everyone at some time or another.

The key is to use the methods described above and get rid of those smells. Then learn where you made your mistake and not repeat it again. Once the smell is gone, no one will know you burnt anything.

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