How to get burnt smell out of the microwave

Using a microwave is somewhat a delicate process.

On one hand, it is convenient and allows you to easily and quickly heat food or even cook. But, on the other hand, the risk of food and liquids spilling inside the microwave is high, leading to a nasty burnt smell.

The longer you keep using the microwave, the worse the smell gets –on top of it permeating your food.

So, how can you get rid of the burnt smell from your microwave?

Well, there are several techniques that you can employ. The first is cleaning the microwave to get rid of the odor source.

You can also try neutralizing the odor with solutions, products, and substances that absorb smells.

Lastly, you can deodorize the microwave using other substances with pleasant scents.

Below, we have compiled a list of several techniques you can use to have your microwave smelling fresh again. Most of them are simple and make use of readily available ingredients.

How to neutralize burnt smell from microwave

The best way to neutralize the burnt smell in the microwave is to clean it as soon as possible and remove the odor source. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to remove the odor.

Below are some top techniques you can use to clean and freshen up your microwave.

1. Wash the microwave with water and soap

Cleaning is the simplest way to remove odors from a microwave, especially if they are fresh.

It gets rid of the odor sources – crumbs and spilled food and liquids – which causes the burnt odor when heated.

To clean your microwave, dip a sponge or soft cloth in a mixture of water and soap (dish soap). Then, thoroughly wipe down the inside – top, bottom, sides, and door – removing any debris, crumbs, splatters, and grime.

If the splatter and grime are tough, you can place a cup of water inside the microwave and heat for several minutes until steaming.

The steam will loosen them up, making them easy to clean.

After you are done cleaning, rinse the inside of the microwave using a sponge dipped in clean water. Then, dry the surfaces using a soft cloth.

Afterward, open the microwave door for about two to three hours to air it out.

2. Use vinegar solution

apple cider vinegar

Is the burnt smell persisting even after cleaning? Some odors can be particularly pungent, for example, burnt plastic and fish, making them hard to eliminate.

Other times, the smells will have soaked inside surfaces. It requires something extra to get rid of them. in such a case, you can try using vinegar to get burnt smell out of a microwave

Vinegar is a natural cleaning solution that contains acetic acid. The acid bonds with volatile molecules, such as odors, thus neutralizing them.

And as the acid seeks to bond, it will dissipate, removing both the odor and the smell of the vinegar.

To clean your microwave using vinegar:

  • First, wipe down the interior using a damp sponge or soft cloth.
  • Next, create a vinegar solution by mixing one cup of water with a few tablespoons of white vinegar.
  • Finally, place the solution inside the microwave and heat it until steaming.

After steaming the vinegar solution, wipe down the microwave using a sponge or cloth, then rinse and dry. If the smell of vinegar bothers you, you can add a teaspoon of vanilla into the vinegar solution.

Doing this will mask the vinegar odor, as well as any lingering burnt smell while leaving your microwave with a pleasant scent.

3. Neutralize the burnt odor using baking soda

baking soda

Baking soda is another natural odor neutralizing agent, which you can use to get rid of the burnt smell in your microwave. It contains amphoteric bicarbonate ions – reacting with acids and bases.

Therefore, baking soda reacts easily with volatile molecules of burnt odors, which are mostly acidic.

On top of that, it has strong adsorption properties – it can attract molecules – including those of smells, to its surface area.

To remove burnt odors using baking soda, start by cleaning the microwave with a sponge or soft cloth. Then, add a few tablespoons of baking soda to water and heat the solution inside the microwave till steaming.

Next, wipe down the surfaces, with the steam helping to loosen everything. Afterward, rinse with a clean cloth and dry.

For better results, you can add baking soda to a solution of vinegar and water.

Also, you can leave baking soda inside the microwave (in a large bowl) after cleaning, allowing it to absorb any remaining burnt smells.

4. Steam your microwave using a lemon solution

Lemons are another effective solution for getting rid of burnt smells and other foul odors in your home. Lemons can neutralize smells in two ways:

  • By getting rid of smell molecules –the lemon juice contains acetic acid, which will bond with volatile burnt odor molecules
  • Deodorizing your microwave –It has a pleasant fragrance, which will mask any remaining odors, leaving your microwave smelling fresh.

To clean your microwave using the lemon solution:

  • Thoroughly clean the inside surfaces to remove debris, food chunks, splatters, accumulated grime.
  • Cut a lemon into two and squeeze the lemon juice into a bowl with water.
  • Add both slices of lemon into the bowl (with the lemon juice solution) and microwave it for a few minutes until steaming.
  • Wipe down the inside of the microwave with a soft cloth or paper towel

The steaming lemon juice will soften up any tough grime while reacting with and neutralizing the burnt smell odor. Microwaving the lemon slices will also release their pleasant fragrance, leaving your microwave smelling fresh.

5. Eliminate burnt odor and deodorize your microwave using coffee grounds

Coffee grounds
Image: Andrea Tummons

If you are like most people, coffee is only a beverage.

But did you know coffee can also remove odors from your microwave and other surfaces/places in your home? Coffee grounds contain carbon, which is a strong absorber of odors.

Coffee grounds also contain nitrogen (found in the caffeine), which boosts carbon’s ability to absorb smells.

Furthermore, coffee has a pleasant, refreshing aroma (especially if you are a coffee lover), which can help to mask any lingering burnt smells in your microwave.

And the good news is, you don’t have to use fresh grounds; you can simply recycle used coffee grounds instead of throwing them away.

To eliminate burnt odor from your microwave, first, clean the inside surfaces to get rid of the smell source. Then, place coffee grounds in a bowl and leave them inside the microwave (door closed) overnight.

You can leave them longer if the smell persists. Furthermore, you can use other solutions, such as vinegar and lemon juice, before leaving the coffee grounds for even more impressive results.

6. Clean the microwave using nail polish remover

Nail polish remover is another solution you can use to clean a burnt microwave, though it is quite unusual.

While it is designed to remove nail polish, it is a strong solvent that will get rid of several substances, including tough grease, splatters, and stains inside the microwave.

Essentially, it works by removing the main odor source, preventing additional smell molecules from permeating the inside of the microwave.

Using nail polish remover to clean a microwave is easy. First, use another cleaning solution, for example, water and soap, to get rid of debris and easy-to-remove layers of gunk.

Then, dip a cotton ball, sponge, or soft cloth in the nail polish remover and wipe down the inside of the microwave. Afterward, wash again with soap and water, then rinse and dry.

When using nail polish remover, you should always use acetone-free products. This is because acetone is highly hazardous and can poison your food if any traces remain.

It is also highly flammable, leading to a serious accidents when using the microwave.

7. Clean the microwave using commercial cleaners

Microwave oven cleaner

Don’t trust the homemade solutions to work? Then, you can turn to commercial cleaners or odor absorbers.

There is an endless list of products that you can use, which can you can find at your nearest supermarket or in online stores.

A good example of a commercial product you can use is the Fuller Brush Microwave Oven Cleaner.

It is a foam cleaning spray, which loosens up tough splatters and grime, helping to remove the primary odor source.

It also contains a pleasant scent, which masks any lingering scent that has diffused inside the microwave.

Time to remove microwave odors

A burnt odor in your microwave is not a fun experience. The smell might spread into your food, making it taste weird. It also pollutes the clean air of your kitchen every time you open the microwave and use it.

Fortunately, with the above solutions, you can remove burnt the smell from your microwave, keeping it clean and smelling fresh. Most of the solutions involve the use of readily available home ingredients.