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How to Get Rid of a Burnt Smell in Your Microwave Hero Image

How to Get Rid of a Burnt Smell in Your Microwave

If you've ever accidentally burned something in a microwave, you know how awful the smell is. Here are some natural solutions to get rid of the burnt smell once and for all.

Getting Started

Peson reacting to smoke and odor in an above range microwave
Let the popcorn pop for too long? Reheat leftovers a little past their prime? If you've ever experienced that burnt smell in a microwave, you know how bad it can be. And, with an over the range microwave, the smell tends to linger, making its way into kitchen cabinets while spreading throughout the house.
You probably already keep your microwave sparkling clean. But when you set it and forget it, letting the food cook a bit too long until it creates that burnt smell, what do you do?
Here are two easy methods to get rid of that burnt smell in your microwave once and for all. Well, until you overcook the popcorn again.

Two Natural Solutions for a Burnt-Free Microwave

Interrior of bright microwave with lemons and water

Vinegar Steam Solution

Vinegar is a versatile household product. It can be diluted and mixed to create a simple organic cleaner to wipe down surfaces.

Follow these simple steps to easily clear the air with just a bit of vinegar and water:

  1. Add a few tablespoons of vinegar to a small glass of water. For especially pungent smells, add one extra tablespoon of vinegar.
  2. Microwave the mixture for approximately 90 seconds on high, making sure it reaches the boiling point and starts to steam.
  3. Leave the door of the microwave closed for a few minutes so the steam has time to take full effect and loosen any grime.
  4. Remove the glass from the microwave and use a damp cloth to wipe the microwave interior clean.
  5. Keep the door open for a few minutes to allow the lingering vinegar smells to disperse.

Lemon Water Solution

Some people truly dislike the smell of vinegar. If that's you, this method offers a less offensive, alternative way to remove your microwave's burnt smell. And it only takes water and lemon.

For the lemon water solution, follow these simple steps:

  1. Combine half a cup of water with a squeeze of lemon.
  2. Heat the bowl of lemon water to the point that it creates steam. Typically, about 90-120 seconds should do the trick.
  3. Keep the microwave door shut to allow steam to take effect.
  4. Open the door and remove the bowl, wiping down the interior sides with a damp cloth.
  5. Also use the lemon water mixture to wipe down the interior cavity.

Extra Tips

  • Wipe away any splatters as soon as the microwave cools down. Even if it's not burnt, it can create buildup that has the potential to grow bacteria.
  • Always use a microwave-safe bowl for your solutions. Any metals will spark, which can cause a fire hazard.
  • Use a non-abrasive cloth to wipe the microwave down. Whether your microwave has an enamel or stainless steel cavity, this will preserve the interior finish.
Be sure to check out Abt's comprehensive microwave buying guide to learn more about this home appliance.

Solutions to Remove Burnt Smell from the Home

Clean up image of a above range microwave
If you have an over the range microwave built into a cabinet, the burnt smell will likely spread to more areas than just the microwave's interior cavity. Open cabinet doors to dissipate the burnt smell and keep smoke from absorbing into wood fibers. Remove all cookware items if you can. If you find the smell has still not gone away, wipe down these areas as well.
The smell can also linger inside the microwave's filter, which causes it to reignite the next time it's used–even if you follow the solutions mentioned above. This should eventually go away, but here are some basic steps to clean a microwave filter:
  1. Unplug the microwave and, using the tab, pull to remove the filter.
  2. Next, place half the filter in boiling water (mixed with a few teaspoons of dish soap and half a cup of baking soda).
  3. Once the first half is clean of grease, flip it to complete the other side. You should see a visible difference on the clean side.
  4. After cleaning, rinse and set aside to dry before placing it back.
Although these steps are for an over the range microwave, the same steps apply for a grease filter on standard range hood microwaves.


Hopefully, this gives you an idea of how to get that burnt smell out of your microwave and your home, too!
To prevent this smelly mishap from happening again, set a timer. Keep an eye on what you're heating up and don't walk away or get distracted by the big game or your favorite TV series.
Next time, you'll be able to sit and enjoy your meal without the worry of clean-up afterward.