Removing Odors from the Microwave

Microwaves can pick up odors from the foods that you cook, especially if they get burnt. It is unappealing to use a microwave that smells bad. This is a guide about removing odors form the microwave.
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February 7, 2011 Flag
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Alright, my name is Haily. I'm 15 years old. So just recently, tonight, I got hungry and I really wanted macaroni and cheese. So, my mom got those little mac'n'cheese cups that go in the microwave. Well, being as stupid as I am, I put the cup in the microwave, forgetting to put water in it. I put it in the microwave for 2 minutes like they say. And well, it completely like melted, and burned the noodles to a crisp.

I was home alone, so my parents didn't find out at first, so I opened the windows and doors and aired out the house. But I'm worried about getting the smell out of the microwave. We have one of those wall built in things, and my parents said that if I couldn't get the smell out of the microwave that I'm paying with my own money to get it fixed.

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Now I'm looking for help. Not comments from people telling me that I'm irresponsible.
So, please, help?

--xoxo

By Haily from Pittsburgh, PA

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October 19, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

My answer to everything: Oranges! Always keep some on hand for just such disasters as burning food in the kitchen. Cut an orange into fourths, and heat it in the microwave just until it's hot enough to give the oven an orangey smell, do not burn it, or you'll have two problems. Cut two or three more oranges up, and lay them on plates elsewhere in the kitchen. The citrus odor will eventually overpower the burnt odor, and your sanity will be restored. :)

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October 21, 20100 found this helpful
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I think it eventually goes away on its own. The kids at school used to burn popcorn on a fairly regular basis -- and the microwaves didn't smell for too long.

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November 29, 20100 found this helpful
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Are you certain that the microwave is safe to use after an internal fire? If so, here's a suggestion.

Leave a large (microwave safe) mixing bowl, with a couple of cups of white vinegar in the microwave overnight. (Door closed.) The next day, add some water and heat til the liquid boils. (Watch closely, you don't want to boil dry and start another fire.) Don't open the door and let it steep for 10 to 20 minutes. Once the liquid has cooled to warm, use a clean rag, dipping it into the water/vinegar mix and wringing it out, to wipe down the interior. You may have to repeat the boil and cool routine.

If it smells better, but you notice the smokey smell returning after regular use, it's probable that there is more damage than you thought and the oven is damaged to the point of being a fire hazard. If this happens, unplug the microwave and discontinue use until it is professionally repaired or just replace it. It's not worth the electrical fire risk to keep using it as is.

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August 7, 2011 Flag
6 found this helpful

Put one cup of water into a two cup measuring cup. Add about 1/4 cup of lemon juice. Microwave on high until water starts to boil (about 2 - 3 minutes). Let stand for another few minutes before opening the door. Remove measuring cup. Wipe down sides and bottom of microwave removing food particles. The result is a clean and clean smelling microwave.

I do this once a week when I do my Friday cleaning. If I spill something earlier in the week, I clean that up immediately.

By Hester from Chesterfield, MI

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August 8, 20110 found this helpful

Save the lemon juice to use in cooking. Zest that lemon before squeezing out the juice, and freeze the zest in a small plastic bag to use later in baking or cooking.

Use the rinds to clean the microwave oven. Place them in a microwavable bowl of water, bring it to a boil in the microwave (time needed to do that depends entirely on your own microwave oven). After it boils for 30 seconds, you can stop the process and just allow the bowl to sit inside for about 5-10 minutes, then remove and clean the oven.

And you still have the lemon juice and zest.

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August 8, 20110 found this helpful

I have tried to submit ideas but they never go through. For years I have kept a small opened box of baking soda in my microwave when it isn't being used. It takes but a second to put it back inside once I've finished using the microwave. I have smelled horrible odors in office and some home microwaves. Just wiping it down does not guarantee it will be odor free. Popcorn leave a smell, as do things like chili and spaghetti sauce. But the little box of baking soda remedies that and is handy to snuff a fire on the range top.

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August 9, 2011 Flag
3 found this helpful

For years I have kept a small opened box of Arm and Hammer baking soda in my microwave oven. I completely remove the top of the box before putting it in the microwave. Things like popcorn, pizza, etc., can leave a smelly microwave oven, and it's such a simple thing to do so the smells vanish.

I happened upon the idea one day while I was putting baking soda boxes into my fridge/freezer. And it dawned on me that maybe it would work in the microwave.

By Roberta S. from San Antonio, TX

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August 10, 20110 found this helpful

Take it out before you cook!

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October 15, 20130 found this helpful

I burnt popcorn in the microwave. The smell is awful. I used a product called Freshana. Organic and totally works. The web site is www.FreshanaOrganic.com

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September 27, 2007 Flag

To get rid of the awful lingering smell of burnt microwave popcorn, fill a large microwave-safe bowl with one cup of water and sprinkle...

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December 28, 2007 Flag
1 found this helpful

I cooked some corn dogs that were old and frost bitten. Boy, did I burn 'em. Anyway, I had a hard time getting the smell out of the microwave. Tried everyone's tricks and tips. They reduced the odor, but it was still present, especially when I'd microwave something else.

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August 3, 2011 Flag

Lots of food smells linger in the microwave for a long time. To combat those odors and leave your microwave smelling fresh, use lemon essential oil. Just put a cup of water into a microwave-safe glass container...

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November 8, 2011 Flag
0 found this helpful

I burned a piece of coffee cake. (10 minutes instead of 10 seconds) I have read all the great ideas about removing burn odors, however they seem to involve heating a liquid in the offending microwave. Because the fan was involved, it caused the whole microwave to shut down and resulted in a repair bill. While waiting for the replacement parts, I would like to remove the odor so I can use it when it is repaired. The microwave is built in, so taking it outside is not an option. Thank you for any help you can give this old lady.

By Arlene

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November 9, 20110 found this helpful

I use my if nothing else works paste; it is 1/2 toothpaste and 1/2 baking soda (I came upon it because I was out of cream of tartar) scrub it out good. Then put a bowl of baking soda in it. If any of the odor isn't cleaned from the microwave nothing you do will be permanent fix. So clean well first. You can use tea tree oil in this also it has stronger smell. Then the baking soda will absorb all of the left over burnt smell. Works well with badly burnt popcorn. Luck to you!

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November 10, 20110 found this helpful

Another way to remove the burn odor from your microwave is to wipe down the interior with a half water-half vinegar solution.

Then pour a quarter to a half cup of straight vinegar into a shallow bowl, place it inside the microwave, close the door, and leave it at least overnight. You should wake up to a nice odor free microwave.

LOL, ask me how I know:)

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September 21, 20160 found this helpful

Mine smells like burnt plastic

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March 17, 2015 Flag
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I set my micowave for 2-1/2 minutes and then ran to the hardware store. Upon returning I thought the house was on fire. I apparently set it for a far longer time. The food was charcoal and the plate it was on splintered into hundreds of pieces. I spent weeks cleaning the kitchen, but the microwave smells burnt when it is used. The roof of the microwave is black and can not be cleaned. Any ideas?

By topato

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March 18, 20150 found this helpful

From your description, it appears your microwave may be shot. Even if it works now, you do not know what happened in the rather drastic burning event (!) and the oven may have a problem not yet apparent now. If it were me, I would buy a new one now to be safe.

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April 2, 2012 Flag

I first mix fresh lemon juice and water in a microwave safe cup or bowl and put it into the microwave. Run on high for 2 minutes, then wait 2 more minutes before removing the mixture.

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August 10, 2011 Flag
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To removing fishy and burnt smells from a microwave, use a little rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball and rub. This cleans it right up and kills the smell. You may want to leave the microwave open for a few minutes, until the alcohol smell dissipates.

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October 29, 2014 Flag
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My microwave smells like old milk, but it's only 6 weeks old and I clean it every day.

By Kath

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November 1, 20140 found this helpful

Try the following: Cut up a lemon put it in a cup add water to at least halfway up. Set the microwave to run for at least 3 or 4 minutes. Then let it sit unopened for a good 10 minutes. Carefully take the cup out (it will be really hot still) then wipe out all surfaces in the unit, including the ceiling, walls under the plate, the door etc...

If this doesn't work, take a box of baking soda and put in the micro and let it sit in there for several days. If you use the unit, take out the baking soda and then put it back in when done. Remember you can use the baking soda for other applications after... pour some down each drain followed by a 1/4 cup of vinegar. You can through a scoop of it in to smelly laundry.

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October 10, 2011 Flag
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My 82 year old mother recently was baking potatoes in our microwave and put the timer on for a ungodly amount and burnt them to a crisp. The whole house smelled of burnt food, the cabinets and microwave. My mother decided to use carpet deodorizer inside the microwave to get the odor out.

She swears she "rinsed it all out good", but my husband and I have our doubts that it's even safe to continue to use the microwave with the carpet freshener smell inside. I Googled everything I could think of but came up with no answers. So I ran across this site when Googling smoke odors. Does anyone know if the smell will be dangerous to the foods we microwave inside? And if so can we still use something to get rid of it to make it usable again? Any help would be appreciated, thanks.

By Gwen72 from PA

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October 12, 20110 found this helpful

Earlier this year I copied tips from 2 different TF members for deodorizing a microwave.

1 - To combat those odors and leave your microwave smelling fresh, use lemon essential oil. Just put a cup of water into a microwave-safe glass container and add 4 drops of lemon oil. Microwave the bowl on high for 2 minutes; keep the microwave door closed until the water is cooled a little, about 10 minutes.

2 - To clean your microwave, take a bowl of water and add a half cup of lemon juice. Place in microwave for 3 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes or so to loosen the dirt inside and wipe clean. This makes all the dirt and grime come off a lot easier. (Note from me: This tip is for cleaning, but it should deodorize as well. If there is grime on the inside surfaces, it should be cleaned off, since the grime probably absorbed the odors as well, and would release the odor again when heated.)

(Sorry, I didn't record the names of those who sent in these tips.)

I would try either method. You might have to repeat a few times, but hopefully you can salvage your microwave oven. Good luck!

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October 13, 20110 found this helpful

Try microwaving a cup of vinegar for one minute, let it sit overnight, without opening the door. Hope this helps.

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October 13, 20110 found this helpful

If the lemon method does not work, try vinegar. I heat a cup of vinegar in the microwave for 3 minutes and let cool for a few minutes before opening the microwave. It will loosen everything up and it should get rid of most smells, too. Good luck!

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May 18, 2011 Flag
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I need to know how to get a smell out of my mircowave.

By Bea

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May 18, 20110 found this helpful

I like to put a dish of water with some cloves, cinnamon, and an orange or lemon slice (or two) inside and microwave it for 3 minutes. Then, while it is still warm and steamy inside, I wipe it out, the steam will loosen the gook. (Repeat the process, if necessary, but make sure your water doesn't boil dry.) Leave the door open for a while. If the odor persists, and you know the microwave is clean, put a small dish of dry coffee (unused grounds) inside, close the door. Store the coffee in there for a few days, taking it out only when you need to use the microwave.

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May 18, 20110 found this helpful

White vinegar will work, too. Place 1 cup each of vinegar and water in a 1 quart microwavable glass measuring cup and micro on high for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the container, it will be hot! Wipe down the walls with a dry cloth. The vinegar smell will be overwhelming, but will disappear when the surfaces have dried, leaving your micro odor free.

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May 23, 2013 Flag
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How do I remove burnt popcorn smell from a microwave?

By Lidia F.

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May 27, 20130 found this helpful

Cut up a lemon and put it in a bowl with some water. Should be half full. Cook until water boils. Let sit until cool. The lemon is a natural deodorizer. The steam helps the lemon smell circulate in the microwave. I used this method when I cooked salmon in my microwave. Worked like a charm. Hope this helps.

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