Share Crafts

Removing Odors from the Microwave

Photo of a white microwave oven.

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.


Solutions: Removing Odors from the Microwave

Read and rate the best solutions below by giving them a "thumbs up".

Tip: Making Your Microwave Clean and Odor Free

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

Tip: Baking Soda for Smelly Microwave

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

Tip: Use Spices and Extract to Deodorize Your Microwave

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 your favorite spice like cinnamon or add several drops of vanilla or lemon extract. Bring to a boil. Let it sit inside for 10 to 15 minutes to cool down. Simply wipe the walls down with paper towels. Leave the door open to further air it out.

Tip: Use Lemon Juice For Microwave Odors

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.

If the smell continues, I make a paste with the juice and water mixture and baking soda and scrub the interior of the microwave. I let this paste sit for 10 minutes the wipe off and rinse. Then my microwave is clean and odor free.

If you leave the door open for a little while after you cook something, the smell will go away on its own also.

By Regenia from Richmond, TX

Tip: Rubbing Alcohol To Remove Smells from Microwave

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. Then clean with soap and water.

Source: A friend from my job taught me this trick.

By Josie Anne from DuBois, PA

Tip: Coffee Grounds to Remove Odors in the Microwave

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.

So I left a small plate with coffee grounds in the microwave overnight, and was very happy to discover that the smell was totally gone. This morning, I stirred the grounds up and put it back in the microwave (not taking any chances).

Tip: Removing Odors From the Microwave

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 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.

By JodiT from Aurora, CO

Give a "thumbs up" to the solution that worked the best! Do you have a better solution? Click here to share it!


Here are questions related to Removing Odors from the Microwave.

Question: Removing Burnt Smell From Microwave

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.

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


By Haily from Pittsburgh, PA

AnswerWas this interesting? Yes No


Best Answers

By Melanie Jackson [1] 10/19/2010

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. :)

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By Louise B. [6] 10/21/2010

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.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By Cindy [3] 11/29/2010

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.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

Question: Removing a Burned Smell from a Microwave

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


Most Recent Answer

By Frugal Sunnie [11]11/10/2011

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:)

Question: Getting Rid of Carpet Deodorizer Odor in Microwave

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

Most Recent Answer

By Debbie10/13/2011

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!

Question: Removing Odors from Microwave

I need to know how to get a smell out of my mircowave.

By Bea

Most Recent Answer

By Laura Adams05/18/2011

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.

Question: Removing Burnt Odor In Microwave

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

Most Recent Answer

By Dinah Ackerson [4]03/18/2015

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.

Question: Removing Odor from Microwave

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

By Kath

Most Recent Answer

By Laura11/01/2014

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.

Question: Burnt Popcorn Smell in Microwave

How do I remove burnt popcorn smell from a microwave?

By Lidia F.

Most Recent Answer

By Janette [91]05/27/2013

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.

Question: Microwave Odour

My microwave was not being used for almost a year and now I've started using it, but it smells badly. I tried cleaning it using soda and then I heat on high lemon juice and then cleaned with lemon juice, it but didn't work. Please help

By Grace from Lilongwe, Malawi

Most Recent Answer

By Frugal Sunnie [11]04/08/2013

You can try microwaving a measuring cup amount (or two) of vinegar-put the vinegar into a microwave safe glass container and set the timer for five minutes, ten if you use two cups.

If that doesn't neutralise the odor you need to consider the possibility that something has died in the concealed parts of your microwave. If you are at all 'handy' you can try carefully unscrewing the housing surround and visually inspecting the area for bodies. Mice are smaller than you'd think and have been known to squeeze into tiny places and die.

It happens, especially to stored things in a sub-tropical climate like Malawi's. You may need to replace the microwave.

Question: Burnt Garlic Smell in the Microwave

I burnt garlic in the microwave. I need help with the smell.

By Theresa B

Most Recent Answer

By ofarrellsaus04/11/2012

Cut lemons into wedges and place into a bowl of water, turn on microwave and boil the water and lemons in microwave for 2 mins on high. The citric acid of the lemons soaks up the odors.

Question: Getting Rid of Burnt Smell in Microwave

I was home alone and decided to make a microwave mac and cheese and it burnt and it smells bad. I tried microwaving lemon slices and vinger and it didn't work. What should I do? I need something quick, please help me.

    By polowd [1]

    Question: Removing the Smell of Burnt Bacon in Microwave

    How do I get the burnt smell of bacon from my microwave?

    By Sharon

    Question: Using a Microwave With Burnt Food Odor

    Is it harmful to keep using a microwave when food has been burnt and you keep smelling the fumes?

    By Marilyn W.


    Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.

    Archive: Removing Odors From Your Microwave

    To get rid of smells in your microwave, cut half a lemon up into several small pieces and place in a cup of water. Add a couple of whole cloves. Place this in the microwave and boil for 5 minutes.

    By Lisa

    Freshening a Stinky Microwave

    Have a stinky microwave? Just quarter a lemon and put it in a microwave-safe dish along with some water and cook on high for 2 minutes. (11/22/2004)

    By Robin

    Archive: Removing Odors From Your Microwave

    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 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.

    By JodiT from Aurora, CO