Using too high a power setting or starting to heat your food and walking away, sometimes results in a burn marks in your microwave. This is a guide about cleaning a burnt microwave.
I sprayed the microwave with cleaner, and left it to soak. While it was soaking my husband thought it would be a good idea to use the microwave, and the cleaner has sort of burnt on, and there is a very strong chemical smell that I cannot get rid of. Also the whole inside of the microwave has stained yellow.
I've tried cleaning it with plain water as I'm nervous about adding to the chemical smell. Anyone have any ideas? Especially about the yellow stain.
Joanne from Manchester, England
By guest (Guest Post) Flag
January 18, 2008
After trying the suggestions here, remember that most mftgr. warn against any sort of chemical to clean microwaves, so just use soft sponge and a little soap next time. Good luck. : )
How do I clean a microwave oven that had a burnt popcorn melt down? There are lots of yellow areas that look horrible.
March 19, 2011
I wouldn't use acetone around a heat source, that could be very dangerous! To remove odors, put a couple of tablespoons of baking soda in a bowl with a cup or two of water, and let it go on high for about 5 mins. This should help take the smell away. Remove the bowl carefully! Now your oven is nice and moist, and will be easy to wipe down with a bit of vinegar and/or lemon juice. No chemicals, no cost. By the way, a plain bag of popcorn is so much cheaper and healthier, not to mention you can flavor it in so many ways if you do it yourself on the stovetop.
I was heating a dry towel in my microwave and the towel burnt and left burn marks on the inside of the microwave. I put baking soda and vinegar inside to take away the odor. It doesn't have an odor unless I have something something in for longer than 5 minutes, then the microwave has that burnt smell. I'm sure it's because I can't get the burnt marks off. I've tried a baking soda paste and even a soapy Brillo pad, but I just can't get the stains off. Is there anything short of buying a new microwave that someone could suggest?
By Nancy W.
May 26, 2014
We had a burn mark in our new microwave due to a small metal tie around a package of frozen hamburger rolls. We tried all the products we learned on the internet. Nothing worked. I then remembered the Quixx scratch remover I had bought for a scratch on our car. I followed the directions and it really removed the burn mark and all the discoloration. We were amazed.
I burned popcorn in my microwave and the inside is now stained yellow. Does anyone have any ideas on how to get this out?
I heated up a microwaveable bean bag (the kind you put around your neck, or on your feet), for too long and it burnt to black char. The microwave was filled with smoke. Is the burnt beanbag toxic? And will I be able to cook food in it again safely?
By Suzi J.
Help please. Can anyone let me know how to get a mark from a roasting bag off my stainless steel microwave oven? I hope you can help. Thank you.
My son cooked noodles in the microwave, but didn't add water so on cooking they caught fire and have left a burnt yellow looking colour to the inside.
By betray 1
Thanks for all the great suggestions. Vinegar and lemons didn't really help. Neither did the coffee. A Hot Pocket burnt to charcoal as was the plate.
On hearing the suggestions to cook food, I popped four bags of popcorn and right now anyway, that's the predominant smell. I am also perking coffee on the stove below. The house now smells like popcorn and coffee, far better than burnt charcoal. I'm going to continue to pop popcorn and get some bacon to cook. Also I used an erase away pad on the yellowed interior. It is almost perfect. I will get Simple Green. Thanks again.
By hui zhi 1
How do I clean a burnt microwave? There is a brown and yellowish stain on the surface. Thank you.
By hui zhi from Malaysia
My son tried to burn up my Microwave the other day with microwave popcorn. It has been almost 1 month and I still can't get the smell out of my microwave. I've cleaned, scrubbed it. I even put a lemon in water and turn it on for 1 minute increments. It didn't help. I would appreciate any and all helpful hints. Really am getting tired of the smell.
Karen in PA
Put a bowl of vinegar in the microwave and turn it on so that it will steam, probably 1 or 2 minutes depending on your machine. Let it sit in there for 10 minutes and wipe it out with clear water. It seems to really help. Also make sure any removable parts are run through the dishwasher or washed well.
Hope this helps. (01/28/2003)
I used the water/baking soda combo for 2 increments of 2 minutes each. The smell isn't that strong anymore, and it also helped me wipe away what the cleanser couldn't get. Thanks for the tip! (02/13/2005)
How can you get rid of that disgusting BURNT POPCORN smell in the microwave?
Pour 1 1/2 cups of water into a large microwave-safe bowl. Then add 1/2 sliced lemon & 4 to 7 cloves. Bring to a boil and let sit in the microwave for at least 10 minutes. Take out and leave the door open for a while so it can air out. THis should work. (04/20/2005)
Tried the vanilla and water boiled for 3 minutes. Then wiped at out with bleach and water. Thanks for the help jockocheeze. (07/02/2005)
One word, Acetone. The power of the carbonyl group is wonderful (for the organic chemist out there!) (08/20/2005)
So our babysitter tried to burn the house down with a bag of popcorn a week ago. So far nothing had helped until I read this discussion thread. The boiling of water and baking soda didn't seem to do much. However, I found 100% pure Acetone (nail polish remover) at Albertson's and it seems to have helped remove the yellow stains. It's not as white as new but a major improvement. I used a sprayer from another cleaner bottle, after rinsing it clean, and that helped spread the acetone. I sure hope this helps the smell too. Careful because acetone is some strong stuff, make sure your windows are open and fans are on.
By Kerry Brown
I used Comet, the scratch free kind in the yellow container, wet a paper towel or 2, poured the Comet on and burnt stuff came right off. The reason I'm on this site however is the smell. I think I have a few tricks now after reading some of your suggestions! Hope one works!(02/03/2006)
I came here this afternoon to ask the same question about a yellow/brown stain from popcorn in my microwave. I got a new microwave two years ago today. About a week later I tried out the "popcorn" button that was supposed to be pre-programmed for a store-bought bag of microwave popcorn. Well, instead of yummy popcorn, I got a burning mess that left a brown/yellow stain on the whole left inside wall of the oven.
I was really upset! I tried everything, oxiclean, bleach, baking soda, you name it. The smell went away within a few days of cooking, but the stain lasted. I had a service guy here from the manufacturer for another problem with the microwave and he said "Oh, you'll never get rid of that popcorn stain".
As I said, I came here today to ask about getting rid of the stain. I tried acetone and it worked! I used cotton balls, a sponge and then a "scotch-brite" pad (the green nylon things that don't scratch) and it's gone! My microwave looks as good as new!
Thank you so much for the suggestions here and to whomever keeps this board/site running. What a great resource! By the way, when the stain was all gone, I soaked a washcloth with vinegar and wiped all the inside surfaces with it. Then I used some soap and water on the inside surfaces. I let that dry, then did the little trick with the vanilla and the inside smells fresh, no harsh odors, and the food cooked in the microwave came out smelling/tasting "normal".
Thanks again! (02/19/2006)
I got 100% Pure Acetone in a clear 16 oz bottle from Wal-Mart for $1.97. You can see the burnt spots dissolve into the fluid when you pour it on. But I'm dizzy from inhaling it. It takes about 30 minutes, so be well ventilated like in the garage or shade outside. Don't smoke. (04/12/2006)
I tried everything and nothing worked until I used Acetone. I even tried carburetor cleaner, engine degreaser and NON-flammable break cleaning fluid. I think the regular flammable break-cleaning fluid might work. Acetone is flammable also, but it dries (vaporizes) fast. Wet cloth the microwave with water anyway. (04/12/2006)
Inhaling Acetone warning:
By Bob #3
I tried microwaving some old carmel popcorn (didn't realize how old it was) & followed directions for 4 1/2 min. on high. Well none of it popped, but did turn my house into a smoke factory & my microwave oven into a brown mess inside. I tried the 1 cup water & vanilla thing & helped a little. Then I remembered my SIMPLE GREEN spray that I used to clean soot off of my wood stove. IT WORKED GREAT!! I just followed the can directions and waited 2 minutes and all of the brown came off without scrubbing, I think it will also help with the smell. This Simple Green is non-acidic, non-toxic and bio-degradable. (07/26/2006)
Did you leave that microwave popcorn in there too long? Do you have a brown, yucky mess? I did too! I tried one tip that barely worked, then I remembered using something to clean off the soot on the inside of my wood stove window. SIMPLE GREEN.
Yes, it's simple and it's in a green can. I like the fact that it's also non-acidic, non-toxic, and bio-degradable. And boy does it work! I used it to get off the brown stains in my microwave from really OLD popcorn. I sprayed it on, waited 2 minutes (if that), and wiped with a paper towel and that was it. No more brown stains! Hallelujah for Simple Green.
By Dustie Jackson from Tuscola, TX
The finger nail polish remover, acetone, to remove the yellow burnt stains works! Also, using it direct on a flat cosmetic swabs worked best, believe or not. Use your knuckles in the swab and quick strokes with the swab worked best. It will take a few times over, but now it looks like brand new. Thanks! (11/27/2005)
I first cleaned a lot of the yellowing off with laundry detergent, but the smell was still there. I didn't use acetone, but I did use fingernail polish remover...mine was non-acetone. It worked on the rest of the discoloring, and on most of the smell! (In just a few minutes. I'm steaming with some of the vanilla, just because I like that smell better. (10/16/2006)
Grandma burned some previously cooked chicken in the microwave, attempting to recycle it for the dog. Bad idea. Came home to billows of smoke and ghastly smell. The house cleared with airing and orange oil air fresheners. The microwave was more difficult. Cleaned the stains with nail polish remover (thank you!) followed by baking soda and water baths. Boiled vinegar (some better), followed by boiling water with lemon oil and vanilla several times a day. Everything helps a bit, but if it doesn't clear in another day or two, will soon be microwave shopping. (11/07/2006)
I have had this problem numerous times, mostly from burned popcorn, but today, from a burned brownie (the kind that come with microwaveable meals, I cut out the section with the brownie one day when I didn't want the brownie, and saved it for later, but when I tried to cook just the brownie portion today, I didn't adjust the cook time, and voila, instant house filled with thick smoke that smelled like pure burnt sugar).
I tried everything, from vinegar with baking soda to Windex to orange scented cleanser to Pine-Sol, and nothing worked to kill the lingering smell inside the microwave. I refused to admit defeat, because it's a brand new microwave! I'll save my rant about the popcorn button on it for some other forum, let's just say, the only way I can cook popcorn without burning it is to underpop the stuff. Microwave is too powerful for it's own good, and even reducing the power level doesn't help, because then the popcorn stops and starts popping a lot, which results in disaster.
Finally, I thought of something: Coffee absorbs odors! I put two tablespoons of freshly ground coffee into a ceramic coffee cup, and added enough water to bring it to about half full. When you do this, be sure to sit the coffee mug down into a microwave-safe ceramic or glass bowl or something, because it boils over all over the place). Put that in the microwave and nuke it for about two minutes (long enough for it to boil all over the place, or preferably into the bowl). It will splash out around the microwave some, but that's a good thing in my opinion!
Open the door, carefully remove the bowl and mug (carefully! It was boiling a second ago, remember?!) and sit it gently down into the sink to cool. Immediately wipe out the microwave with a damp cloth or paper towels, and if you have a pool of liquid in the bottom of the microwave, use a handful of paper towels to soak it up so you don't get any on yourself and burn yourself.
After you've wiped it all clean, poke your head in and smell the inside of the microwave. Smell anything other than a little coffee smell? Repeat if you need to, I had to do it twice, but the smell seems to be gone now!
I also wiped the inside down with some windex afterward to be sure I got all the coffee to prevent coffee stains. (11/15/2006)
By Lisa S.
The coffee trick really worked! I burned a bag of popcorn five days ago and tried EVERYTHING to try to get the smell and stains out, but nothing worked until now. The burnt smell is all gone now. I'm trying the Simple Green trick later on today for the remaining stains the oven cleaner didnt get. If that doesn't work I will graduate to acetone.
Thanks a million! That smell had been driving me CRAZY! (01/19/2007)
The inside of my microwave got very burnt, a microwave rice cooker burnt to cinders. It is very brown and burnt on the inside. What can I clean it with to get rid of the burnt look?
Patricia from Miami, Florida
I used a vinegar, water, and lemon juice spray first then scrubbed the hard to get off spots with a paste of baking soda and water using a toothbrush. It worked pretty well. I then left a bowl of baking soda in the microwave for a few days, that helped with the smell. (06/20/2007)
I wiped down the microwave with the nail polish remover 5 times and with Simple Green 2 times. They helped with the cavity of the micro, but not the air ventilation system, where the burnt smell stays. I tried the coffee grounds idea and did it twice for thoroughness. I have no more smell. The coffee method did leave a coating of coffee inside the cavity, but I just Windexed and wiped, and now I'm good as new. (09/16/2007)
As far as the odor, put it outside for a couple of days. This worked for us when our daughter burned Canadian bacon in ours. (11/03/2007)
After burning up a bag of popcorn, the stench was horrific. I thought I'd surely have to just replace the microwave. So, I tried the acetone. Took the yellow right off. Then I put a couple tablespoons of coffee in a mug, filled it half full of water; set that in another microwave bowl and let it go for 2 minutes on high. Smell is gone now too. I merely wiped it out with a damp soft towel and all is well in microwave land again. Thanks to all of you for your suggestions. (02/17/2008)
OK, so the acetone works well inside the microwave, but the smell didn't seem to be leaving the area. I realized it was because the vent fan circulated the burnt popcorn smell as well. Turning the fan on to high and sending some Febreze mist right into the intake (bottom of microwave above the stove top) seems to do the trick if you keep spraying some in every 5 minutes or so. (06/25/2008)
I well-overcooked the microwave popcorn. Thanks to all for the finger-nail polish remover. The microwave was badly yellowed and the nail polish did the trick. We used non-acetone and it worked just fine. For the smell, we heated the cut lemons, but still had a smell of hot lemon and nail polish smell, so I added some Cascade dishwashing liquid with lemon scent, just a few drops into the bowl with the lemons. Now we've got a clean detergent smell. Hope this last step helps someone else. PMV (07/14/2008)
The entire inside of my microwave oven is discolored with some scorch stains.
By Jef T. from L.A., CA Feedback: I had a similar problem with my microwave as well. I found out that you can buy spray paint made for appliances that can be used inside your microwave. I think I got mine at Lowe's, but perhaps you might be able to find it at many other places. Wishing you the best. (06/12/2009) By Connie H
RE: Cleaning a Burnt Microwave
I had a similar problem with my microwave as well. I found out that you can buy spray paint made for appliances that can be used inside your microwave. I think I got mine at Lowe's, but perhaps you might be able to find it at many other places. Wishing you the best. (06/12/2009)
By Connie H
My husband put a mug in the microwave and walked away. I was in the bedroom when I smelled smoked. When I came out it was on fire and the whole place was filled with smoke. I have tried cleaning it out, but it still remains black inside. Is it possible to get it white again?
By coseme from London, UK
Is the oven safe to use? It's probably "smoked", excuse the pun. It may be cheaper and safer to replace it. I don't think you will get the colour back to normal. You could try scrubbing it with an S.O.S. pad, but that may scratch the surface. (09/15/2009)
My husband put an aluminum foil pan in the microwave and there was a black burnt spot on the door. Can this be fixed? It is a new microwave/hood above the oven (3 months old) and I would really like to fix it instead of replacing the whole thing.
Ndassen from CA
You can try to remove the black marks with some mild chemical and a steel sponge, but it will never be like new again I guess. (02/24/2008)
If it's just a surface scorch and it hasn't pock marked the plastic coating on the inside of the door, try a plastic polish which can rub it away by abrading off a microscopic layer of the plastic while not hazing or scratching. Try an auto parts store. These polishes require a goodly amount of elbow grease and sometimes come in coarse, medium, and fine grit which have to be used in succession. (10/22/2008)
By Red Neck
I have the same problem. You get these crayon mark removers like Goof-Off from Home Depot, it removes burn marks from the microwave. (07/21/2009)
How do I clean a burnt microwave?
By Celine from Dublin, Ireland
If the microwave isn't literally burned up, only has the burnt-food smell, try cleaning it the usual way: that is, put a teacup of water with either dish soap or a slice of lemon, in. Heat it on high for several minutes to allow the water to boil and steam to fill the interior. Let set for a couple of minutes and scrub with a dishrag.
If it's bad, you may need a "scratch pad". The ones I use are stiff and sort of like nylon sandpaper. I guess you could also use a "scrunchy" type, but I personally wouldn't recommend steel wool. Some people prefer lemon, but I just dip a cup of my existing dishwater before I've begun washing the dishes.
Best to you. Erin Go Bragh! (11/21/2009)
Aha. I just learned what my scrubbie pad is called. Scotch Brite pads, the green ones. (11/21/2009)
I accidentally hit "potato" on my microwave when popping popcorn. Needless to say it was burned to a crisp and smoking like crazy. My fairly new microwave had a terrible odor. Then I realized candles burn up bad odors. I used the little votive candles. The first one seemed to help so I used another. I think it's working. Be sure not to turn the microwave on while the candle is in there. I even left the door cracked open a little. (12/17/2009)
I burnt some chow mein microwave noodles in my microwave really badly, plastic container and all. I used Easy Off Fume Free oven cleaner. I just sprayed it on and left for about 5 minutes then wiped clean with a sponge. Worked the best for the stains. It got a little of the smell too, but I used one part water to one part vinegar and boiled. This really helped with the smell. I'm glad I came to this site. Lots of helpful ideas. I'm really glad I'm not the only one who burns things really badly in microwaves. (01/17/2010)
Remove residue by completely washing out microwave with dish soap and water. Open a full box of baking soda and let it sit overnight. Removes the odors just like it does when sitting the box in a fridge. (02/05/2010)
I have a stain in the microwave from a burnt potato where it smoked and caught on fire and burned up black. The walls inside the microwave have turned to another color, like a brown tanish color. This is inside a Sears Kenmore microwave.
By Norma from Chicago, IL
I killed a microwave the same way. The question is not can you remove the stain from the microwave, you can't. You basically cooked the plastic until it was overdone, and now it's like a burnt cookie. My dad had a plastics business and I know whereof I speak.
The question is, can you safely use the microwave, or is it dead? I don't know the answer. (02/07/2010)
I used a vinegar, water, and lemon juice spray first then scrubbed the hard to get off spots with a paste of baking soda and water using a toothbrush. It worked pretty well. I then left a bowl of baking soda in the microwave for a few days, that helped with the smell. Good luck. (02/07/2010)
My little sister tried cooking a fish fillet in the microwave. It has a horrible burned smell now and the inside has been turned from white to yellow. We tried the steamed vinegar and lemon juice method, but no cigar. How do we fix this?
By Aliath from Wichita Falls, TX
Someone on this site recommended crumpled up newspapers for a refrigerator that had a persisted fishy odor. It worked like a charm, but I don't know how. I changed the newspapers for about three days until the smell was gone. The fish smell remained even after I washed my refrigerator down first using baking soda, etc. Nothing but newspapers worked.
Try it for a few days. Don't turn the microwave on; I don't know what would happen.
Also you might try a dish of coffee grains; not already brewed. Cover the disk with waxed paper and see what happens. You might get lucky!
I don't know about the color of your microwave through.
Have you tried baking soda? Maybe put a glass dish of baking soda in the microwave, cover it with waxed paper and warm up the microwave. Maybe you'll get lucky too!
Good luck! (05/05/2010)
Set charcoal briquettes on the inside and close for 24 hours. Set salt that has been sprinkled with essential lemon oil inside and let sit for 24 hours. Sprinkle baking soda all over and close and let sit for 24 hours. (05/12/2010)
You guys saved me! Microwave is only 6 weeks old and my husband hates it when I make popcorn. I can only sneak it when hes out of town. ;-) Yep I burnt it, badly. Nail polish remover worked great. Lots of dark yellow liquid just wiped away.
Then I tried the 2 tablespoons of ground coffee in 1/2 H2O.
It didn't bubble and steam like I expected, but the smell seems to be improving. I'm going to do lemon juice just in case.
Thanks again. (08/19/2010)
How do I get the black burnt discoloration out of my microwave? It was a result of my husband burning up a potato in the microwave. I have had some success with "Barkeeper's Friend", but wonder if there is another product besides vinegar/lemon/baking soda, bleach products, Mean Green cleaner, etc. I could use.
By Mommie Wal from Mass., OH