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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


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By Melanie Jackson 1 373 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. :)

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By Louise B. 6 2,526 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.

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By Cindy 3 287 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.

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By diane0514 6 6 02/08/2011

I have heard that leaving charcoal in the microwave, fridge etc., takes the odor out. Good luck.

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By gramma 1 02/08/2011

Gee Haily I bet you were really scared! That could have burned your house down. I hope you learned a lesson about paying attention to what you are doing from now on. Using vinegar for now, get lemon juice next and try to get rid of smell. Hope you have a lot of money saved up! This gramma had the very same thing happen last night. What a coincidence!

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By Lilac 20 1,333 02/09/2011

Accidents happen to anyone. If you have washed the inside good then the smell is in the vents. You will have to get that out Put a little vinegar water in a cup and heat for one minute then let it sit in there overnight. If that doesn't work but sone cinnamon water in a cup and try that. Eventually it will go away.

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By bmd 1 46 02/09/2011

Haily, I want you to do me a favor. Please never think or refer to yourself as stupid again, okay? Your request to TF for advice is actually one of the most well-written I've seen here and you're only 15! The advice about vinegar and/or lemon juice from others is good and it sounds as though you've learned your lesson about taking time to really be sure of what you're doing before using any kind of machine or appliance. Stay safe and keep in touch with TF. There's lots of good advice here about lots of things. :-)

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By Paula Jo C. 24 252 02/09/2011

Heating vinegar as told already will work but so will charcoal you use for your grill outside. Good luck to you - my 78 year old mother-in-law did the same thing a few mornings ago with a sausage biscuit, so accident can happen to anyone.

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By Denise 6 115 02/09/2011

I agree with the vinegar. I sprayed just a bit of apple cider vinegar on the walls of the microwave and left it closed all night. The smell was gone in the morning. Hope the smell goes away for you!

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By ButterHalf 1 04/03/2011

Haily: Guess what? I'm 55 years old and just did the exact same thing yesterday! Which is why I am on this site! I Googled this same question and found my way to ThrifyFun which I didn't know existed. So, your accident helped me find an excellent site and great help! See, there's always a silver lining!

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By KIM A TERRY 3 05/25/2011

I am sorry your parents are taking it so harshly. Trust me, accidents happen to all of us especially when we are first learning to do something new. The smell will go away, but it will take a couple of days.

To help speed up the process wipe the inside "don't forget the top and the inside of the door" with lemon juice or white vinegar. Then place a microwaveable bowl or cup of white vinegar in the microwave for a couple of minutes, leave the door closed for 5 minutes after it is done. Then wipe down the inside with Vinegar once a day until the smell is gone. The smell will go away. :)

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By Phylll 1 08/02/2011

Haily, I'll be 67 soon and just did a stupider thing than you ever thought of, and that is why my boyfriend found you. He was looking for a solution for my stench. I made bacon. I have always used paper towels under and over.

This time I had a bunch of flimsy napkins I wanted to use up. They caught fire. Heck of a nasty mess. I'm so glad you solicited all these great remedies. I'm going to use them all. Thank all of you for your understanding and kindness to us dummies. Phyl

PS Wish I'd thought to take a picture. I really wanted that bacon, too.

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By LaShiquewa 1 10/16/2011

This is a really great trick that will take out the odor in no time. Take a bag of popcorn and open it up, dump the kernels into the microwave and turn it on. As the kernels pop, they will soak up the smell and you'll be fine. I wouldn't recommend eating the popcorn though, through it out after its been sitting fully popped in the microwave for five or ten minutes.

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By Atondra ChocolateSwirl C. 1 10/23/2014

10.23.14 I don't have an answer and been trying to Google one. I just had to reply to this post because my 11 y/o daughter did the EXACT SAME THING on Tues and I'm trying to get the smell out of the microwave with NO luck. I can get the smoke out of the house, its just that every time you use the microwave the burn smell is emitted and that cant be healthy smelling that all the time.

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Here are questions related to Removing Burnt Smell From Microwave.

Question: Burnt Odor in Microwave

I was making one of those noodle microwave dishes (the black tray ones), I opened it up and put the dried vegetables in the container and put it in the microwave for 5 minutes. When there was a minute and something left, my kitchen was filled with smoke. I couldn't see inside microwave and the plastic tray melted. Now I have yellow staining and a nasty smell in my microwave. I also need help getting the gunk off the top of the microwave.

By Dedra

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Most Recent Answer

By Dana 3 2 01/03/2013

Easy solution to both problems...
Using a glass microwave safe bowl fill 3/4 full of water, add 2 spoon fulls of baking soda then place half a lemon in the bowl (if you don't have a fresh lemon use lemon juice or lemon essential oil)
Set microwave for 4 minutes them allow 3 minutes after to steam.

Remove the bowl ( use pot holders )
The lemon/ baking soda water mix loosens all mess inside and it will wipe clean with a paper towel.

I suggest after cleaning that you fill a small bowl with baking soda and a couple drops lemon oil (optional) and leave it in the oven when its not in use, this absorbs all odors and keeps it smelling fresh. Change once a month, I use the old soda down my kitchen sink to deodorize the garbage disposal too.

Good luck.

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Question: Removing Burned Smell from Microwave

My microwave smells and is stained after burning corn dogs. How do I clean it?

By Linda

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Most Recent Answer

By Mary00 1 10 03/31/2012

To help with the smell I would suggest using the lemon as the other poster suggested but also baking soda. I placed baking soda on a plate about two cups worth spread out over the plate and left in microwave over night. The next day I re-cleaned, re-lemoned and placed a new plate with fresh baking soda and left it over night.

Took about five days of cleaning using lemon and baking soda to put a dent in the burnt popcorn smell. I had a brown stain that I never was able to get rid of fully.

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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 comments that were provided then.

Archive: Removing Burnt Smell From Microwave

I was recently given a microwave oven and it has a burnt smell. The previous owner was heating up a wheat bag and it burnt and now the oven has an unpleasant smell.

How can I remove the smell?


Vinegar and Lemon 01/05/2005
Wipe the inside completely with vinegar and water and rinse. Then chop up a lemon and put in a microwave safe dish with a cup of water. Heat on high for two or three minutes and let stand for 5 more. Repeat as required, but don't burn the lemon!

Good luck.

By beanygurl
Vanilla 01/05/2005
I have had that problem with garlic! It smelled horrible. But if you take and place a container of water with about 1 tbsp. of vanilla in it and heat until boiling. Leave it in the microwave for about an hour and then if it is not completely gone, repeat it a few times and it will disappear. It only took once on mine. It was great!
By MissMichelle
Tea Bags 01/21/2005
My uncle came into town with a bag of microwaveable pork rinds (I know, don't ask!) when he left them in there about 30 seconds too long (as if it makes a difference with pork skin!). Well, actually it did make a difference because now it smells, as a neighbor put it, like burnt hair. I gave up hope on the microwave untll a friend told me about putting three tea bags in 10 ounces of water and heating it until it boiled. The burnt hair smell is gone. Hope this helps!
By Chauncey Gardner (Guest Post)
RE: Removing Burnt Smell From Microwave 02/25/2006
Is the individual who posted on Jan 21, 2005 REALLY named Chauncey Gardner, or was this an alias taken from "Being There", a short novel made into a movie starring Peter Sellers.

Just curious. Thanks

Editor's Note: Because Chauncey Gardner posted as a Guest (anonymous) we really don't know nor do we have any way to contact this person. We encourage posters to register so we are able to contact them if necessary or ask them questions about their posts but just as you have Darryl, Guest posters we have no way to contact. Susan from ThriftyFun(/b)

By Daryl B. GUEST POST (Guest Post)

Archive: Removing Burnt Smell From Microwave

My son cooked Easy Mac in my microwave, but forgot to add water. Now my microwave really reeks!


Archive: Removing Burnt Smell From Microwave

One of my daughters burnt popcorn in our brand new microwave. I have tried everything to get rid of the burnt smell, but it is still there. Items we cook or defrost in the microwave now seem to have a burnt popcorn taste. It is clean, but I think the smell has gotten into the 'guts' of it and in the fan area where I can't clean.

I have already tried:

cleaning with mild detergent
placing a bowl of fabric softener in it
using baking soda in it over night
using vinegar and water, and running it for a few minutes

April from NW Missouri

RE: Removing Burnt Smell From Microwave

Get a clean spray bottle & some enzymatic cleaner (often sold in the pet supplies). Follow the directions on the cleaner bottle, if it's the type that needs to be diluted. Put the resulting liquid in the spray bottle & spray the inside of your microwave liberally. Allow it to stay on for an hour or so & wipe off. Think about it, if this stuff removes cat urine odors, popcorn is no problem! (02/04/2008)

By Been there-Done that!

RE: Removing Burnt Smell From Microwave

Oh my gosh, I think that I created the first taquito smoke bomb ever! And the smell was horrendous. I over cooked about six taquitos in the microwave (thanks to the dial deciding to go backwards). I used straight vinegar in a bowl, got it to the boiling point (about 5 minutes), then let it sit. I continued doing that for about an hour or so. The moisture from the boiling vinegar travels through the fan mechanism. The vinegar smell through the house will go way. No smell from microwave. Whewwww! (02/18/2008)

By BPayne

RE: Removing Burnt Smell From Microwave

I must say, I never realized how lethal popcorn can be when it burns. I tried the vinegar, and as I opened my microwave, I felt as though I couldn't breathe because the vinegar was so strong! At the same time, I didn't smell the burn odor. I am rinsing with Fabuloso, which has such a pleasant fragrance. (04/12/2008)

By Denise

RE: Removing Burnt Smell From Microwave

Heat vanilla extract in a bowl in the microwave for approximately 35 seconds. Turn off microwave, and leave door closed for 12 hours. (05/11/2008)

By Mary

Archive: Removing Burnt Smell From Microwave

How do you remove a burned smell from the microwave?

Sharon from Toledo, OH

RE: Removing Burnt Smell From Microwave

Slice a nice big lemon into a medium microwave-safe bowl of water. Pop it into the microwave and put it on for about 6-10 minutes. Let it sit in there until it's cool enough to handle, then wipe out the grime and have a freshened Microwave with no burnt smell on top of it.

I found this out when my daughter put cheese on a foam plate for three minutes....but it worked...even on burnt-plastic smell. (03/10/2009)

By Shosha

Archive: Removing Burnt Smell From Microwave

How do I get rid of burnt popcorn smell from the microwave?


Archive: Removing Burnt Smell From Microwave

I cooked a corn dog in the microwave and it burned. Filled the room with an acid smelling smoke.


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