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Removing Yellow Stains from Inside a Microwave

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Burning food in your microwave can often leave unsightly yellow stains that are difficult to remove. This is a page about removing yellow stains from inside a microwave.


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February 24, 2010

I burnt up plastic in my microwave. Now the walls are yellow and I cannot get rid of the horrid smell.

By CARRIE1964 from San Marcos, CA


February 21, 20111 found this helpful

I used acetone (from nail polish remover) right after I burnt the popcorn in the microwave..and it did the job!

Reply Was this helpful? 1
May 7, 20135 found this helpful

I read all of these above and thought about getting some Acetone or Cutex. But, I keep Goof Off on hand. Goof Off will damage many plastics, but, the damage is usually limited to that of softening some of the color off non-white plastics. Since the original color of the inside of my 16 year old microwave that I've had for 15 years is white, and tonight, stained yellow, it shouldn't matter what Goof Off does. I tried it on a small area and it immediately cut through the yellow without hurting anything else. So I proceeded with it. Goof Off worked! My 16 year old microwave looks almost like new with a nice and clean white interior. Didn't need to leave it on for more than 30 seconds, and kept clean white paper towels in hand to keep the Goof Off any other plastics of a non-white color.

Reply Was this helpful? 5
March 27, 20141 found this helpful

Easy-off oven cleaner. Awful stains came off after about 30 minutes of soaking.

Reply Was this helpful? 1
July 22, 20171 found this helpful

yellow stain's all over microwave walls how to get rid of it?

Reply Was this helpful? 1
March 30, 20180 found this helpful

Where can I buy Goof Off to remove yellow stain from inside of microwave walls?

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
May 29, 20180 found this helpful

I tried using goof off and it does not work!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
November 10, 20181 found this helpful

You are a genius!!! We purchased Goof Off and Acetone.


The Goof Off worked like a charm and then we used Acetone. Thank you for taking the time to inform the public !!!!

Reply Was this helpful? 1
November 10, 20180 found this helpful

Ace Hardware

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
December 30, 20180 found this helpful

I burned a bag of popcorn in my microwave and it left a yellow stain. I put non acetone nail polish remover in a small spray bottle sprayed the surfaces and wiped away with a paper towel. It did the job and it's back to its original white color.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
May 6, 20190 found this helpful

Don't leave oven cleaner on for more then 10min it will take the coating off and rust the metal, found out the hard way

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
September 28, 20190 found this helpful

Can i use goof off for badly burnt all over my microwave its almost orange

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

March 19, 2007

(format_html) I burnt popcorn in the microwave, the smell is gone but the inside is yellow. What can I use to make it white again?




RE: Removing Yellow Stains From Inside Microwave

Softscrub with baking soda and water should get it out!

By Robyn

RE: Removing Yellow Stains From Inside Microwave

I do not have a solution, but let me tell you what does not work so you don't waste your time. I have been researching this on the internet since I burned popcorn in my mom's new $400 microwave. Lots of people like to respond to messages like yours with suggestions that "should" work... or tell you how they "clean their microwave" (in a general sense). But this is not general cleaning -- we are talking about THE YELLOW STAIN FROM BURNED POPCORN. No one seems to have a tested, proven solution.

So... what does NOT work:

1) "Try a little baking powder paste on a wet sponge and apply to the inside walls; let soak for 10 minutes with the door open, then with a wet sponge scrub the inside and then rinse well... let air dry with the door open. You might have to do this a few times if the first time doesn't clean it... also try a few drops of lemon in the rinse water to reduce the yellowing and get a fresh scent... ladydi"


I tried it and it doesn't work.

2)" I read at either ThriftyFun or in Heloise's hints that if you boil a cup of water with a teaspoon or so of vanilla. The steam will help clean the mess, and your microwave will smell like vanilla (instead of burnt popcorn). I've tried this method for cleaning my microwave, and it' gotten everything off."

Well apparently "everything" didn't include the yellow stain from burned popcorn which is what we are talking about.

3) "Baking soda water in the microwave will do it. Boil for 3 minutes and wipe it out. Jane"

No it doesn't.

4)"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, Susan"


It didn't help.

5)"GRANDMA'S TRIED AND TRUE VINEGAR RECIPE 5T Baking soda, 3 drops hand soap or liquid dish soap, 4T Distilled, White vinegar"

Obviously not tried and true for burned popcorn.

6)"I clean my microwave like this: Put a mug half full of water and stir in 2 spoons of baking soda. Put this in the microwave and turn it on to boil the water for about ten seconds. The steam will help loosen all the splatters. Carefully remove the mug and clean with baking soda/water paste and a sponge until clean. Rinse well."

I don't care how you clean your microwave... have you cleaned burned popcorn?

7)"I put a cup of water with lemon juice in the microwave for about the time to make a cup of tea.. then let it sit in there for about 15-20 min...and steam clean the microwave..not only will it get the smell out it will also make the food that has splatter just wipe right out."

There is no "food that has splatter" ... it's a yellow film which seems to have molecularly bonded to the microwave.

8)"I did the same thing w/lemon juice and water but I did not put it in a cup/mug. I soaked a wet hand towel in water, put a little lemon juice on it and warmed up the towel. It steamed up the microwave, loosened all the gunk, and gave it a fresh lemon smell. I used the same warm towel (or rag) and cleaned the microwave. This is what my book "talking dirty" said to do ,Smile"


I did the same thing and it burned the towel, did not really create much steam at all, and did not clean the stain whatsoever.

So... there you have saved yourself much disappointment. Don't bother trying any of those suggestions.

The question is this:

Has anyone out there actually had this same exact problem (YELLOW stain from burned popcorn), AND solved it successfully? In other words... your microwave was yellow on the inside due to burned popcorn, and now it is white again, and you accomplished it through some method that you can pass on. If so, how?

By Adam

RE: Removing Yellow Stains From Inside Microwave

I also have the yellow stain. I have tried many cleaners. I even got desperate and tried an S.O.S, pad on part of it and that didn't even help. I think that maybe it is stained forever :( The lemon water tricks did work for the smell but not the stains. Keep posting if you find anything that DOES help the stain.

By Deborah.

RE: Removing Yellow Stains From Inside Microwave

I used Soft Scrub with bleach and it worked. Just spray some on, leave it on for 10 minutes, scrub if off hard and it will come off! Now I don't have to kill my friend who put the popcorn on for 4 minutes --seriously, who puts it on for that long? Anyway, we're friends again, and just because it came off doesn't mean I'm not going to do that same thing to his microwave. (I'm going to put it on for 10 minutes)

By Here to help

RE: Removing Yellow Stains From Inside Microwave

Well I have read most posts on this site regarding the yellow stain. Well my lovely wife last night tried to cook our kids the infamous popcorn for a light snack. In the midst of the crazyness in the house, she pushed the "potato" button instead of the "popcorn" button. to make a long story short, my 4 year old daughter dialed 911. After I arrived at the house, I noted that the microwave was stained yellow! It seemed permanent. I had not read this site until the next day, but this is what I had done to remove the yellow stain. Firstly, I got a spray bottle with 100% bleach. Sprayed it and let it sit for 30 minutes. Then, wiped out. Sprayed again, let it sit another 30 minutes and wiped out. I used white towels mostly through the process as then I can see actually how much of the yellow I am getting off. Next I scrubbed with an SOS pad, however this did not seem to help. So I washed with hot water and soap, then did the bleach process a third time. Each time I did the bleach, it removed some of the stain. Once more I did the bleach process and let it sit over night. As my microwave is a built in above the stove, I did not use any of the equipment until I cleaned out the bleach the next day. I would say that the stain is 85% gone. Now my biggest problem is the smell that works it's way into the food items that you cook after. Being that this is only the second day, I will try various methods of removing the smell/taste. Did I mention that my wife is an (b)Executive Pastry Chef (/b) for a well known resort in Monterey California. Well I hope that she never serves popcorn to her guests!

By Benjamin

RE: Removing Yellow Stains From Inside Microwave

I just tried the Soft Scrub method and it did work for the yellow stain on my microwave - also caused by overcooking popcorn. It takes several iterations to get it all. I wiped the Soft Scrub w/Bleach on; waited 10-15 minutes and then scrubbed with a sponge. Then I left the soapy stuff on; added more Soft Scrub; repeated the process. I did this about 10 times and it did work to significantly reduce the stain.

By Peggy

RE: Removing Yellow Stains From Inside Microwave

Which Soft Scrub with bleach? The gel?

To "Here to help" - My old microwave took over 4 minutes to pop popcorn but my new one takes only 2. No matter how many times I've told my teenage daughter 2 minutes she never listens. This is the second time she burnt the microwave. First time I caught it before it was set on fire. Second time I wasn't home and she let me find it the next day.

By Lynn

RE: Removing Yellow Stains From Inside Microwave

I tried Clorox Wipes and also sprayed Clorox on them. I put the wipes up like wallpaper on the stains around the microwave. They were pretty wet. Then I put a cup of water in the microwave and turned it on for 30 second intervals, checking and wiping each time. The yellow is not entirely gone, and I doubt if it ever will be, but it is better. I had to do this about 8 or nine times.

By kate

RE: Removing Yellow Stains From Inside Microwave

Hi Adam, hope this helps, my son also burnt my microwave, and I also tried most of the suggested remedies and nothing worked (not sure I would ever put bleach inside my microwave and then cook food in it). I cleaned the inside with Enjo marble paste (which is non abrasive) and then sat the clean microwave in the sun for 2 days (not at night) and the microwave was white again after 1 day, but I put it out again to make sure. Good Luck.

By Holywife

RE: Removing Yellow Stains From Inside Microwave

To get rid of the odor: Try the air fresheners that neutralize odors. Spray on paper towel or cotton and leave in microwave or wipe sides with it.

By Cmjake

RE: Removing Yellow Stains From Inside Microwave

This works! Use Cutex "Quick & Gentle" nail polish remover (acetone). Put some on a paper towel and wipe the area stained. You'll have to change paper towels frequently. But no hard rubbing. Ours looks like new. Now to work on the smell!

By Yellow burnt popcorn cleaner

RE: Removing Yellow Stains From Inside Microwave

OK, so I am thrilled to know I am not the only one who has burned popcorn in their microwave! Initially, I was concerned with the smoke and putrid odor. First, I opened all the windows and turned the fan on venting the smoke from my apartment. Next, I wiped the oven out with the dishcloth and Dawn Detergent (several times) to no avail. The odor remained and so did the infamous 'yellow stain'. What did I do? I closed the door on the microwave and went shopping! (That did NOT help!....but I did find the cutest pair of shoes on sale!)

Next, after the smell became unbearable, I wiped the inside of the oven with vinager. Didn't do much.

Finally, I hopped on my handy-dandy computer and found this site. I tried the "CUTEX Nail Polish Remover" and it actually did help quite a bit to remove the yellow stain. I've only done it once at this point, but there is a dramatic difference! (Approx. 80%)

I wiped the inside down again; this time with straight lemon juice (leaving the interior fairly wet) and then placed a microwavable measuring cup with about 1/4 cup of straight lemon juice in it and allowed it to boil for about 2 minutes creating steam that has covered all inner areas.

That has been sitting for approximately 15 minutes and I just checked it. The odor is still faint, but not nearly as potent as before. So, I will let it sit longer and see what happens. I am confident the odor will eventually disappate in time. The faint yellow discoloration is tolerable.

I believe if you are going to have any success at all, you will need to attack the problem immediately, otherwise, (especially with use of the oven) the odor and yellowness will penetrate and become permanent. Good luck and if anyone comes up with something that is more effective please post you suggestion! Thanks!!

By Fyllis

RE: Removing Yellow Stains From Inside Microwave

The exact thing happened to me just tonight. I used the above suggestion to use nail polish remover and it worked like a charm. How safe that is, remains to be seen. Now, the smell of burnt popcorn is still in the entire house, but I am hoping that will disappate over time. I am going to leave it open over night, then cook a cup of vanilla and cinnamon with some water and we will see what happens.

By Betty

RE: Removing Yellow Stains From Inside Microwave

Burned the popcorn! Lots of smoke...Immediately clean out with baking soda and it looked good except the yellow keeps coming back. I clean it again each time and it is better. The odor is another thing. I tried the lemon, but it didn't work. Now I am going to try the vanilla, vinegar, and baking soda water in that order for the smell. While looking on here for an answer, I burned lunch on the range! This is what I do. My husband gets soooo upset!

By pattheburnitqueen.

RE: Removing Yellow Stains From Inside Microwave

Buy a bottle of 100% acetone and rubber gloves (from drug store or beauty supply store). Pour acetone into a spray bottle. Spray generously on the inside top, sides and base of microwave. You will see the acetone liquid turn yellow and puddle as the surface sprayed becomes whiter. Immediately wipe the liquid with a dry paper towel, since the acetone tends to evaporate quickly. Repeat the steps to remove another layer of the yellow burn stain. You can also spray the liquid acetone on the microwave door, but if it is a "built in", be careful not to get acetone on any painted surface. It is normally used to remove acrylic nails and fingernail polish, so it can damage painted surfaces, but won't damage plastic or glass (i.e. your microwave body and door).

By Lisa

RE: Removing Yellow Stains From Inside Microwave

Acetone works great. Wiped right out without any problem. The inside of my microwaved was severly yellowed from burnt popcorn. I tried Soft Scrub with bleach and it didn't even phase it. However, the yellow stain easily wiped out with acetone. Looks like new again. One thing -- I stopped using my microwave immediately after the popcorn mess until I got it cleaned up. Not sure if continuing to use it would have cooked in the stain. I applied (using rubber gloves) with paper towel and rinsed with water and later lemon juice. However, I like the idea of using a spray bottle; it does evaporate fast. Now working on smell which lemon juice seems to be helping.

By PaulinMI

RE: Removing Yellow Stains From Inside Microwave

I had the same problem with my microwave. Our 12 year old put a bag of popcorn in for 4 minutes (didn't know there was a 2 minute popcorn button) Anyway, it is built in above the stove so not that easy to replace. The acetone (Cutex) is the only thing that worked. I was leary about trying that but we did not use for several days after and I wiped it clean with vinegar and then boiled the water and lemon juice in there. Looks new again. It was only 3 months old before this.

By Tami (Guest Post)

RE: Removing Yellow Stains From Inside Microwave

First of all...its so great to know that I'm not the only one who's had to deal with this issue. Anyway I tried the nail polish remover and it really does work! I ran out of nail polish so I'm going to get some more tomorrow and clear up the remaining stains.

I was skeptical but desperate and I'm glad to say it worked!

The smell on the other hand.....I'm just going to have to wait it out : )

By Honeychild

RE: Removing Yellow Stains From Inside Microwave

My grandson recently burned some popcorn in my microwave. I was able to scrub almost all the yellow stain out, but it still had a distinct smell I couldn't get rid of. One day after peeling an orange, and on my way to the trashcan, I decided to put the peels in my microwave instead. I put them in a bowl and just left them in there all day....removing them only when I needed to use the microwave. It was quite an improvement so I did it again the next day with fresh peels. After about 3 days of doing this I could no longer smell the burned popcorn. It might work for you too! I think I realized the popcorn was burning fairly quickly and snatched it out of the microwave so I'm sure the smells I was dealing with were moderate compared to some!

By Grandma Margie

RE: Removing Yellow Stains From Inside Microwave

Non-acetone fingernail polish remover and a little elbow-grease did the trick. I will never (try to) eat microwave popcorn again.

By Monika

RE: Removing Yellow Stains From Inside Microwave

The non acetone nail polish remover got rid of the horrible yellow stain in my microwave and it didn't even smell too bad although when I was finished I wiped everything clean with hot water and soap.

Thanks for the tip, it was a great solution!

By elrtgirl

RE: Removing Yellow Stains From Inside Microwave

I have joined the club more than once. Most recent incident was a Hot Pocket. Big mess! Lots of smoke! I think I have conquered the stain problem. I sprayed the inside of the microwave with Tilex Mildew and Stain Remover, (a liquid), and waited about 1 hour. I attained results right away so repeated the process several more times wiping it clean after each application. After that I repeatedly boiled water to make steam which loosened more stain. I did notice that once I began using the microwave for cooking/heating food, the stains seemed to return in places so I repeated the Tilex process. One trick that I discovered is to put a small amount of liquid dish detergent on a sponge an squish it to make foam. Then add Tilex to the sponge and squish some more. You can now daub the foam in the sponge onto the stain where it stays in place instead of running off into a puddle. This works well for the stubborn "spots". As for the smell, it gets weaker each time you use the oven, but it will take quite a while. Before I burned the Hot Pocket, I burned popcorn more than a year before and had totally forgotten about any odor until I did it again. Your microwave will never be like "new" again, but you can probably make it quite acceptable.

By Gerry

RE: Removing Yellow Stains From Inside Microwave

Thank you so much for your suggestion. The nail polish remover works like a charm! The same thing happened to our microwave where it turned yellow inside from a popcorn mishap. I gave up on trying to clean it. I tried elbow grease, Fantastic, and Softscrub. Then 2 months later I thought I'd attempt it again and I found this website. Thanks!

By BKK in Irvine

RE: Removing Yellow Stains From Inside Microwave

Thank god I saw this, I almost cried when I couldn't get the stains out. the Cutex was amazing and I'm so thankful for whomever's idea that was.

By vicky in Chicago

Removing Yellow Stains From Inside Microwave

I have tried almost everything for my microwave. The thing that works the most but not completely.. is nail polish remover. it really works well. Now I need to get the smell out I haven't tried it but my dad said "Bake a cake in there." I don't know if he was for real or not! lol

By Meagan

RE: Removing Yellow Stains From Inside Microwave

To get rid of the smell- half cup of warm water and half cup of vanilla extract mixed. Heat until boiling. Turn off and DON'T OPEN overnight, or 12 hours. It sees like a long time, but it's worth it. I know how bad that smell gets!

By BettyBoop

RE: Removing Yellow Stains From Inside Microwave

I tried non-acetone Cutex. It works a lot better than dishwashing soap, but doesn't get rid of brown stains completely. I'm going to try acetone Cutex and see how it works.

By Anna

RE: Removing Yellow Stains From Inside Microwave

Totally bummed out, my roommate burned popcorn in my new microwave. I thought the stain would never come out until I found this site. The acetone works great, just waiting to get vanilla to work on the nasty smell.

By Corinna

RE: Nail polish remover WORKS!

My gf recently burned some popcorn by accident, and luckily I found this site! Her landlord is a creep when it comes to inspections and wanting to snatch up the security deposit. Well, we tried nail polish remover right away and it worked great! The yellow stain was gone right away. Thanks a ton!

By Keith

Comment Was this helpful? 1

February 24, 2010

I am writing to thank the person who said acetone free nail polish remover would remove the yellow stain in my microwave oven left after seriously burning a bag of microwave popcorn. She was absolutely right on.

Comment Was this helpful? Yes
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