How to Get Burnt Smell Out of Microwave

Microwaves are significant appliances that require utmost care and maintenance for long-term functionality. Because of a microwave, you can bake, grill, warm, or defrost your food. If they, unfortunately, cease to operate or malfunction, it evokes a great disservice to you.

One significant sign of malfunctioning is the presence of unpleasant odors. A fetid microwave is a common kitchen problem which is never a matter of brushing aside. Many smelly microwaves, if not dealt with in good time, deteriorate to an irreparable state.

Therefore, the earlier you employ elimination strategies, the better. Have a look at this helpful guide to keep your microwave in tip-top shape.

What Leads To The Burnt Smells In The Microwave?

There are some possible causes of the burnt smell in your microwave. Once you know them, you get to establish your starting point in removing them.

For a burnt smell in the microwave, two things are considered: the microwave itself or the burnt food residues.

Burnt Electrical Parts

When it comes to the microwave itself, burning odors may indicate the microwave components are failing. Such a defect may be due to mishandling and poor operation of the microwave.

It could be you didn’t make an effort to read, or you misread the user guide. If not the two, then you left the appliance in the wrong hands. The reason it’s pretty significant to teach any new user before entrusting them with your microwave.

In this scenario, it’s advisable to seek the help of an expert technician unless you are a technician yourself. However, best is to invest in a new microwave. Such a defective microwave will likely misbehave again even after repair. Moreover, the recurring repair costs hurt your pockets more as compared to purchasing a new microwave from the very beginning.

Burnt Food Residues

Sometimes your attention may shift away from the food warming in the microwave. If you miss out on the precise timing, then your food automatically burns. This food overheats and, in turn, splatters and pops out of the bowl to the interior surfaces of the microwave.

The burnt food leaves behind a foul smell which, when not removed immediately, starts permanenting in your microwave.

Is It Safe To Use A Microwave With A Burnt Smell?

First, you ought to know it’s never a safe ordeal to heat your food with the burnt smell still existent. The smell already is an indication of a dirty and faulty microwave.

What follows next should not be a microwave in use, whether it’s cooking or warming up your food. But it should be cleaning and deodorizing taking place. The burnt smell usually permeates into your food. The outcome is adulterated food that you won’t enjoy eating.

If it’s the burnt electrical components, the burning escalates, and the result becomes a dead microwave. Do not be too ignorant not to immediately indulge assistance from a skilled technician before the subsequent use. Throwing caution to the wind does not apply here.

Before Getting Rid Of The Odour

Removing burnt odors from your microwave requires you to start with the basics. Cleaning takes the better part of the process, right. But before preparing your tools and setting them in place, you need to be aware of the following three tips you should exercise if you want the easy way through.

  • Do not let the residues, if present, stay long in the microwave. The sooner you remove them, the less persistent the burnt smell becomes. Unfortunately, when left to stay, they will be re-baked in the following cooking spree, and that’s how the smell gets more stubborn and difficult to eliminate.
  • Before you begin applying the cleaning methods, ensure you remove all the burnt food residues by scraping them out if splattered or spilled. It’s an essential thing to do to make the entire process a cinch.
  • Never should you use a metal sponge in cleaning. What it does is worsen everything. It scratches off the interior surface of the microwave leaving metal chips. These metal chips with your microwave in operation could ignite fires inside the microwave.

With these three most vital tips in adherence, then cleaning is as easy as 1-2-3.

The Cleaning Ideas That Work

1. Thorough Check The Inside Of The Microwave

The moment you discover funny smells coming out of your microwave, you start by inspecting the source of the odor. The inspection involves opening the microwave and scrutinizing the inside. If there is any food debris, see what to do to get them out.

Advisably, take a clean cloth rug and dip it into hot(not burning) soapy water. Then, squeeze out the water and wipe the grimy surfaces to a debris-free look.

After wiping, it’s not yet done. Leave the microwave open to allow entry of air which absorbs the foul smell and dries it up.

You can use an air freshener if at all you are capable of getting one, but it’s not a must. If this step number one doesn’t work, you should try out the self-made cleansers mentioned below.

2. The Vinegar Steam Method

Depending on the severity of the burnt smell, ensure you prepare the right amounts of cleaning solutions. Vinegar (white or apple cider) is an effective ingredient in preparing your cleaning solution.

All you need is a measuring glass bowl, water, and at least three tablespoons of vinegar. The question is how it is prepared and the way of application.


  • Half-fill the microwave-safe bowl with water and add two to three tablespoonfuls of vinegar
  • Stir gently to attain a homogeneous solution. Now you have your cleanser.
  • Place the bowl inside the microwave and turn on the microwave.
  • Heat the solution at high temperatures for about 1 to 2 minutes until you see steam forming inside the microwave door as the solution boils.
  • Switch off the microwave and let the bowl stay inside for five minutes. If possible, let it stay longer before opening the door. The bowl cools down with the steam coating the inside of the microwave. The vinegar works as an odor eliminator cum grime loosener. It actively works on the grime and any tough debris detaching it off the microwave.
  • Open the door and carefully remove the bowl from the microwave. Be careful enough not to burn yourself with the hot liquid.
  • Using a damp clean cloth or paper towel, wipe the interior surfaces to a shiny, spotless clean appearance.

One good piece of advice, do not discard the vinegar solution after it cools down. Instead, save it for another vinegar cleaning venture. You can use it to clean your refrigerator, coffee machine, glass mirror surface, and more. It’s an ideal deodorizer and disinfectant.

And what if the burnt smell persists….what next? Though a rare occurrence, there is the lemon steam treatment further dug into as below.

3. The Lemon Steam Method

The lemon juice steam treatment is quite similar to the vinegar method. It’s necessary when the smell still lingers after carrying out the vinegar method. It could also be a substitute for the vinegar method. Citrus is a powerful cleaning agent such that you can also use orange or lime instead of lemon.


  • Half-fill the microwave bowl with water
  • Knife-cut the lemon and squeeze the juice into the bowl.
  • Stir to a thorough mixture of a homemade cleanser
  • Place the bowl of the solution in the microwave and heat up on high for one to two minutes until enough steam emerges from the boiling solution
  • Leave the glass bowl to cool down for 5 minutes or more.
  • Remove all the microwave contents and wipe inside of the microwave with a damp cloth. By now, the smell should have disappeared.

Just like the vinegar, it’s a great deodorizer. You can also place the lemon slices in the bowl after squeezing out the juice.

4. Baking Soda Deodorizing Formula

If the burnt smell is too resistant to removal, baking soda is the go-to remedy. It’s twice stronger than vinegar and lemon. So it can end up being your ultimate favorite. But, then, it’s up to you to experiment with all these cleaners to find the one which suits your microwave best.

For positive results, you can let it do the odor elimination overnight.


  • Place an open box of baking soda on the microwave’s round plate right before you go to sleep.
  • Let it stay overnight and remove it the following morning.

It shouldn’t be hard for you to eliminate the persistent burnt smell with these two easy steps.

The used baking soda, though not safe for cooking, could be used to clean other surfaces. For example, you can have it as deodorizer over time before disposal.

5. Coffee As A Deodorizer

If you are a coffee fanatic, then it’s unlikely to lack coffee as one of your household items. It keeps you rejuvenated, right?

But did you know that you can use it to banish household odors like the burnt smell in your microwave? Yes, it does wonders!

Like in the baking soda method:

  • Place a bowl of dried ground coffee onto the microwave tray right before you take your nap.
  • Close the microwave door and let it stay in the microwave overnight.
  • Remove the bowl of coffee the following morning.

Coffee has a sweet aroma that boasts nitrogen that readily helps to absorb the funny smells in the microwave. It is a perfect alternative for baking soda. A natural air freshener it is.

Cleaning The Exterior Of The Microwave

Last but not least, cleaning the exterior of the microwave is equally as important as cleaning the inside of the microwave. Therefore, it’s a grave concern. When you are done cleaning the inside, it’s advisable to extend the cleaning to all the external parts. Do not leave the job half-baked.

Wondering how it’s done? It’s nothing out of this world.

Cleansers and tools used are similar to those applied in cleaning the microwave’s inside. However, be warned that you do not use a spray bottle when cleaning the exterior since the liquid will enter the vents and the control panel causing extreme damage.

All you have to do in cleaning the exterior is dampen your cloth rug with your preferred cleanser. Then, wipe the microwave’s exterior with the damp cloth rug and dry the parts with another dry piece of cloth.

Can you feel lousy to perform such a task? Simply, no. It’s not taxing in any way. Learn to keep your microwave clean, freshened, and odor-free frequently for the best microwave experience.

At The Animascorp, we offer practical, real-life tips and inspiration to help you live better. From decorating and gardening advice, to entertaining and home repair how-tos.

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