Quick Answer:

To quickly remove a burnt smell from your microwave oven, mix 1 cup of water with 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high until the mixture boils and steams, then let it sit with the door closed for 15 minutes before wiping the interior with a damp cloth. This simple method helps neutralize and eliminate the burnt odor effectively.

The unmistakable aroma of burnt popcorn or any other scorched food can quickly turn your microwave from a beloved kitchen convenience into a source of stubborn, unpleasant smells. This lingering odor not only permeates the kitchen but can also affect the taste and smell of other foods reheated or cooked in the microwave afterward. Fortunately, how to remove burnt smell from microwave oven is simpler and more straightforward than you might initially think. With just a handful of common household items and the application of some easy-to-follow techniques, you can effectively eliminate the unwanted odors and get your microwave smelling fresh and clean once again. Whether you’re dealing with a recent cooking mishap or an old, stubborn burnt microwave smell, the right approach can restore your appliance’s freshness, ensuring it remains a pleasant and functional part of your kitchen.

Whether you’re dealing with the aftermath of a microwave mishap or simply looking to refresh your appliance, the right approach can make all the difference. In this guide, we’ll explore several proven methods to tackle the burnt microwave smell efficiently, ensuring your microwave is not only clean but also free from any lingering odors that could spoil your next culinary creation. Let’s dive into the simple steps you can take to restore your microwave to its former glory, ensuring it remains a convenient and pleasant part of your kitchen routine.

Start with Ventilation

Before diving into the nitty-gritty of cleaning solutions and deodorizing techniques, the initial step in tackling the challenge of a burnt smell in your microwave begins with something as simple as ventilation. This fundamental yet often overlooked action serves as the cornerstone of your odor-removal strategy.

Opening the microwave door is your first move. This isn’t just about letting out the immediate smoke or steam; it’s about starting the process of odor dissipation. By allowing fresh air to circulate freely within the microwave’s interior, you’re not only helping to cool down the appliance but also beginning the natural process of odor elimination. However, don’t stop there. If your kitchen layout permits, open any nearby windows as well. This doesn’t just aid in ventilating the specific area around the microwave but also helps in refreshing the entire kitchen environment. The cross-ventilation created by open windows significantly enhances the effectiveness of airing out, drawing out the burnt smell from your kitchen and replacing it with fresh air.

It’s important to understand that while this step is crucial, it’s unlikely to eliminate the burnt smell entirely on its own. Think of it as laying the groundwork for a more thorough cleaning and deodorizing process. Ventilation is about minimizing the intensity of the burnt odor, making subsequent cleaning efforts more effective and less overwhelming. By starting with this simple act of airing out, you’re setting the stage for a cleaner, fresher-smelling microwave, ensuring that the more detailed cleaning work to follow is as efficient and effective as possible.

Cleaning with Natural Cleaners

Vinegar or Lemon Juice Steam

Both vinegar and lemon juice are excellent at combating burnt smells. Fill a microwave-safe bowl with one cup of water and add either one tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice. Microwave this mixture on high power for several minutes until it boils and the window steams up. Let it cool down for 15 minutes before opening the door. This will loosen any residue inside the microwave and the steam will help deodorize the interior.

Baking Soda Solution

Baking soda is another powerful deodorizer. Mix a few tablespoons of baking soda with water in a microwave-safe bowl to form a paste. Spread this paste on the inside walls of the microwave and let it sit for a few hours or even overnight. Wipe clean with a damp cloth afterward. For a continuous deodorizing effect, leave an open box of baking soda inside the microwave overnight (with the microwave off and door closed).

Coffee Grounds or Vanilla Extract

Place a bowl filled with dried coffee grounds or a few drops of vanilla extract in a bowl of water inside the microwave. Leave it inside for a few hours or overnight to absorb the burnt smell. Coffee grounds and vanilla extract are excellent at neutralizing odors without leaving a harsh scent behind.

Wiping Down

After using any of the above methods, take a soft cloth dipped in warm water with a little dish soap to wipe down the inside of the microwave. Pay special attention to the microwave’s charcoal or grease filter, if accessible, as these can hold onto odors. Replace them if the smell persists.

Additional Tips

  • Keep the Microwave Door Open: After cleaning, leave the microwave door open for a few hours to air out any residual smell.
  • Activated Charcoal: For persistent smells, placing a bowl of activated charcoal inside the microwave overnight can help absorb stubborn odors.
  • Prevent Future Smells: Cover food with a microwave-safe lid or paper towel when reheating to minimize splatters and prevent future burnt smells.


Removing a burnt smell from your microwave oven requires a bit of patience and the right approach. Whether you choose to use vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, coffee grounds, or vanilla extract, these natural cleaners are effective at eliminating unpleasant odors. Remember to clean the microwave interior regularly and keep the door open after use to prevent smells from building up. With these tips, your microwave will be back to smelling fresh in no time.

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