We’ve all done it. The times we’ve accidentally burned popcorn, bacon, and sometimes even plastic in the microwave oven.
If you don’t take action, the nasty odors can linger and mingle with the next meal you microwave.
In this quick guide, I explain the seven most effective ways to remove the burnt smell from your microwave.
The best part?
You don’t need to buy special cleaning supplies—everything you need is already in your home.
Let’s get started!
Use the links below to navigate the guide:
- Method 1: The Citrus Method
- Method 2: The Vinegar Steam Method
- Method 3: The Vanilla Extract Method
- Method 4: The Baking Soda Method
- Method 5: The Dish Soap Method
- Method 6: The Berry Method
- Method 7: The Coffee Method
- Final Thoughts
Method 1: The Citrus Method
The Citrus Method is a natural and easy way to remove burnt odors from your microwave. Best of all, the citrus leaves a pleasant natural scent in your microwave and your kitchen.
This method takes about 20 minutes, depending on your microwave’s power and how badly it smells.
- Microwave-safe bowl
- Half a citrus fruit (such as an orange, lemon or grapefruit)
- Teaspoon of baking soda
- Cut half of your citrus fruit into small slices — place slices into the bowl. You can use an orange, lemon, or grapefruit — or a combination.
- Fill the bowl with water to steam the microwave.
- Run the microwave on high for two minutes. Leave the door shut for five minutes afterward to allow the steam to get to work.
- After five minutes, check if the odor is gone. If not, repeat this up to three more times.
- Once you’re satisfied, use a cloth to wipe the condensation from the inside of the microwave.
- If the smell persists, mix a teaspoon of baking soda into the bowl along with the fruit.
- Run on high for one minute. Baking soda has neutralizing properties, so this can help absorb foul smells. Make sure to keep an eye on the microwave because the baking soda will cause the water to rise. It might bubble over. If this begins, cancel the cycle so you don’t create more mess.
- Use your cloth to wipe down the condensation. Now, your microwave should be odor-free.
- Leaving the microwave door shut between rounds allows the steam to cleanse the microwave of burnt odors.
- Give it a sniff before moving onto the next round. You might find that it doesn’t need as many rounds as you think.
Method 2: The Vinegar Steam Method
White vinegar is a magic product for many reasons. Not only is it used for cooking, vinegar works great for cleaning surfaces, bathrooms, laundry, outdoor furniture, and also removing burnt odors from your microwave.
- A microwave-safe cup
- 3 tablespoons of white vinegar
- A cloth
- A spoon
- Fill the microwave-safe cup halfway with water.
- Add 3 tablespoons of white vinegar. Mix with a spoon.
- Put the cup in the microwave and turn it on for 90 seconds, or until the solution starts to boil.
- Keep the microwave door shut for 3 minutes to allow the steam to coat the inside of the microwave.
- Open the microwave and remove the cup. Be careful as it might be very hot. Use a cloth to wipe away the condensation and any debris the vinegar steam has loosened.
- If the smell persists, repeat the process.
- If your microwave smells extremely bad, add an extra tablespoon of white vinegar. If you need to repeat this process, add another tablespoon of vinegar for extra cleaning power.
- Let the cup of vinegar cool down afterward. Put it into a spray bottle and use it to clean countertops, glass windows, your refrigerator, or the outside of your microwave.
- Make sure to use distilled white vinegar rather than malt vinegar or apple cider vinegar. White vinegar is the best for cleaning.
Method 3: The Vanilla Extract Method
Vanilla extract can neutralize odors and add a fresh fragrance to your microwave. Of course, this is best used for people who like vanilla scents! Vanilla is sweet, so it’s not everyone’s favorite. But for those who love it, the smell will radiate through your home — especially into the nearby rooms.
- Vanilla extract
- Small, shallow, microwave-safe bowl or a shot glass
- Pour three teaspoons of vanilla extract into the small bowl.
- Heat the microwave on high for 30 seconds.
- Take it out and viola! Your microwave and your kitchen will smell nice and sweet.
- If the bowl is too big, the layer of vanilla extract will be very shallow. Therefore, it can burn quickly and ruin your bowl. The best idea is to use a shot glass.
- If you hear bubbling, cancel the cycle. Vanilla can burn quickly, and this can add to the harsh smells.
- Make sure to use real vanilla extract, rather than manufactured vanilla. 100% vanilla works best, based on my tests.
- If you don’t have a shallow bowl, dilute the vanilla in a glass. Use ½ cup of water and 4 teaspoons of vanilla. Keep in mind that you need to use more vanilla, which is pretty expensive, so it’s more economical to use a shallow bowl or small glass.
Method 4: The Baking Soda Method
Baking soda excels at eliminating odors, so you can tell your microwave’s burnt smell goodbye, once and for all. As I mentioned, the citrus method includes baking soda — but if you want to use baking soda by itself, this is an excellent method without filling your kitchen with citrusy fragrances.
- 5 teaspoons of baking soda
- ½ cup of water
- Small, microwave-safe bowl
- Fill a bowl with ½ cup of water. Mix in the five teaspoons of baking soda. It might fizz a little — that’s okay. Mix thoroughly with a spoon.
- Put the bowl in the microwave and heat on high for six minutes. Check on it every minute to make sure it’s not bubbling over. If it begins to do so, cancel the cycle and move onto the next step.
- Leave the bowl in the microwave for one hour to allow the baking soda to absorb odors.
- Mix some soap and water in a basin. Dip in your cloth and use this solution to wipe down condensation and dirt inside the microwave.
- Keep the baking soda and water solution and use it to eliminate any more unwanted odors in the house. It works great as an oven cleaner.
- Be careful when taking the bowl out of the microwave. Baking soda can irritate some people’s skin, so if you have sensitive skin or eczema, wear protective gloves.
- You can use the baking soda solution afterward to get rid of tough stains in your microwave. Dip a cloth into the solution and rub the stain vigorously.
- You can also fill up a bowl with baking soda and a few drops of essential oils and leave it in your microwave between uses to absorb bad odors.
Method 5: The Dish Soap Method
Every kitchen has dish soap. But do you know it can be used to clean and deodorize your microwave? The dish soap method is a cheap and easy way to eliminate bad odors using products you have right at hand.
- A microwave-safe bowl
- Dishwashing soap
- Sponge or cloth
- Fill a microwave-safe bowl with warm water.
- Add a few drops of dish soap. Mix with a spoon.
- Put it in the microwave for one minute on high heat.
- Carefully remove the bowl. You might want to wear oven gloves for extra protection.
- Use a damp sponge or cloth to wipe the condensation and debris from inside the microwave.
- Repeat if necessary.
- By using a scented dishwashing liquid, it adds a pleasant fragrance.
- Keep an eye on the bowl in the microwave. If it begins to boil or bubble over, end the cycle and take it out. Move onto the next steps.
Method 6: The Berry Method
The berry method is best when paired with a deep clean of your microwave. After you’ve cleaned your microwave, use the berry method to leave a beautiful scent behind. Likewise, if the above methods have removed odors, but you still want a scented finish — try this.
- A small bowl
- Your favorite berries (a mixture of a few is best)
- Plastic wrap
- Fill the bowl with your favorite berries. Make sure they aren’t protruding from the top of the bowl.
- Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Don’t let the berries touch the plastic.
- Put the bowl in the microwave. Place on high heat for two minutes.
- Open the microwave door and check if the smell has filled the microwave. If you want more of a scent, put it back in for a minute at a time. Check between rounds. I don’t recommend any more than four minutes total, as the berries can start to get mushy, and the plastic might melt.
- Don’t eat the berries afterward. The berries will be soft. Plus, if the plastic has melted on them, it’s not safe to eat.
- Choose berries in which you love the scent. Strawberries and raspberries are popular as they have a sweet but strong aroma. Blueberries are nice, too, but their scent isn’t as strong. So, they’re best paired with other berries.
- This method might not remove odors but will mask them. As mentioned, pair this with another method — such as the vinegar one.
Method 7: The Coffee Method
Coffee can neutralize odors, so it’s perfect for removing the burnt smell from your microwave. Don’t worry — you don’t need to waste any coffee because you can utilize used coffee grounds. Plus, it leaves behind a lovely scent, so your home will soon smell of a cozy coffee shop.
- A small bowl
- Two tablespoons of used ground coffee (you can also use fresh)
- Mix the ground coffee with ½ cup of water in a small bowl.
- Place the bowl in the microwave and run for three minutes.
- Check that the water hasn’t all evaporated. If the burnt smell remains, add water and repeat. Do this up to three times.
- Carefully take out the bowl. Wipe any condensation or loosened debris with a cloth.
- Repeat if necessary.
- This method works best with used coffee grounds. So after you’ve had your morning cup, spoon out the used grounds, and try this method.
- You can also place a bowl of fresh coffee beans or grounds into the microwave and leave them overnight. This can help absorb odors, a bit like baking soda.
As you can see, getting rid of burnt odors in your microwave is easy. Some top tips to takeaway include:
- Keep a bowl of baking soda or coffee beans nearby to leave in the microwave between uses.
- Make use of the simple ingredients you have in the house, such as baking soda, white vinegar, fruit, and coffee.
- Stay vigilant while using these methods to ensure the solution isn’t bubbling, boiling, or burning.
- Use a cloth to wipe steam and debris after each method.
- Always use a microwave-safe bowl or cup.
The citrus method is best if you want a fresh and lemony scent. It’s all-natural! If you have fruit that needs to be used, this is an excellent way to utilize that.
For a deep clean of your microwave and to remove burnt smells, you can’t go wrong with the vinegar method.
The vanilla extract method is lovely for people who enjoy the sweet, warm scent of vanilla radiating through their home. Plus, it’s quick and easy.
Baking soda is a hero when it comes to all things cleaning! It can remove tough stains in your microwave and remove burnt smells, too. You can use this method with or without heating the baking soda.
Let us know what method worked best for you! If we missed anything, or if you have additional tips, please leave them below in the comments.
If you found this article helpful, you should also check out:
- Is a Microwave in the Kitchen Island a Good Idea? 15 Pros & Cons
- Air Wick vs. Glade: Which Air Fresheners Are Better?
- The Ultimate House Cleaning Checklist (Printable PDF)
- How to Clean Vinyl Blinds: A Step-by-Step Guide
- How to Deep Clean Tile Floors: 6 Simple Steps
- How to Deep Clean Hardwood Floors: 5 Simple Steps
- How to Remove Mold and Mildew From Outdoor Cushions
- How to Clean Stainless Steel Appliances Without Streaking
- How to Clean All Types of Lampshades (Step-by-Step)
- How to Clean the Vicks Cool Mist Humidifier (With Pictures)
- Febreze vs. Glade Air Fresheners: What’s the Difference?