How to Get Burnt Smell Out of a Microwave

Last update: 5 months ago

How to Get Burnt Smell Out of a Microwave
Andriiii /

Ah, there you go again. No need to worry, we’ve all been there. That one second when preparing popcorn is so crucial. Misreading a label or leaving the cooking to a young adult is also so important. All those can also result in a lingering burnt scent in the microwave. Lighting scented candles just won’t work.

Read the lines below to find more insights on how to get burnt smell out of microwave commonly used in households across Australia. These tips will help you prolong the life of your equipment and maintain better kitchen hygiene.

Will the burnt smell go away?

Smoke is one of the most persistent and common smells that lingers inside a microwave, invading your kitchen. But will the burnt microwave smell go away? The answer is no. It’s essential to take action to eliminate the strong burnt smell as soon as possible. Ignoring it and continuing to use the microwave can exacerbate the issue. Each subsequent use essentially reheats the burned-on debris, intensifying the smell. It will negatively affect the flavour of the food. Additionally, burnt odours can penetrate other surfaces in your kitchen, spreading the unpleasant scent further. Hence, it’s crucial to address the issue promptly to prevent further odour penetration and potential fire hazards.

To tackle the burnt smell effectively, start with both room and microwave ventilation. Open windows and run a fan to help dissipate the odour. Then, focus on cleaning both the interior of the microwave and surrounding surfaces. If you have a range microwave, remove all cookware items in the surrounding kitchen cabinets and open cabinets widely. The odour can be absorbed in wood’s fibres. If this is not enough for the smell to disappear, then wipe down those areas.

The smell can linger in the microwave’s filter as well. It could cause it to reignite the next time it’s used. But, if you are wondering if it’s safe to use a burnt microwave, the answer is – it depends. If it just stinks, you can safely resume using it once it’s cleaned. However, proceed with caution and consider buying a new appliance if any part of the microwave itself seems damaged or burned. An appliance that is damaged presents a fire risk in general.

Cleaning solutions for neutralising burnt odour

When it comes to neutralising burnt odours in your microwave, thorough cleaning is key. Begin by unplugging the microwave to ensure safety while cleaning. Always take precautions! Be mindful to avoid using harsh chemicals near food surfaces. Instead, opt for gentle yet effective cleaning solutions to tackle the burnt odour effectively.

​​Natural remedies

Natural remedies can be highly effective in removing burnt smells from microwaves. It may take some time, but eventually, the odour will go away. Check out these cleaning hacks on how to get burnt smell out of a microwave and restore the fresh scent to your kitchen.

Clean the inside of your microwave

A thorough cleaning is your first line of defence against smells. Try this quick and simple technique first, then go on to other things.

What you will need:

  • Microwave-safe bowl
  • Non-abrasive sponge
  • Clean microfiber towels


  1. Steam with water – Remove any debris or loose burnt pieces from the microwave with your fingers. Heat 1 cup of water in a microwave-safe bowl for 3 to 4 minutes. The steam will loosen up the grime.
  2. Clean with dish soap – Gently wipe the inside with a cloth dampened in a mixture of water and a small amount of dish soap. When dealing with stainless steel units, follow the direction of the metal’s grain while rubbing. Use a soft sponge for rubbing.
  3. Rinse and dry – After cleaning the microwave, use fresh water to rinse. Wipe it dry with a cloth that doesn’t leave lint. Leave the microwave open for 2-3 hours to allow proper ventilation and airing out.
Tip: Resist the urge to use tough scrubbers! Although it may be tempting to use, they will definitely do more damage to your microwave.

Steam your microwave with lemon juice or vinegar

In cases where strong odours, such as burnt fish or plastic, linger despite regular cleaning methods, additional assistance may be necessary. If the steps previously outlined on how to clean your microwave do not effectively eliminate the odours, then those natural cleaners can be helpful.

What you will need:

  • Microwave-safe bowl
  • Non-abrasive sponge
  • Clean microfiber towels
  • Vinegar or lemon juice
  • Vanilla extract (optional)


  1. Mix a cup of water with three tablespoons of white vinegar in a microwave-safe bowl. You can add a tablespoon of vanilla extract for a more pleasant smell.
  2. Heat the solution in the microwave for six minutes. Allow it to come to a boil, and fill the microwave with steam.
  3. Let the bowl stand for 15 to 20 minutes, the steam to dissipate the smell.
  4. Carefully remove the bowl using an oven mitt or pot holder.
  5. Wipe down with a fresh cloth dipped in the remaining solution on the inside of the microwave, including the top and the door.
  6. Wash the plate and wheels with soap and water, or simply toss the glass microwave plate in the dishwasher for thorough cleaning.

Neutralise the odour

Struggling with how to neutralise burnt smell? Then, consider giving these various techniques a go:

Baking soda
  • Place small containers of baking soda in key areas to neutralise and absorb burnt smells.
  • Prevent access by children and animals.
  • Leave it in the microwave overnight or even for a few days to absorb the smell.
  • Attach a note on the microwave door as a reminder to take out the baking soda before heating anything.
Activated charcoal
  • Place a bowl of activated charcoal, available at most pet stores, in the microwave.
  • Close the door and allow it to remain for several days or until the odour is gone.
Unscented cat litter
  • Add unscented cat litter to a microwave-safe bowl and place it in the microwave for several days.
  • Remember to remove the bowl before using the microwave.
Coffee grounds
  • Use fresh coffee grounds to absorb and mask burnt smells.
  • Place a bowl in the microwave, close the door, and remove when the odours are gone.
  • Add a couple of spoonfuls of ground coffee to a microwave-safe bowl.
  • Mix in water until the coffee looks soupy.
  • Microwave for 2-3 minutes to help mask the smell.
  • For persistent odours, place a bowl of dried coffee grounds in the microwave for a couple of hours to neutralise odours.
Warm vanilla
  • Fill a microwave-safe bowl with water and add two tablespoons of vanilla extract.
  • Microwave for five minutes or until the liquid boils and steams the microwave.
  • Allow the liquid to cool for five minutes, then wipe down the insides with a microfiber cloth.

These methods offer effective ways to neutralise burnt odours and restore freshness to your microwave. You can include some of them in your cleaning schedule to keep the smell out of your kitchen.

Important: Because microwaves cook food by heating and evaporating water, dishes that are dry or starchy (e.g. bread, pasta, or popcorn) are more likely to burn. Keep a close eye on your food and leave the toasting to the toaster.

Commercial products

When it comes to tackling stubborn burnt odours in microwaves, consider using a specialised commercial microwave cleaner designed for this purpose. These products are formulated to effectively eliminate lingering smells and residue. Elbow grease is not needed here. If there is still some lingering smell left, you can also buy a burnt odour removal product. Opting for these commercial remedies is a simple and practical approach to keeping your microwave fresh and free of unpleasant odours.

Preventative measures to avoid future incidents

When it comes to maintaining a fresh-smelling and functional microwave, implementing preventative measures is key. Consider these tips:

  • Use sponges and non-abrasive cloths to prevent scratches on the interior.
  • Prevent microwave accidents by closely monitoring when heating dry and starchy items.
  • Consider changing the charcoal filter if the burnt smell persists even after cleaning and deodorising.
  • Wipe down the microwave after each use using soft cloths to keep it clean.
  • Clean the microwave down with a non-abrasive cloth to preserve the internal finish.
  • Always use microwave-safe dishware when cooking inside your microwave.

If you find yourself facing tough times and not willing to spend more time cleaning burnt-out smells, consider reaching out to experts for help. Engaging professional help for tasks such as kitchen appliance care is totally fine. You can maintain the cleanliness of your home and kitchen by booking regular cleaning.

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  • Act promptly – Address burnt smells quickly to prevent them from lingering and spreading further in your kitchen.
  • Safety first – Ensure proper ventilation by opening windows and running a fan when dealing with burnt odours in your microwave.
  • Thorough cleaning – Use gentle yet effective cleaning solutions to remove burnt-on debris and neutralise lingering odours. Focus on both the interior of the microwave and surrounding surfaces.
  • Natural remedies – Utilise natural ingredients like lemon juice, vinegar, or coffee grounds to help deodorise your microwave and restore freshness.
  • Prevent future incidents – Monitor cooking times closely, use microwave-safe dishware, and implement regular maintenance routines to keep your microwave clean and odour-free.

We would love to hear about your experience with any of these methods!

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