How to Get a Burnt Smell Out of Microwave Ovens

The guilty party might try denying it, but there's no denying the burnt smell that can emanate from a microwave oven after popcorn, pizza or certain pungent dishes have been zapped for too long. This condition isn't permanent, however, and if you prize your sense of efficiency, you can clean your microwave and rid it of the burnt smell at the same time. And if your nose is particularly sensitive? Simply augment your efforts with a few other steps and let that guilty party -- even if it's you -- off the hook.

Microwave oven tray
credit: grzymkiewicz/iStock/Getty Images
Keeping food covered helps limit microwave spatters.

Clean and Deodorize

Step 1

Remove the glass plate and turntable from the microwave. Wash them with hot water, dish soap and a sponge.

Step 2

Combine equal amounts of white vinegar and water in a microwave-safe bowl. Place the bowl in the microwave. Heat the mixture until it comes to a full boil, or for about six minutes at full power.

Step 3

Let the bowl sit inside the microwave for 15 minutes. Allowing the steam to escape will loosen the caked-on particles in your microwave and lift the burnt smell at the same time.

Step 4

Remove the bowl from the microwave with oven mitts; the bowl may still be hot. Wipe down the walls of the microwave with paper towels.

Extra Steps If the Burnt Smell Lingers

Step 5

Place a box of baking soda in the microwave. Let it sit overnight to absorb any lingering burnt smell.

Step 6

Place some used coffee grounds in a small bowl and set it in the microwave overnight since coffee can eradicate odors. Alternatively, combine 4 tablespoons of ground coffee with 1 cup of water in a coffee mug and heat it on "high" in the microwave for about three minutes.

Step 7

Turn to your spice rack for some sweet counter-measures. Sprinkle a little cinnamon or nutmeg in a bowl of water and heat it to a boil in your microwave. Alternatively, pour a little vanilla extract in a bowl and leave it in the microwave overnight.