How to Get Rid of Burnt Smell in Microwave

November 6, 2023
Microwave Repair

This guide is all about how to remove burnt smells from a microwave. All you need to do is follow our advice outlined below, and you will be able to get your appliance back to smelling clean and fresh.

But before we tell you how to remove the burnt smell, we will start by briefly discussing the causes. To finish, we have rounded up some simple yet effective tips to prevent burnt smells in your microwave from happening in the first place.

Causes of Burnt Smells in a Microwave

A burnt smell in your microwave can occur for several reasons, and it’s essential to identify the cause to prevent it from happening again. Here are some common causes of a burnt smell in a microwave:

  1. Overcooking food. Perhaps the main reason for a burnt smell in a microwave is overcooking or overheating food. When food is left in the microwave for too long, it can burn and produce a strong odor.
  2. Cooking certain foods. Some foods with a high fat or sugar content, such as bacon, butter, or sugary syrups, are more likely to produce burnt smells when heated in a microwave. The high sugar and fat content can cause the food to scorch easily.
  3. Not covering food. It’s important when heating food like sauces that tend to splatter to cover them properly. This will reduce residue buildup on the microwave’s interior, which can burn and create a foul smell over time.
  4. Not using microwave-safe containers. It’s also important to use microwave-safe containers, as non-suitable containers can overheat and melt, creating a burning smell over time.
  5. Not cleaning your microwave. Regular microwave cleaning is important to prevent burning smells in your appliance. Food debris and split liquids can start to smell when left for long periods.
  6. Electrical faults. If a component within your microwave becomes faulty, a burnt smell can be emitted from your appliance. If this is the cause of the smell, it’s essential to get your microwave looked at by a technician ASAP.

Steps to Remove a Burnt Smell from a Microwave

Getting rid of a burnt smell in a microwave can be a bit of a challenge, but it’s definitely doable. Follow the steps outlined below, and you’ll hopefully remove the smell quickly.

  1. Switch the power off. Ensure the microwave is unplugged or the circuit breaker is turned off to prevent cleaning accidents.
  2. Remove loose debris. If there’s any burnt or charred food residue in the microwave, remove it. 
  3. Wipe the interior. Fill a microwave-safe bowl with water and a few tablespoons of white vinegar or lemon juice. Heat this mixture in the microwave for a few minutes to help loosen any stuck-on residue. After heating, let it sit for a few minutes to allow the steam to work. You can then remove and clean the plate separately and wipe down the interior of the microwave with a damp, clean cloth or sponge.
  4. Place baking soda in the microwave. A great way to remove any lingering odors is to place a bowl of baking soda in the microwave. Leave it overnight if possible or a few hours before removing it and discarding the baking soda in the trash. Ensure the door is closed while the baking soda sits in the microwave.
  5. Air it out. Once you remove the baking soda, leave the microwave door open for a few hours to let fresh air circulate and help eliminate the smell. While waiting for it to air out, give the appliance’s exterior a good clean with hot, soapy water and a clean cloth, or use a commercial cleaning spray.
  6. Consider getting a professional clean. If going through the above steps hasn’t removed the burnt smell, a professional microwave cleaning service might be worth considering. Alternatively, you might want to get a technician to come and inspect your appliance if there’s any chance the smell is the result of a defective internal component.

Tips to Prevent Burnt Smells in a Microwave

Preventing a burnt smell in your microwave requires some simple practices and precautions. By following these tips, you can significantly reduce the chances of experiencing a burnt smell.

  • Follow cooking instructions. Always follow the recommended cooking times and power levels for your food items. Overcooking or overheating is a common cause of burnt smells.
  • Always use microwave-safe containers. Ensure that the containers and utensils you use in the microwave are microwave-safe. Non-microwave-safe items can overheat or melt and create foul odors.
  • Always cover your food. Use a microwave-safe cover, paper towel, or lid when cooking food that might splatter (like soups and sauces). This prevents food particles from splattering and burning inside the microwave.
  • Stir your food. When cooking or reheating, stir your food as necessary. This helps distribute heat evenly and reduces the risk of hot spots that can lead to burning.
  • Be careful with high-fat or sugary foods. Foods high in fat and sugar, such as bacon or sugary sauces, are more likely to burn. Be mindful of cooking times and use lower power settings when heating these items.
  • Regularly clean your microwave. Remember to clean the interior of your microwave regularly to remove any lingering food particles and odors. Use a mild solution of water and dish soap or a mixture of water and vinegar for cleaning.

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