Microwaves are convenient kitchen appliances that we use to heat up or cook food quickly. If not cleaned properly, microwaves can harbor unpleasant odors that can be difficult to remove.
These odors can linger for days or weeks, making enjoying your food difficult. Luckily, there are many easy and effective ways to remove smells from a microwave oven using household items you probably already have in your kitchen.
In this post, I’ll share 15 tips for removing burnt smells and other odors from a microwave oven. From using simple solutions like vinegar and baking soda to more unique options like activated charcoal and cinnamon.
Common Types of Smells and Odors in a Microwave
There are many odors that can linger in a microwave these are the most common. By following these quick tips, you can keep your microwave clean, fresh, and odor-free.
For burnt smells:
Use a solution of water and vinegar. Mix equal parts of water and vinegar in a microwave-safe bowl and heat it for a few minutes until it steams up. Let it sit for a few more minutes to allow the steam to penetrate and loosen any burnt-on food particles. Then, wipe down the inside of the microwave with a clean cloth or sponge. This should help to remove any burnt smells and leave your microwave smelling fresh and clean.
For strong food smells:
Place a bowl of water and lemon slices in your microwave and heat it for a few minutes until it steams up. Let it sit for a few more minutes before wiping down the inside of your microwave with a clean cloth or sponge.
For stale odors:
Place a bowl of water and baking soda in your microwave and heat it for a few minutes until it steams up. Let it sit for a few more minutes before wiping down the inside of your microwave with a clean cloth or sponge.
For lingering odors:
Place a small bowl of white vinegar in your microwave and heat it for a few minutes until it steams up. Let it sit for a few more minutes before wiping down the inside of your microwave with a clean cloth or sponge.
Use activated charcoal:
Activated charcoal is a natural odor absorber that can help remove any lingering smells in your microwave. Place a small amount of activated charcoal in a microwave-safe dish and leave it in your microwave for a few days to absorb any odors.
What Supplies Do I Need to Remove Odors
The methods I give you use mostly household tools, utensils, and ingredients. I am certain you have some of these items in your home;
|Tools & Utensils||Ingredients|
|Microwave safe small bowl||Baking soda|
|Soft clothes||Citrus fruits|
|Charcoal||Dishwashing soap (Citrus)|
Pro Tip: I like using a microwave-safe glass jug with a handle. It makes it a safer option when handling boiling water and ingredients that could burn the skin.
How Long Does it Take to Remove Smells from a Microwave Oven?
It can take anywhere from a few minutes to overnight to remove odors from a microwave. Several attempts and methods can also be combined for those really tough smells.
PRO TIP: It’s a good idea to leave the microwave door ajar for a few minutes after cooking or reheating food if there is condensation inside. This allows the moisture to evaporate and prevents mold or mildew from forming inside the microwave. If you leave the door closed, the moisture can remain trapped inside the microwave, creating a damp environment that is ideal for bacteria growth.
Remove Lingering Smells from a Microwave Oven
Burnt smells are not the only smells that can linger in a microwave. There are a variety of different odors that can develop, such as strong food smells or stale odors.
Safety tips before starting.
- Ensure the bowl or jug is large enough so water does not overflow.
- Do not leave the microwave – keep an eye on it while the power is on.
- The water will boil in the bowl. Steam and condensation will cover and enter all crevices of your microwave including the exterior of the bowl you use.
- Using a jug with a handle will make it to remove using an oven mitt. Let the microwave cool a little and the steam dissipate before wiping out the microwave this ensures you won’t get burned.
Before you can remove any odors you need to clean the microwave thoroughly!
1. Dish Soap
Mix a few drops of dish soap with water in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 2-3 minutes, then wipe the inside of the microwave with a clean cloth. The soap will help to remove any food or grease buildup that could be causing the smell.
2. Vinegar Solution
Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat the mixture in the microwave for 2-3 minutes, then let it sit for 5-10 minutes. The vinegar will absorb the odors including that microwave popcorn smell.
3. Baking Soda
Place a bowl of baking soda in the microwave and close the door. Leave it in for a few hours or overnight. The baking soda will absorb any unpleasant odors.
Pro Tip: Don’t limit yourself to lemons, limes, and oranges you can use grapefruit or any citrus fruit on hand.
4. Lemon Juice
Squeeze the juice of one lemon in a microwave-safe bowl. Add a cup of water and microwave for 3-4 minutes. The lemon will neutralize the odors.
5. Lemons and Water
Cut a lemon into wedges and place them in a microwave-safe bowl. Add water and microwave for 3-4 minutes. The lemon and water mixture will help to remove any odors and leave the microwave smelling fresh.
Place half a chopped orange, including the peel, in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 30-60 seconds. The citrus will neutralize any odors.
7. Citrus Juice and Vinegar
Mix equal parts of orange juice and white vinegar in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 3-4 minutes, then let it sit for 5-10 minutes. The mixture will help to remove any stubborn odors and clean the microwave.
8. Coffee Grounds
Put dry coffee grounds in a microwave-safe container and microwave for 30-60 seconds. The coffee will absorb any unpleasant smells.
9. White Bread
Place a slice of white bread on a microwave-safe plate and microwave for 15-20 seconds. The bread will absorb the odors.
Sprinkle cinnamon on a microwave-safe plate and microwave for 30 seconds. The cinnamon will give a pleasant smell to the microwave and mask any unpleasant odors.
Yes, you read the title right! To get rid of any unpleasant smells in your microwave oven, you can use berries!
First, grab half a cup of fresh or frozen berries and one cup of water, any kind of mixed berries will work great, and put them in a microwave-safe bowl.
Put in the microwave on high for three to five minutes. You’ll know it’s done when the water is boiling and the berries have released their juices.
Make sure to use mitts to carefully remove the bowl and boiling water and fruit from the microwave. Then, grab a damp cloth and wipe down the inside of the oven.
The natural acids in the berries will work their magic to neutralize any odors, leaving your microwave smelling fresh and clean!
Place a few pieces of charcoal in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 2-3 minutes. The charcoal will absorb the odors.
13. Activated Charcoal
Place a few pieces of activated charcoal in a microwave-safe container and microwave for 2-3 minutes. The charcoal will absorb the odors more effectively than regular charcoal.
14. Vanilla Extract
This is my favorite method for freshening a microwave oven. I would not recommend using this method for really tough smells, you don’t want your food to taste like a restroom.
- Combine one tablespoon of vanilla extract with one cup of water in a microwave-safe bowl.
- Microwave the mixture for one minute on high power.
- Leave it inside for about 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, open the microwave and remove the bowl. The vanilla steam will have helped to neutralize any odors.
- Use a clean, damp cloth to wipe down the inside of the microwave, making sure to get rid of any remaining odors.
A quick alternative method is to;
- Place a few drops of vanilla extract on a paper towel or microwave-safe plate. Microwave for 30 seconds, then leave the towel or plate in the microwave for a few hours.
This method is safe and effective for removing mild to moderate odors from your microwave. If you have particularly stubborn odors, you may need to repeat the process a few times or use additional methods to fully eliminate the smell.
15. Essential Oils
Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to a bowl of water and microwave for 3-4 minutes. This method is really just to freshen a microwave up! The scent of the oil will overpower any unpleasant smells pure oils are strong use them sparingly.
16. Hydrogen Peroxide
Mix equal parts of hydrogen peroxide and water in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 3-4 minutes, then let it sit for 5-10 minutes. The hydrogen peroxide will help to break down any tough stains and remove any odors.
Remember to always clean the inside of your microwave regularly, especially after cooking strong-smelling foods like garlic, onions, and fish. This will help to prevent any lingering odors.
Tips for Keeping a Microwave Oven Smell, Bacteria, and Mold Free
By following these tips, you can help to keep your microwave clean, odor-free, and free from harmful bacteria.
- Leave the door open: Leaving the door open after every use can help to eliminate any lingering smells or odors by allowing air to circulate and freshen up the inside of the microwave.
- Clean your microwave regularly: Wipe down the inside of your microwave with a damp cloth or sponge after each use. This will help to remove any food particles or spills that could cause odors or bacteria growth.
- Use microwave-safe containers: Make sure that the containers you use to heat up or cook food in the microwave are microwave-safe. Avoid using containers made of materials that could melt or release harmful chemicals into your food.
- Cover your food: Covering your food with a microwave-safe lid or cover while cooking or reheating can help to prevent food particles from splattering inside the microwave and causing odors or bacteria growth.
- Use a microwave cover: Using a microwave cover can also help to prevent food particles from splattering inside the microwave. Additionally, it can help to trap steam and moisture, making your food cook more evenly and preventing condensation from building up inside the microwave.
- Air out your microwave: If you notice that your microwave has a persistent smell, you can try leaving the door open for a few hours or overnight to allow air to circulate and freshen up the inside of the microwave.
By following these tips, you can help to keep your microwave clean, odor-free, and free from harmful bacteria.
How often should I clean my microwave?
It’s a good idea to wipe down the inside of your microwave with a damp cloth or sponge after each use. However, you should also give your microwave a deep clean at least once a week, or more often if you use it frequently.
What’s the best way to clean a microwave?
To clean your microwave, you can use a solution of equal parts water and vinegar or a specialized microwave cleaner. Heat the solution in a microwave-safe bowl for a few minutes until it steams up.
Let it sit for a few more minutes before wiping down the inside of your microwave with a clean cloth or sponge.
Can I use bleach to clean my microwave?
No, you should avoid using bleach to clean your microwave as it can be harsh and may damage the interior or affect the performance of the microwave. Stick to using a solution of water and vinegar or a specialized microwave cleaner.
What should I do if my microwave smells burnt?
If your microwave smells burnt, unplug it and allow it to cool down completely before cleaning it. Use a solution of water and vinegar or a specialized microwave cleaner to wipe down the inside of your microwave, paying extra attention to any areas where food may have burned.
Can I use baking soda to remove microwave odors?
Yes, you can use baking soda to remove microwave odors. Place a small bowl of baking soda inside your microwave and leave it for a few hours or overnight to absorb any odors. You can also sprinkle a little baking soda onto a damp sponge or cloth and use it to wipe down the inside of your microwave.
By using these tips, you can effectively remove different types of smells from your microwave and keep it smelling fresh and clean.
Removing odors and burnt smells from a microwave oven is important not only for ensuring a clean and fresh-smelling appliance but also for maintaining good hygiene and preventing bacteria growth.
By following my tips and suggestions, such as cleaning the microwave regularly, using natural odor absorbers like baking soda and activated charcoal, and avoiding the use of harsh chemicals like bleach, you can effectively remove unwanted odors and burnt smells from your microwave oven.
It’s important to take care of your microwave to ensure that it lasts longer and remains a safe and convenient appliance for your household.
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