How to Get Smoke Smell Out of Microwave: Effective Deodorizing Tips

Experiencing a smoke smell in your microwave can be both unpleasant and persistent. Knowing how to effectively remove this odor is important, not just for the sake of a fresh-smelling kitchen, but to ensure the taste of your heated food isn’t compromised. Whether the smoke smell is a result of burnt popcorn, an overcooked meal, or a forgotten item, there are numerous ways to tackle the problem. We’ll guide you through some tried-and-true methods to get your microwave smelling clean and smoke-free.

Some common household items are remarkably effective at neutralizing microwave odors. Using natural solutions like vinegar or lemon not only helps to eliminate bad smells but also leaves a fresh scent behind. For more stubborn smoke smells, a deeper cleaning procedure may be required. By maintaining regular upkeep and promptly addressing spills and splatters, future incidents of odor can be minimized, ensuring your microwave stays fresh and functional.

Key Takeaways

  • Effective methods exist to eliminate smoke smell from microwaves.
  • Natural deodorizers can refresh without harsh chemicals.
  • Regular maintenance reduces the recurrence of odors.

Understanding Microwave Odors

Microwave odors, specifically smoke and burnt smells, are common issues that we often encounter. Knowing the origins and repercussions helps us address them effectively.

Sources of Smoke Smell

Smoke smell in microwaves usually arises from overheated foods like burnt popcorn or scorched meals. Occasionally, residues from past cooking can smolder, leading to a persistent burnt odor. Food smells, particularly from high-fat or sugary items, can cling to the interior surfaces and contribute to unwanted odors after heating.

Consequences of Ignoring Odors

Neglecting these odors not only makes future meals unpleasant but can also be a signal of underlying issues that may require our attention. Allowing smoke smell or burnt smell to persist can lead to the odor setting in, making it more challenging to remove. Additionally, ignoring food smells can attract pests or result in the build-up of bacteria, thus compromising the cleanliness and safety of our microwave.

Pre-Cleaning Steps

Before we tackle the stubborn smoke smell, there are a couple of essential pre-cleaning steps we need to address. These steps will ensure the cleaning process is more effective and help us avoid embedding the odor deeper into the microwave’s interior.


The first thing we want to do is ventilate the area. Open any nearby windows to allow fresh air to circulate. If you have an exhaust fan in your kitchen, turn it on to help remove smoke particles from the air. This step will not only dissipate the smoke smell but also make it safer for us to perform the cleaning.

Initial Wipe Down

Next, we will remove any large food particles or residue. Wearing gloves, we’ll gently wipe the interior surfaces of the microwave with a damp cloth. It’s crucial to remove any loose debris because these can absorb and retain the smoke odor. This light cleaning helps prepare the microwave for a more thorough deodorizing treatment.

Natural Deodorizing Methods

To effectively remove smoke smell from our microwave, we rely on natural deodorizers that are readily available in our kitchens. These methods are not only eco-friendly but also safe and simple to use.

Using Vinegar Steam

To steam clean our microwave, we use distilled white vinegar. We fill a microwave-safe bowl with a mixture of equal parts water and vinegar. Heating this solution for several minutes allows the steam to circulate and absorb odors.

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Lemon Juice Cleanse

Lemon juice is excellent for a fresh and clean scent. We combine water with fresh lemon juice in a bowl and microwave it until it boils, allowing the steam to loosen grime and eliminate smells.

Baking Soda Solution

We can deodorize our microwave using baking soda by placing an open container filled with it inside the appliance overnight. Alternatively, we make a paste with water and baking soda and apply it to the interior surfaces, then wipe clean after a few hours.

Coffee Grounds Trick

Ground coffee can absorb unwanted odors. We place a bowl of ground coffee inside the microwave for 24 hours. Coffee grounds not only absorb the smoke smell but also leave behind a comforting coffee scent.

Chemical Deodorizing Agents

When we tackle unwanted odors in our microwaves, it’s often useful to turn to chemical deodorizing agents that are specifically designed for this task. These products not only mask odors but can also neutralize them, leaving our microwaves smelling fresh once more.

Commercial Deodorizers

Commercial deodorizers are often formulated to target and eliminate tough kitchen odors. When you choose a deodorizer for your microwave, look for options that are safe for use around food and are designed for microwave interiors. Apply them according to the instructions, usually by spraying lightly and wiping the area after a few minutes.

Using Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal is highly effective for absorbing microwave odors due to its porous nature. To use it:

  • Open a container of activated charcoal.
  • Place it inside the microwave.
  • Leave it overnight.

The charcoal works by trapping odor-causing particles, a process known as adsorption, which significantly helps to deodorize the space.

Rubbing Alcohol Wipe

Rubbing alcohol can also serve as a deodorizing agent. Its sanitizing properties make it ideal for this use. To create a rubbing alcohol wipe:

  1. Dilute rubbing alcohol with water in a 1:1 ratio.
  2. Soak a cloth or sponge in the solution.
  3. Thoroughly wipe the inside of the microwave.

Allow the microwave to air out after cleaning. The alcohol will evaporate, taking lingering smoke smells with it.

Deep Cleaning Process

When deep cleaning a microwave, we need to focus on loosening tough stains and splatters, effectively scrubbing away residues, and ensuring a thorough rinse and dry. Proper techniques and suitable cleaning materials like dish soap play a crucial role in this process.

Softening Stains and Splatters

First, we’ll tackle the stains and splatters. Place a microwave-safe mug filled with water into the microwave and heat until it boils and produces steam, typically for about 3 to 4 minutes. The steam will help to soften the hardened food splatters, making them easier to wipe away. It’s important to use only microwave-safe containers to prevent any mishaps during the steaming process.

Scrubbing Techniques

Once the stains have softened, it’s time to start scrubbing. Dip a soft cloth or sponge in a mixture of warm water and a few drops of dish soap. Gently but firmly wipe the interior of the microwave, paying extra attention to any stains or areas with food buildup. For stubborn residues, a melamine sponge can be very effective. However, it’s vital to avoid using abrasive materials that could damage the microwave’s interior surface.

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Rinse and Dry

After scrubbing, we must rinse the microwave’s interior with a clean, damp cloth to remove any remaining soap residue. Then, leave the door open to air dry or use a dry towel to pat down the surfaces. Ensuring the microwave is completely dry prevents moisture buildup, which could lead to unwanted odors or bacteria growth. A clean, odor-free microwave is the sign of a successful deep clean.

Preventive Measures and Maintenance

Maintaining a fresh-smelling microwave involves regular cleaning, using methods to prevent odors, and proper upkeep. By keeping to these practices, we ensure our microwave remains in good condition and free from unpleasant odors.

Regular Cleaning Schedule

Weekly Cleanings: To prevent the buildup of odors, it’s essential we wipe the interior of our microwave weekly. For stainless steel interiors, use a soft cloth with mild detergent and water, ensuring we rinse thoroughly to avoid streaks.

  • Daily Spill Management: Immediately after spills, we should clean them to prevent burned-on residue. Simply use a damp cloth for quick wipe-downs.

Odor Prevention Tips

  • Berries: Gentle bowlfuls of berries heated for a short time can leave a pleasant aroma.
  • Vanilla Extract Soak: Soak a cotton ball in vanilla extract and place it in the microwave to combat odors.
  • Coffee Grounds: Coffee has a strong, natural scent that can neutralize odors. Place a bowl of grounds inside and leave it overnight.
  • Lemon Freshness: Heat a bowl of water with lemon slices for a few minutes. The steam helps clean, while the lemon’s antibacterial properties and fresh scent work as a natural deodorizer.

Microwave Care and Upkeep

Consistent Monitoring: We must check regularly for worn seals or damage, especially in door latches, which can affect the microwave’s performance.

  • Popcorn Caution: Be mindful when popping popcorn, as overcooking it can lead to burnt smells that linger.
  • Turntable Maintenance: Ensure the turntable is always functioning correctly; an immobile turntable can cause uneven heating and potential scorching of foods.


We’ve discussed several reliable methods to eliminate microwave odors effectively. Let’s recap the approaches to ensure that we leave our microwave smelling fresh.

  • Method 1: We can use steam to our advantage. Heating a bowl of water in the microwave will create steam that loosens residue. For an extra boost, adding lemon slices or white vinegar can neutralize odors. Remember to wipe the interior thoroughly after steaming.
  • Method 2: Combining water with dish soap offers a simple cleaning solution. After steaming with water, wiping the microwave with a cloth dipped in this mixture can remove lingering smells.
  • Method 3: For stubborn odors, we can harness the power of baking soda or vinegar steam treatments. Place a mixture of water and vinegar or just an open box of baking soda inside the microwave to absorb and remove strong scents.

Tips for Maintaining a Fresh Microwave:

  • After use: Quickly wipe spills and splatters.
  • Regular cleaning: Schedule periodic deep cleans.
  • Prevent accidents: Cover food during heating to minimize splashes.

By incorporating these methods into our cleaning routine, we ensure our microwave remains odor-free and functional. Making a habit of immediate clean-up after use will help prevent future odors from taking hold in the first place. With our combined effort, the daunting task of removing microwave smells becomes a manageable part of our household upkeep.

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