How to get rid of burnt smell in a microwave

Microwave ovens use less energy and take up less space than traditional stoves, so they play a prominent role in many kitchens. Burnt smells from overcooked food can permeate your microwave. Scrubbing the inside from top to bottom may not get rid of the smell, especially if it's caused by a particularly potent type of food, such as burnt popcorn. According to the 2008 book "Women's Day Easy House-Hold Tips," if you have a fresh lemon and some cloves handy, you can neutralise even the most unpleasant smells.

Peel any stickers from the skin of your fresh lemon. Lay a paper towel on a flat working surface, such as a table or counter.

Hold the lemon carefully in one hand and the grater in the other; grate the lemon peel, moving across the surface of the lemon with short strokes. Allow the grated strips of lemon peel to fall directly onto the paper towel for easier collection. Shift to a new section of skin when your grater completely removes the dark yellow outer peel.

Measure 1 cup of lukewarm water from your kitchen faucet and pour it into a 2-cup glass bowl. Sprinkle the grated lemon peel into the water. Slice the lemon in half and squeeze the juice from both halves into the bowl of water. Discard the lemons.

Drop three or four whole cloves into the bowl. Stir the water slowly with a spoon to mix the lemon juice, grated lemon peels and cloves.

Microwave the bowl of water on high power for two to three minutes. Leave the bowl to cool in the microwave for 15 to 30 minutes. Remove the bowl and surface-clean the inside of the microwave with a warm, wet dishcloth.


If you notice any lingering smells after your lemon-clove steaming, place several teaspoons of pure vanilla extract into a microwaveable bowl. Heat the vanilla on high for approximately 30 seconds, suggests Linda Cobb, author of "Talking Dirty with the Queen of Clean." Leave the microwave closed for up to 12 hours before removing the vanilla and wiping the inside of the microwave thoroughly with a damp cloth.


If you suspect the smell has anything to do with your microwave's mechanical parts, don't attempt to fix it. Unplug your microwave immediately and arrange for a qualified technician to have a look at it.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand-held grater
  • Fresh lemon
  • Paper towel
  • Measuring cup
  • 2-cup glass bowl
  • Paring knife
  • Whole cloves
  • Spoon
  • Dishcloth
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About the Author

Regan Hennessy has been writing professionally for 11 years. A copywriter and certified teacher, Hennessy specializes in the areas of parenting, health, education, agriculture and personal finance. She has produced content for various websites and graduated from Lycoming College with a Bachelor of Arts in English.