How To Get Burnt Popcorn Smell Out Of Microwave

Who doesn’t love microwave popcorn? Not only is it an easy snack to make, but it’s delicious too!

One of the downsides to microwave popcorn however, is that burnt smell that can linger in your microwave if you leave the popcorn in for too long.

This smell is pretty hard to ignore, so how do you get rid of it? It turns out quite easily!

How To Get Burnt Popcorn Smell Out Of Microwave featured image

Below you’ll find four methods to get the burnt popcorn smell out of your microwave (as well as some other lingering food scents), so you can enjoy microwave popcorn while keeping your microwave clean and fresh. Let’s get into it!

Method #1

Add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and ½ cup of water to a bowl. Vinegar soaks up odor such as popcorn smell.

Place the bowl in the microwave for 4-5 minutes and then leave the bowl in the microwave for a further 10-15 minutes with the door closed.

The steam will cause anything stuck to the walls that causes unpleasant scents to come away.

Take the bowl out of the microwave and wipe down the inside with a paper towel. If this doesn’t work, soak a sponge with vinegar and baking soda and put it in the microwave for 25 seconds.

Wipe the inside of the microwave, the microwave door, and the glass tray with the sponge.

If there is still some grime in the microwave, put some acetone-free nail polish remover on cotton wool and clean the inside of the microwave. This should remove even the most stubborn stains.

To get rid of the nail polish remover and the chemical scent, wipe down the inside of the microwave with soap and vinegar water in that order.

To totally get rid of the nail polish remover scent use some citrus! Slice a lemon in half or peel two orange slices and put them in a bowl with 1-2 cups of water.

Put the slices in the microwave for 4 minutes. Make sure that the water doesn’t spill out of the bowl and that your lemon or orange slices don’t burn.

If you can, keep the bowl in the microwave for 12 hours with the door closed. If this isn’t possible, you can keep the bowl in the microwave for as little as half an hour.

But if the smell isn’t gone, keep an open box of baking soda on the glass tray in the microwave overnight. Or, you can put coffee grounds in a bowl and leave them in the microwave all day.

To speed the process up, you can place 2 tablespoons of coffee grounds in half a cup of water for 2-3 minutes.

Method #2

Cleaning your microwave well is a surefire way to avoid unpleasant scents.

To get rid of burnt-on stains in the microwave, warm up 1 cult of water in a microwave-friendly container for 3-4 minutes to loosen up the burnt-on stains.

Wipe down the inside of the microwave with a soft rag soaked in water and some dish soap. If you’re cleaning a stainless steel microwave, rub the cloth in the direction of the metal’s grain.

Use clean water to rinse the microwave and a soft, lint-free rag to dry. Allow the microwave to air out by leaving the microwave door open for 2-3 hours.

Pro-Tip: Microwaves cook food by heating and evaporating the water in food, so food that is dry or has a lot of starch (such as popcorn) is more susceptible to burning.

This is why it’s so important to keep an eye on your microwave popcorn!

Don’t let it deter you, though! Otherwise, you’d never get to experience flavors like this microwave caramel popcorn in our best microwave dessert recipes collection.

How To Get Burnt Popcorn Smell Out Of Microwave

Method #3

This method is not just great for removing burnt popcorn scents, but also other strong odors like burnt plastic or fish.

Lemon juice and vinegar are natural cleaners thanks to the acid that’s present, and these help to neutralize strong odors.

This method is best used when loose burnt-on pieces have been removed from the microwave, but you still have a strong, unpleasant scent.

First, make a natural cleaning solution with 1 cup of water and then 1 tablespoon of either vinegar or lemon juice. Then, cook it in a microwave-friendly container for 2-5 minutes.

Using a paper towel or sponge, wipe down the inside of your microwave.

If you don’t like how lemon juice or vinegar smells, you can also use 4 teaspoons of vanilla extract or 2 tablespoons of coffee grounds with ½ a cup of water.

Method #4

This method is a longer term solution for persistent burnt scents. This is an overnight method that should get your microwave smelling clean and fresh again by the following day.

In this method we’re going to be using baking soda as a deodorizer. Before you go to bed, put an open box of baking soda inside your microwave.

If you can’t get your hands on baking soda, you can also use dried coffee grounds in an open microwave-friendly container or 1 cup of activated charcoal.

Remember, make sure nobody uses the microwave while the deodorizer of your choice is inside!

Once the deodorizer has absorbed overnight you can then remove it the following morning.

Do not use the baking soda for cooking. However, you can still use it for cleaning.

You can even use the deodorizer on any cabinets or cupboards above your microwave that also have that burnt smell.

Pro-Tip: If the burnt smell is very powerful, it may be stuck in the charcoal filter of your microwave and this is the mechanism in your microwave that usually prevents or lessens odors.

To learn more about filters, check out how to reset the filter on a GE microwave for some helpful tips!

Final Thoughts

Burning food is a common occurrence in the kitchen, be it in the stove, the oven, or the microwave.

Lemon juice and vinegar are great natural deodorizers to get rid of the unpleasant burnt popcorn smell, and the former is a particularly good choice if you don’t like the smell of vinegar.

Baking soda and soap are excellent chemical solutions if you need something a little tougher.

One thing is for sure though: for a clean, fresh microwave that has no burnt popcorn scent, clean your microwave sooner rather than later!

Katie Vine