How to Get Burnt Popcorn Smell out of the Microwave

Fred's Appliance
July 23, 2014


There’s no faster way to stink up your house than by overcooking popcorn in the microwave. The nose-turning stench can linger for hours – sometimes days. And using air fresheners, candles, diffusers and other scented products will only make the problem worse. So, how do you remove the burnt popcorn smell out of the microwave?


If you peek inside your microwave, you’ll probably notice a layer of brown/caramel-colored grime coating the interior. This is essentially the smoke residue from your burnt popcorn, which happens to be the source of the odor. Cleaning this residue out of your microwave should eliminate the foul odor, allowing you and your family to breathe fresh air once again.


One neat microwave cleaning trick that’s particularly effective at removing foul odors is to heat a coffee mug full of apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar has antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties. Best of all, it’s highly acidic, which allows it to eat through tough grime.


Fill a thermal-resistant coffee mug with store-bough apple cider vinegar, and heat it inside your microwave until it comes to a boil. Once it reaches a roaring boil, turn your microwave off and leave the door shut for 10-15 minutes. This allows the vinegar steam to penetrate through the caked-on popcorn grime.  When 10-15 minutes has passed, open the microwave door and carefully remove the vinegar-filled coffee mug.


The steam from the apple cider vinegar alone isn’t going to remove the burnt popcorn grime. Instead, it loosens up the grime so it’s easier to clean. To completely eliminate this grime – and the horrible smell – from your microwave, you’ll need to use a little bit of elbow grease (AKA your hands). Using either a dish sponge or steel wool, scrub down the inside of your microwave, rinsing your cleaning tool when needed. If any areas of grime are too hard to scrub off, soak your sponge or steel wool in warm water.


After cleaning the popcorn grime out of your microwave, you should notice an almost immediate improvement in the odor. But there’s one last step in eliminating the burnt popcorn odor. Place a small microwavable-safe dish of lemon juice inside your microwave and heat it for 45 seconds. Lemon juice  is an all-natural cleaner and deodorizer that will clean and eliminate foul odors (much like apple cider vinegar). Let the lemon juice sit for 1-2 minutes, at which point you can remove it from your microwave.

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