We’ve all experienced that dread in the bottom of your stomach when you realize the food you placed in the microwave earlier has burnt.
Whether it be inexperience with a new microwave oven, misreading the packaging, or letting your husband, or worse, teenager, cook for once, we’ve all experienced the foul smell of smoke seeping out of the microwave.
This is made worse by the item of food that has burnt, but the smell of smoke alone can be extremely off-putting.
That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide, packed full of great ways to remove the smell of smoke from your microwave.
We’ve included some traditional methods as well as some alternatives to give you the best chance of removing the stink and having a fresh smelling microwave once again.
Give it a Deep Clean
The first method you will probably try is cleaning the microwave. This seems like quite an obvious way to remove the smell, especially if any ingredients of the burnt meal exploded and coated the interior of your microwave.
This is the best place to begin as it’s the easiest method and has a very good chance of removing the smell, if this doesn’t work you can move onto other methods.
You should begin by removing any loose leftover pieces of food from within the microwave, there will likely be some sturdier stains that you will struggle to remove which is where steaming comes in. There are modern microwave ovens that have a steam cleaning function built in. Otherwise, you can make steam the old-fashioned way.
Fill a microwave-safe container or dish with a cup of water and place it in the microwave and heat the microwave for 3 minutes. This will steam the interior of the microwave and make it easier to remove stains.
Once you have steamed the interior of the microwave you should wipe all of the walls with a soapy cloth to give them a thorough clean.
After you are confident the interior has been cleaned thoroughly, you should get a fresh cloth and wipe all of the walls with clean water followed by a dry cloth.
You should then leave the microwave door open for a couple of hours to allow it to air dry before using next.
Use a Deodorizer Overnight
If cleaning does not remove the smell, it’s likely the odor is very persistent. This may be because the meal that was burnt in there had some strong-smelling ingredients.
A more long term method to clean the microwave is by using a deodorizer, however, you should be aware that this will put your microwave out of commission overnight.
The best way to do this is through the use of baking soda. You should place an open container of baking soda in the microwave, seal the door, and simply leave overnight.
Everyone in your household must be aware that the microwave cannot be used during this time.
During the time it is in the microwave, the baking soda will absorb the odor from the air within the microwave. Come morning you should remove the baking soda, and find yourself faced with a fresh smelling microwave.
After using the baking soda as a deodorizer you should not attempt to use it in any cooking, however, it can be reused for other cleaning processes such as deodorizing cupboards.
Steam the Microwave
Another great option you should consider is steaming the microwave.
We mentioned steaming briefly in the deep clean method, but if this doesn’t work there are some things you can do to make steaming a more effective method.
Strong ingredients, like fish, will have very stenchy odors once burnt, so it can sometimes be effective to counteract these smells with a natural acid.
To do this method you should remove any leftover bits of food from your microwave and ensure it is empty.
You should fill a microwave-friendly container with a cup of water (just like in the deep clean method) but also add a spoonful of either lemon juice or vinegar -- white vinegar works particularly well.
Both lemons and vinegar are high in natural acid which makes them great for cleaning. Once your mixture is combined you should place the container in the microwave and heat for between 3 and 5 minutes.
After the timer is up, you should remove the container from the microwave. Be careful as the plastic of the container has likely got extremely hot during the time in the microwave.
All that’s left to do is simply wipe the interior walls of the microwave with a clean cloth. Any stains should easily lift, and the microwave should smell nice and fresh.
Finally, if some of the traditional cleaning methods don’t work there are some alternative methods you can use. These methods include using other foods and ingredients to counteract and replace the smell of smoke.
One way of doing this that you may not have heard of includes the use of berries. A great way to remove bad smells from your microwave, and also your kitchen, is microwaving a bowl of fresh berries.
The sweet smell will replace the foul stench and leave the room smelling fresh. However, you should note that the berries will be ruined in the process.
To do this you should cover a bowl of berries with saran wrap and heat in the microwave for two minutes. Take the bowl out of the microwave and you will be faced with a fresh and sweet smell.
Alternatively, you can use other ingredients to replace some of the ones we’ve covered in earlier methods. Instead of baking soda, some people choose to deodorize their microwave using coffee grounds.
To do this you follow the same method as with baking soda but replace the soda with coffee, ensuring you do not consume the coffee after using it as a deodorizer.
Another popular method is using vanilla extract when steaming instead of lemon juice/vinegar. Vanilla extract has a much sweeter smell and can leave your kitchen smelling a lot more pleasant than the smell of vinegar would.
In conclusion, these are all great ways to remove the smell of smoke from your microwave.
If the more basic methods do not work, there are a variety of others you can use to get your microwave smelling fresh again.