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How To Clean A Burnt Microwave Quick and Easiest Way

how to clean a burnt microwave

Whether it’s from you misreading the labels, pressing the wrong buttons, or leaving the cooking to your teenagers, a burnt convection microwave oven isn’t that rare a sight. Microwave accidents are common enough worldwide, but if you don’t take the time to learn how to clean a burnt microwave after seeing sparks come from it, it could easily be permanently damaged.

Sounds grim, doesn’t it? There’s good news, though: that’s only a few percentages of cases. Most of the time, it’s just stuck-on bits of food, pieces of metal, scorch marks, and food odors that trouble your microwave. Still, who wants to use a microwave that smells like it’s where food goes to die? Read the tips below to save yourself the time, effort, and expense of replacing the unit.

Removing Burnt Food From Your Microwave

Burnt food might be the most common problem people face with microwave ovens. In all honesty, it’s not really that hard to set the timer for too long, whether by accident or by misunderstanding how fast the food will heat up. Burnt popcorn, pizza, and other dishes you’d use a microwave for can all leave horrible little bits of themselves on the walls if you set the timer for way too long. Follow these quick little tips to get burnt bits of food out of your microwave walls:

  1. Make Sure the Microwave Is Off: Always, always make sure that your microwave is turned off and has been totally disconnected from a socket before you go ahead with any cleaning tips.
  2. Prepare the Cleaning Mixture: In a bowl or in the sink, mix warm water and a small amount of dish detergent. Wait for it to sud, and soak your cleaning instrument (usually a rag or sponge) into the mixture.
  3. Clean Away Bits of Food: Dish detergent and warm water work wonders for most bits of burnt food stuck to the walls. If the food’s really tough or needs a more decisive kick to clean, you can use a coarser pad.
  4. Use Baking Soda If Necessary: Baking soda has been the cleaner’s friend for decades now. Sprinkling a little baking soda on the rag or sponge is best for getting sticky food off.
  5. Make A Paste With Baking Soda: And even after all that, some stains might not go, like burnt cheese determined to stick to the wall and make your life hell. For situations like that, there’s a neat little trick you can use. Make a soft paste with three parts of vinegar and 1 part water, and let it sit on the burnt food for a couple of minutes before scrubbing it off with a damp rag.

Getting Rid of the Burnt Smell From Your Microwave

Bits of food stuck on the walls aren’t the only thing that can happen from leaving something too long in the microwave. You also get a burnt smell depending on the food, and at times, it can be nauseating. Regardless of whether it’s the faint smell of scorched popcorn or the much heavier and more nauseating smell of cheese burnt to a crisp, work your way down this list of easy-to-follow how to clean a burnt microwave methods to get rid of odors:

Method 1: Cleaning the Inside of Your Microwave

The first step you should take for removing odors from something is giving it a good cleaning. After you’ve made sure there are no pieces of food or metal in the microwave, clean it the following way:

  1. Steam With Water: Heat a medium-sized cup of water in a microwave-safe container or glass for about 4 minutes. The steam from the cup of water helps loosen up grime that creates odor.
  2. Clean With Dish Soap: Use the methods outlined above to clean the interior of your microwave with dish soap and water. Baking soda isn’t necessary if there are no bits of food stuck to the walls.
  3. Rinse and Dry: The next step is to rinse your microwave with clean water and dry out the interior with a soft cloth, preferably lint-free. Leave it open for a couple of hours so it can dry out.

Method 2: Steam Away Odors Inside Your Microwave

This method uses lemon juice or vinegar to steam out powerful odors, like burnt fish or damaged plastic. The natural acids found in lemon juice and vinegar help neutralize powerful smells by:

  1. Make the Solution: Mix 1 cup of water with a tablespoon of either vinegar or lemon juice. Stir it well before placing it inside the microwave.
  2. Heat for 3-5 minutes: Turn the microwave on and let the mixture heat for at least 2 minutes to a maximum of 5 minutes, depending on how strong the smell is.
  3. Wipe the Interior Clean: After the steam from the solution neutralizes the odors, turn your microwave off and wipe the interior clean to ensure there’s no moisture left.

Method 3: Deodorizing Your Microwave With Baking Soda or Dried Coffee Grounds

Even after steaming with lemon juice or vinegar, particularly nasty smells may refuse to leave. In that case, you’re going to need a longer-term solution, like deodorizing your microwave overnight.

This is nowhere as complicated as it sounds (and no, it doesn’t involve deodorant). All you need to do is place an open, small box of something like baking soda, dried coffee grounds, or activated charcoal inside the countertop microwave and let it sit there overnight. Make a note to mention this to your family members, so they don’t use the microwave while it’s being deodorized overnight.


Both food sticking to the walls and scorches from pieces of metal in the smallest microwave oven can cause the interior to get burnt. You can remove discolorations and scorch marks with a damp cloth and an acetone-based nail polish remover, but you’ve got to clean any excess acetone with a clean rag as well!

Try these easy-to-follow tips today to revive your microwave after a particularly nasty incident and ensure your microwave remains to look brand new.

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