Saturday, May 14, 2016

How to Rescue a Smoked Out Microwave

Kids and cooking... Sometimes you get a little more than you bargained for. At least our incident happened in the microwave and not on the stove! My daughter was cooking one of those easy macaroni and cheese packets, and well... She forgot to add the water!

Thank goodness there were no flames, but what a mess! And the smell! Oh my gosh, it was horrible!!! You just think burnt popcorn smells bad! I had to leave all the doors and windows open, and run fans for a full 24 hours, just to get the smoke and smell out of the house! 

The microwave was another story entirely. The smell just absolutely refused to go away! It seemed like a total loss. For a while, I thought that I might just have to suck it up and buy a new microwave. Thank goodness I decided to try a few things before I went to that expense...

The first thing that I did was to put one of those gel odor absorbers inside the microwave, and just leave it there, with the door closed, for a few days. (Do not turn the microwave on.) I also took this time to move the microwave outside. (The smell coming off of it was just that bad!) The odor absorber helped, but just didn't cut all of it.

After a few days with the odor absorbing gel, I thoroughly cleaned the microwave, both inside and out, with a few of those lemon scented disinfecting wipes. (Make sure you get all the vents really well, especially the exterior ones. I found that this was where most of the smell was coming from.)

Then, I poured some of the lemon infused vinegar that I use to clean my chicken coop, along with a couple of lemon halves from the mixture, into a microwaveable bowl. (If you don't have any lemon infused vinegar, just use white vinegar and a lemon cut in half.) I nuked the mixture for 5 minutes, to make sure it was boiling and circulating the steam throughout the microwave really well. You could literally see it working. Smoke residue, from deep inside the machine, was coming off and collecting in a brown puddle in the bottom of the microwave. I wiped up the mess and then microwaved a cup of plain water for another 5 minutes, just to clear everything out. The smell wasn't completely gone, so I repeated the process a few more times - until no more brown puddles appeared. (The fumes can be pretty strong for this, so I recommend that you keep the microwave outside until you're done.) 

When I thought the microwave was clean enough, I gave it one last good wipe down, and it was ready to come back inside and get back to work!! < Insert Happy Dance! >  I won't say that it was 100% perfect, but it was remarkably better. Only a very slight odor remained. You really only catch a whiff every now and then, and almost have to get right up next to it to smell anything at all. I'm hoping that over time this residual scent will continue to fade away. Even so, I definitely consider this process to be a win! 

Doing all of this did take a couple of days, but it ended up saving me a couple hundred dollars on a new microwave! I hope you never need it, but if you should ever find yourself in a similar situation, I hope this post helps you out.  

*Please do keep in mind that every situation is different. While this process worked for me, it may not work in all cases.


  1. Wow. Hope I never have to use this, but pinning to share and save :) Thanks so much for sharing with us at Snickerdoodle Sunday!

  2. I burned popcorn one the OFFICE microwave. It was so bad and everyone gave me so much grief! The gel odor absorbers do work, and at one point I had 3 of them in there :) All the odor does eventually go away, though it takes about a week. I'll never make that mistake again.

    1. Wow! I bet that was rough. I am so glad that you were able to save the microwave too. Thanks for the tip!

  3. I've burned a few things in the microwave before, but never as bad as yours looks. Glad I'll have some ways to deal with the microwave at least. :) Good to hear yours is better now!

  4. The blog was absolutely fantastic! Lot of information is helpful in some or the other way. Keep updating the blog, looking forward for more content...Great job, keep it up.


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