Posted on: January 6, 2009 Posted by: Nicole Harding Comments: 4

The microwave oven is one of the most ingenious and useful household appliances found in homes today. It heats or cooks food through dialectric heating, powered by microwave radiation. Because of its efficiency, almost any kitchen has one nowadays. If you need to quickly and adequately cook or heat food, you can turn to the microwave to help you out.

Microwaves are very efficient, but just like other kitchen appliances, they need proper maintenance and cleaning so that they’ll continue to function normally. If you neglect your microwave, chances are you’ll often find a foul, lingering smell coming from your appliance that will soon, spread throughout your cooking area.

Types Of Microwave Odors

The unpleasant odors your microwave oven can have vary, depending on the type of food you placed or cooked in it. They can be very subtle or too overpowering. Sometimes, the smells go away on their own, but most of the time, they stay within the appliance’s walls.

Here are a few causes of microwave odors.

  • Burnt food – When you accidentally overcook food, the smell sometimes lingers. The most common example of this is burnt popcorn.
  • Rotten food – During the cooking or heating process, bits of food sometimes slosh out or drip from their container, and, when left for days, become spoiled and produce an unpleasant odor.
  • Improper cleaning – Some people clean their microwaves all right, but they use filthy rags and inappropriate cleaning agents. Instead of getting rid of the smell, they worsen the problem.
  • Electrical parts – Malfunctioning microwaves sometimes have a foul electrical odor emanating from the parts themselves.

Any of these may be the cause of your dilemma. For you to be able to continue using your microwave with ease, you should try getting rid of its unpleasant smell. Here are several tactics you can try.

Liquid Dish Soap And Water

If the scent is newly-acquired and it’s not very strong, it probably hasn’t stuck to your oven’s interior yet. This is good news, since it means you can use easy tactics to get rid of it. The most basic method is using regular liquid dish soap and warm water.

First, check that your microwave is unplugged. Take a washcloth, then use a gentle liquid dish soap to apply it to your microwave interiors, scrubbing as thoroughly as you can. When all parts have been scrubbed, get another washcloth and a basin of warm water. Rinse down the soap. Your microwave will be spotless and odorless in no time.

Try Vinegar

When it comes to all-around household products, nothing can compare to vinegar. It can be used as a bleach, take away stains, disinfect, and it works for tough to remove odors. It’ll certainly work for your microwave stench. Here’s how to use vinegar.

  1. Make sure the oven is unplugged.
  2. Using a screwdriver, unfasten the cabinet body. It’s attached along the bottom, sides or back.
  3. Slightly slide the body back, clearing any internal brackets. Lift it off.
  4. Using a vacuum with a plastic crevice attached to it, clean the oven, vacuuming the fan and the other internal areas. You should also vacuum the vents on the back and inside the chamber and underneath the oven.
  5. Reassemble the oven, and plug it in again.
  6. Fill a small microwavable bowl with a mixture consisting of 50% white vinegar and 50% water. Put it in the oven, set the oven on high for about five minutes. As the mixture boils, it will take away the stubborn smells in the vent. It’ll also loosen food particles on the oven walls.
  7. Using a clean sponge, wipe down the oven walls.

If you are not very familiar with your oven, and you’re unsure on how to unfasten the cabinet body, it’s better to skip the first five steps, and just proceed with boiling the water-vinegar mix. You might to additional damage if you fiddle with the microwave interior.

Apple cider vinegar also works for this method. If the smell is fairly light, you can just try wiping the walls with water and vinegar, rinse with tap water, then wipe dry with a soft and clean towel. You should also leave the microwave door open to let the air out. Your fresh and clean microwave scent will be restored.

For A Citrus Smell, Use Lemon

Everyone knows that citrus fruits like lemon and orange give off a pleasant smell. Their acidic qualities also make them ideal natural deodorizers and cleaners for various tasks, including cleaning out the microwave and removing its foul scent. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Get a thick slice of lemon, put it on a paper towel, and microwave it on high for at least one to two minutes. Let it stand overnight.
  2. Put half a cup of bottled lemon juice in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave it again for one to two minutes. It’s also okay to dilute the juice with water. Add several whole cloves.
  3. Wipe the insides of the microwave with a paper towel soaked in a water and lemon juice solution. Do the same for the doors, sides, window, seams and door seals. Wipe dry.

The Baking Soda Method

Baking soda, like lemon and vinegar, is also a popular natural remedy for stink problems. It’s easy to use, it can absorb any unpleasant smell very well, and it can be found in your readily in your home. To use this product, just open a fresh box and place it inside the microwave. Close the door, allow the baking soda to absorb the odor for two to three days. If the stubborn odor doesn’t go away, a couple more days should do the trick.

The Stuff You Use For Kitty’s Mess

Cat urine has a very putrid smell, and removing it is a common dilemma for pet owners. To solve the problem, they use various products, such as enzymatic cleaner. This chemical substance attacks the cause of the odor, instead of just covering up the smell. Since enzymatic cleaners work great for cat urine, just imagine how effective they’ll be for your oven.

First, buy a bottle of enzymatic cleaner. You can find this in pet supply stores. Check the instructions, and see if the product needs to be diluted or not. Put some of it into a spray bottle, and then spray liberally inside your microwave. Let it stand for an hour, then wipe the cleaner off. You’ll be surprised at how effective it is.

If It’s An Electrical Smell

There are cases when the smell doesn’t come from food, but rather from a faulty in the microwave’s electrical parts. If it’s an electrical smell, don’t do any of the methods above. Unplug the appliance, and call a professional to sort out the problem. If the microwave is still under the warranty period, call the company’s customer service for help.

Tempting as it may be, don’t tinker with the microwave yourself, since you might only do additional damage to it. Also, there’s a high voltage capacitor inside the microwave that can electrocute you. Wait for the experts to fix the problem. Hopefully, they’ll bring your microwave to its original, stink-free state.

The microwave is a very efficient household appliance, but if not properly cared for, it can bring you trouble than comfort. Keep it clean at all times, to prevent it from getting stinky. Try these tips if you ever find a repulsive odor coming from it. You can always get delicious, hot food from your microwave, but that’s all you should get, and no unpleasant smell.

Click here for more information on how to get rid of microwave odors.

4 People reacted on this

  1. The microwave is a very efficient household appliance, but if not properly cared for, it can bring you trouble than comfort. Keep it clean at all times, to prevent it from getting stinky. Try these tips if you ever find a repulsive odor coming from it. You can always get delicious, hot food from your microwave, but that’s all you should get, and no unpleasant smell.

  2. My microwave at home doesn’t have that stinky smell. But I do have one problem when it comes to cleaning. I’m having a hard time cleaning up the hardened food spots on top. Thanks for the tips.

  3. My brother heated up sauerkraut in the microwave and for months we couldn’t get it to go away. Everything we heated up came out tasting like the smell!!! I even burnt popcorn on purpose and was stuck with a sauerkraut/popcorn odor.

    I was about to throw the microwave away, but decided to try my neighbor’s odor eliminator called What Odor? I never really believed in products like this, but now I do…this is the absolute best way to get rid of odor FOR GOOD!

  4. Our daughter put a plastic container for soup in the microwave and forgot to add any water. Needless to say, that made the most God-awful smell. I’m pretty tolerant of bad smells (you have to be if you’re a mother-LOL), but this was so bad I was nauseated. So my Mom had some of the Easy-Off Microwave Cleaning Packs. You put the unopened pack in the micro for 1 minute. Then using the heat activated wipe inside you wipe down the interior. They work so-so, so if anyone is thinking about using these, they only work only so-so. Not bad, but not what they claim. At any rate, I decided to check out your site and I’m going to try the 50/50 vinegar-water. I’ll let you know before I post this how it works out. And here we go…. It worked OK, not as well as I had hoped. I used 1/2 C. water and 1 1/2 C. vinegar. Even though I had hoped it would have wokred better, it still made an improvement over what it had been before I used the vinegar/water idea. Thank you to everyone who created this site. It’s been a life saved for me, especially when I have kids that, though they are 19, 11 & 9, make messed that would impress a 2 year old-LOL).

Leave a Comment