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Getting Rid of Cooking Smells

Berkeley Parents Network > Advice > Household Management > Getting Rid of Cooking Smells



Burned popcorn smell in microwave

Jan 2008

Does anyone know how to get rid of the smell of burnt popcorn in a microwave? It's now a week old. We have aired it out, washed it out with soap and water, but to no avail. It's a new microwave, too. Thanks for any help!


What I do is cut a lemon in half, put both halves in a cup of water, and nuke that for a couple of minutes. That gets rid of most smells. Sorry about your experience! Lisa in Oakland
This may sound strange, but we were advised to do it in a HORRIBLE smelling refrigerator (meat accidentally left to spoil for two weeks -- augh!), and it actually worked when nothing -- and I do mean nothing -- else worked, so it might with your microwave as well. Get a couple dozen or so charcoal briquets, and some newspaper. Stuff the newspaper into the microwave, and every so often add in a briquet. Fill it completely. Close the door tight and leave it for 48 hours. Then open, unpack, and wash with lemon- smelling soap. Karen
Vinegar. It works in the air to by simply placing an open bowl on top of the refrigerator, in it, in the microwave, or wherever the offending smell is. It naturally absorbs the odors. You can wipe down the microwave and/or just let a cup or bowl of vinegar (it doesn't take much) sit inside 'til the odor is gone. The time will depend on how much you have ''cooked in'' the smell since the popcorn burned. Next time (you know there will be a next time), use the vinegar right afterwards. Vinegar is also a safe, nontoxic way to whiten/ brighten your clothes & remove stains. Just add with baking soda to your wash. For treating spots, rub the vinegar & baking soda into the stain. You'll see it working when it starts boiling. Let me know how it works.
Hi There, Our 12 year old left popcorn too long in our new microwave last year. The smell was miserable. The thing that worked the best was washing it down really well and then spraying it with Ozium air sanitizer. Close the door for a couple of hours and then wash it down again. Still, even though you diligently do everything, don't be surprised if there is residual smell for months! Trust me though, it eventually goes away. You don't need to buy another microwave even though you might be reminded of the popcorn mistake whenever you open the microwave door for a long time to come. anon
Place a glass measuring cup containing 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup lemon juice, and 1/4 cup whole cloves in microwave. Turn on high power for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Let it stand overnight or until the liquid has cooled. The cloves are the key. This recipe has worked for me no matter how bad the odor was. mollyb
June 2002

We recently burned (*SERIOUSLY* burned)a bag of microwave popcorn in our microwave, and can't get the smell (or yellow color) to go away. We've tried various cleaning supplies, baking soda, leaving it open for long stretches, etc. (and we've checked the website for ideas). Nothing seems to work - and after all of our efforts, the smell is still pretty strong when we open the door. Anyone have any ideas?? Anonymous


A couple of years back, we had a turkey spoil (very seriously) in our freezer while we were gone on vacation -- and had a similar problem with a smell we couldn't get rid of. The solution -- recommended by Amana -- that finally reduced the smell to tolerable levels, such that baking soda eventually cleared it up, was to pack the refrigerator/freezer full of crumpled newspaper and charcoal briquets, shut it up, and leave it for a few days. Sounds weird, but was remarkably effective. I wonder if something similar might work for you? Karen
Sorry to say that the only thing that works is time. We had a situation much like yours, and it took months to get rid of the smell and yellow coloring. We kept finding the coloring in various places, like under the sink where the popcorn bag had been tossed into the garbage. Now I use my air popper. jamie

The smell of onions & oil won't go away!

Dec 1999

Anyone have any advice on how to rid the home of cooking smells? We live in a small apartment and with windows closed in winter, the smell of cooking onions, oil, and vegetables won't go away. I've considered cooking some cinnamon and cloves, but I'd rather rid my home of the smell than mask it with something else. Thanks!


Have you tried any of the new products such as Febreeze or the new Clorox version that absorb odors?? I have found them to be excellent. I have three cats and have many uses for the products. Good Luck.
Try boiling vinegar on top of the stove it works every time.
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