How to Clean a Scorched Microwave Oven

Usually the speed of microwave cooking is one of its most appealing and convenient features. That can change in a hurry if you're distracted long enough for the food to burn, leaving your microwave discolored and smelling scorched. Before you take your microwave to the curb and trek to the store for a new one, it's worth investing a few minutes in cleaning. Often a modest effort and a few items from your cupboards can save the day.

Items you will need

  • Clean cloths
  • Baking soda
  • Microwaveable bowl
  • White vinegar
  • Acetone-based nail polish remover
  • Cinnamon, vanilla, coffee grounds or other pleasant-smelling ingredients
Step 1

Remove the turntable and its supporting ring from the microwave. Wipe out any loose food debris with a damp cloth. If there are stuck-on splatters and food, dampen them with a wet cloth and then spread them with a paste of hot water and baking soda. Let them rest for 10 to 15 minutes, then wipe them out.

Step 2

Sprinkle the inside of the microwave with baking soda. Moisten a clean cloth in hot water and scrub all five walls of the microwave, plus the inside of the door, with the soda. It's a gentle, non-abrasive cleanser that won't hurt the surfaces.

Step 3

Rinse out the cloth and use it to wipe away the soda, rinsing again as needed in fresh, hot water. When you're done, the food spatters should be gone and there should be no soda visible on the inner surfaces.

Step 4

Fill a microwaveable bowl with 1 cup of water and 2 tablespoons of white vinegar. Microwave the bowl until it boils vigorously, then leave it in the microwave for 15 minutes. Remove the bowl and wipe down the surfaces. This will remove any stubborn food debris clinging to the oven, as well as any remaining soda. Some microwaves come with a reservoir specifically for steam cleaning, which saves the use of a bowl.

Step 5

Pour a small quantity of acetone-based nail polish remover onto a clean cloth or sponge. Use this to scrub any areas that were discolored by scorching. Often, acetone will remove or mute the discoloration. Wipe off the affected areas with a clean, damp cloth when you're done.

Step 6

Mask the scorched odors in your microwave's venting system by boiling a bowl of water containing cinnamon, vanilla, coffee grounds or other pleasant, strong-smelling items. While the microwave is not in use, fill a cup with baking soda or coffee grounds and leave it on the turntable. This will help absorb any lingering odors. A few microwaves have removable filters, which can be washed to remove any lingering odors.


  • The microwave's turntable can be cleaned by running it through your dishwasher, or washing it by hand. The plastic ring supporting the turntable should usually be hand-washed.
  • Usually it won't be necessary to run through all of these steps. Use just as many of the techniques as needed to clean your microwave.

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