It doesn’t have to be a bad odor that’s greeting you when you open the microwave oven after several weeks or months. As long as there is odor that can stick to your food when you use the microwave, you need to clean your kitchen appliance first before use.
The following methods are all do-it-yourself. Many work almost instantly, while others require a couple of hours or overnight to work.
Instant Odor Removers
- Vinegar and water.
Vinegar is one of the simplest and most powerful cleaning agents you can find in your household. And contrary to misconceptions, the smell of vinegar actually doesn’t stick, but successfully combats bad smells.
In microwaves, just put a tablespoon of white vinegar in a bowl with half a cup of water. Run this in the microwave for 2 minutes and leave it in there for 15 minutes, letting the steam do its magic. Get a paper towel and wipe the interior off loosened dirt.
- Baking soda and vinegar.
This method requires a sponge and is used if the smell inside the microwave comes with dirt and stain as well. Soak your sponge in white vinegar (don’t add water anymore), then sprinkle baking soda on top and leave the sponge sitting in the center of your microwave. Run it for 20 seconds and leave it there to cool off for another 20 seconds. Scrub the walls and interior using the same sponge.
If needed, clean the interior with a water and soap solution, or wipe down with paper towel or dish cloth.
- DIsh soap and water.
For microwaves with hard burnt pieces, debris and odor in one, get a cup of water in a container and run it in the microwave for 3 to 5 minutes to loosen up the grime.
Get a dot of dish soap on a cloth and dip it in water. Use this for both the interior and exterior surfaces of your microwave. Rinse with a damp towel or paper towel. If you need to use it quickly, dry it off with a dry cloth or paper towel. Otherwise, you could just leave the door open for at least 2 hours and air it out.
- Coffee beans.
You have a couple of options when it comes to coffee beans or grounds, you can get a bowl and
- Add 2 tablespoons of coffee ground with a half cup of water, or
- Mix equal parts coffee ground and baking soda.
Heat the bowl for 2 to 10 minutes, making sure the mixture doesn’t spill.
You can even place coffee beans in a bowl and leave it there overnight if you’re not in a hurry to use the microwave.
- Citrus Fruits (Lemon, Orange, etc.) and Berries.
Like vinegar, citrus has unique components that remove stubborn smells without leaving any sour smells. They also possess antibacterial properties. Some tried-and-tested citrus fruits used for cleaning microwaves are lemons and oranges.
To use this method, follow these steps:
- For lemon: slice a lemon in half (then squeeze the juice into a bowl with half a cup of water). Add the lemon rinds inside.
- For orange: peel two oranges, then place the peels in a bowl with 2 cups of water. Add the fruit inside.
- For berries: just add a handful of berries in a bowl (choose one with a cover).
Once your citrus fruit is ready, run the microwave for 2 to 5 minutes.
You’d have to take a closer look at the orange bowl to keep it from boiling and spilling.
Remove the cover of your berries in a bowl after heating it up. Leave open for half an hour or more.
If the odor is still here, leave the bowl for 12 hours more.
- Vanilla Extract
Those who love to bake would surely have vanilla extract readily available in their pantries. This method requires you to put 4 teaspoons of vanilla extract in a bowl with 2 cups of water.
Heat it in the microwave for at least 2 minutes or until the mixture begins to boil. Turn off the microwave and leave the bowl inside for 30 minutes.
Overnight Odor Removers
If you’re not in a hurry or is facing stubborn dirt and odor, these methods could just do the trick:
- A box of baking soda.
You don’t need water with this method. Just take the entire box of baking soda inside the microwave and leave it in the microwave overnight or for a minimum of 12 hours.
Ever visited other people’s homes to see charcoal inside their refrigerators? Well, the concept is the same as this. Charcoal has properties that absorb odor and moisture effortlessly. You just place it inside the kitchen appliance that needs some TLC.
This method works best overnight (or longer) so the charcoal will have more time to absorb the stinky smells.
Cloves not only absorb bacteria, but they’re also effective at removing stinky odor.
Dash ¼ cup of ground cloves in a small bowl. Don’t add anything else. Leave it sitting in the microwave overnight. If you love the smell of cloves, you could use this everytime you’re not using the microwave, so you’ll be greeted by the lovely cloves smell each time you open it up.
The tricks above work for the most standard microwave ovens and even for fairly powerful microwave models.
And what I like about these methods is most of the ingredients are easily found in anyone’s kitchen pantries. Meaning, if you suddenly had to use the microwave after months and discover the stink brewing inside, you can choose from the list above and clean it before it gets worse.