Back Button

What Do You Do if You Burn Something in the Microwave?

Amanda Flanigan

Using electromagnetic radio waves, microwaves cook food quicker than ovens and without warming the entire kitchen. Unfortunately, the convenience of microwaves has a drawback: You can seriously overcook food in the time it takes you walk away from the microwave after turning it on. Burning food in a microwave typically does not damage the small appliance. However, it can leave the burnt food stuck inside the microwave -- and an unpleasant odor throughout your home. Fortunately, several items are at your disposal for cleaning the inside of a microwave safely.


Use vinegar to clean the burnt mess from your microwave.

Long used to clean and deodorize, vinegar is a versatile product that has hundreds of uses, from cutting through grease to killing flies. Vinegar will soften burnt food stuck on the inside of microwaves while removing the burnt odors. Cook a microwave-safe bowl filled with white vinegar on high for five minutes. Do not dilute the vinegar; instead, use it at full strength. After the allotted time passes, wait 10 to 15 minutes before opening the microwave door to scrub the inside with a sponge dampened in warm vinegar.

Baking Soda

An inexpensive white powder containing sodium bicarbonate, baking soda naturally deodorizes and cleans your home. Furthermore, baking soda has a naturally abrasive attribute that will help scrub the inside of microwaves clean. Create a thick paste with baking soda and water. Start with 1/2 cup of baking soda and slowly add 1 tsp. of water at a time until you have a thick paste. Once you have made the paste, scrub the inside of the microwave with a damp sponge and the paste. When you have finished, rinse the gritty residue off with damp paper towels.


A common fragrance in many commercial cleaners, lemons will naturally cut through grease and grime while leaving a pleasant scent. Heat a bowl filled with lemon juice in the microwave for five minutes. You can purchase pure lemon juice in the produce section of grocery stores or squeeze your own from fresh lemons. Alternatively, fill a bowl with a lemon cut into four wedges, and pour 1 cup of water over it. After five minutes passes, let the lemon juice sit in the microwave for 15 minutes before scrubbing the inside clean with a cloth.

Microwave Exterior

When you overcook food in a microwave, it is not always just the inside of the machine that takes a beating. Smoke coming from inside the microwave can seep out and cover the exterior of the microwave with a greasy residue. To remove this residue, dampen a sponge in vinegar, lemon juice or a commercial degreaser and wipe the exterior clean. Use paper towels dampened in water to rinse the cleaning agent off the microwave and wipe dry with a towel.