It’s one of the worst odors a home can experience—that lingering, worsening, putrid smell of burned rice or popcorn coming from the microwave oven.

Unhappy young man looking at fire coming from microwave oven in kitchen

It happens and not because we’re ignorant or irresponsible. Well, maybe a little of the latter, but still—burning stuff happens. And when it’s popcorn, and the instructions say 3 minutes 45 seconds and someone, who shall remain nameless, unintentionally sets it for 30 minutes 45 minutes—I have learned that where there’s smoke there’s going to be a problem.

Dear Mary: How can I get rid of the smell of smoke in my microwave oven? I burned rice in it, and it really smoked. And now the smoke smell is nasty. I have tried boiling water with an entire cut-up lemon. That didn’t help. I’ve sprayed it with Clorox lavender kitchen cleaner and let it sit then wiped it and sprayed again. The oven still stinks. Please, HELP! Sheri

Dear Sheri: There is an effective rescue that will banish all of that horrible smell and not attempt to cover it up with fragrance. However, it is going to depend on the extent of the problem. If the oven got so hot that the smoke odor is now embedded in the melted plastic, probably not. But that would be extreme and something I’m pretty sure you would have mentioned.

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