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.
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.
This is a tough problem but in most cases, not too tough for Nok-Out—an amazing product that can bring your microwave oven back to its lovely self. Nok-Out is non-toxic, fragrance-free and safe in the kitchen and around pets and children.
What you need to keep in mind is that a microwave oven has a fan that is constantly circulating air while operating. Once smoke gets involved, it gets circulated through the entire appliance, potentially touching every surface.
The nature of Nok-Out is that it is an oxidizer. Once it comes into direct contact with something stinky, it neutralizes or oxidizes that odor rendering it neutral. As an oxidizer, Nok-Out must be allowed to dry in place to complete the job. And while it is drying the process of oxidation develops its own odor, which will fully dissipate once dry. Know that and then be patient.
Start by unplugging the oven from electrical power. If built-in, you may need to uninstall it to get to the power cord. Next, remove everything from inside that you can—trays, carousel, filter and anything else removable.
Next spray the entire microwave inside and out with Nok-Out, making sure it is coming in contact with every part of that appliance. Nok-Out is not harmful at all, so you can confidently spray the fan blades and so forth, provided you can reach them without taking the oven apart. DO NOT attempt to take a microwave oven apart!
Once you’re confident that every square millimeter of the oven—its door, hinges, and every other surface inside and out including all of the things you removed—has been touched with Nok-Out, allow it to dry completely. If you have uninstalled a built-in oven, treat the cavity in which it sits with Nok-Out as well.
That should do it! If you still notice the odor this indicates you have a stubborn situation, so give it a second treatment.
Nok-Out is not available in stores; you need to order it online. One gallon $38; 16 oz $19.95. All pricing includes shipping. Should you wish to order by phone, call 1-866-551-1927 during business hours, Central Time. Be sure to let our friend Ted Price know that you learned about Nok-Out in Everyday Cheapskate. Thanks!