Microwave Hacks #3: Get Rid of Burnt Popcorn Smell

To remove the burnt popcorn smell from your house, start by opening the windows to ventilate the area. Next, absorb the smell by placing coffee grounds or baking soda in the affected area. Boiling water with vinegar, lemon juice, and citrus peel on the stovetop can also help neutralize the odor.

To get rid of burnt popcorn smell, follow these steps:

  1. Ventilate
  2. Clean with Vinegar
  3. Boil Citrus Peel
  4. Coffee Grounds or Baking Soda
  5. Essential Oils
  6. Clean Out the Pot
How to Get Rid of Burnt Popcorn Smell

How to Get Rid of Burnt Popcorn Smell

Here are some effective ways to remove the burnt popcorn smell from your house:

1. Ventilate

Open all doors and windows, use fans, and consider using an air purifier to help the smell dissipate quickly and prevent it from clinging to surfaces.

2. Clean with Vinegar

Use a mixture of vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, and water to wipe down surfaces in the affected area. You can also place a bowl of vinegar on the countertop or boil vinegar on the stove to neutralize the burnt odor. Vinegar naturally neutralizes odors and can help eliminate the smell of burnt popcorn.

3. Boil Citrus Peel

Peel lemons, oranges, or grapefruit and boil the peels in water to release a fresh fruity scent that neutralizes unpleasant odors. You can also place the chopped fruit near the affected area for a lasting aroma.

4. Coffee Grounds or Baking Soda

Both coffee grounds and baking soda are great at absorbing odors. Place them in open containers and leave them in the affected area overnight to remove burnt smells. For intense odors, sprinkle baking soda on surfaces and upholstery, leaving it overnight before cleaning it off.

5. Essential Oils

To get rid of the smell of burnt popcorn, you can use essential oils like lemon, lavender, and eucalyptus in a diffuser or added to a vinegar spray. These oils can help mask the unpleasant odor and prevent your space from smelling like vinegar. Alternatively, you can light scented candles, but remember never to leave them burning unattended.

6. Clean Out the Pot

Make sure to clean out the pot in which you burnt the popcorn by soaking it in hot soapy water or water and vinegar overnight and scrubbing it well. For stubborn stains, a baking soda paste can be used to remove them. These steps will help eliminate the burnt smell and refresh your kitchen.

Why Does Burned Popcorn Smell So Bad

The reason burned popcorn smells so bad is due to the chemical compound called 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline that is released when popcorn is heated. This compound produces a strong and long-lasting smell when burnt, which is why the scent of burnt popcorn can linger for a long time.

While this compound is responsible for the delicious toasty smell of popcorn when cooked properly, it can become overpowering and unpleasant when the popcorn is burnt. So next time you accidentally burn a bag of popcorn, be prepared for that lingering, unpleasant odor!

Why Does the Smell of Burnt Popcorn Last for so Long?

The smell of burnt popcorn seems to last forever because of the aroma found in popcorn and the various materials that are used to help you make popcorn.

Popcorn has an aroma compound called 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline. When the aroma is heated normally, it smells really good, which is one of the reasons why popcorn smells amazing, even before you have added butter and other flavorings. However, when this aroma is overheated like it is when you burn popcorn, it smells bad and overpowers all other smells that you might notice otherwise.

It usually takes at least a few days for this aroma to dissipate, and the smell might last even longer if you have a lot of food debris in your microwave, as food debris likes to absorb the aroma. When you use the microwave again, the food debris with the aroma in it is heated, causing it to release the aroma, making you smell burnt popcorn once more. This is one of the reasons why you need to clean your microwave thoroughly in order to get the smell of burnt popcorn out of it.

The smell of burnt popcorn also lingers because it is very easy for us to smell popcorn, as human noses are very sensitive to it. This is a good thing most of the time. However, with the ability to easily smell comes the ability to easily smell burnt popcorn. This means that when the smell of burnt popcorn has dissipated to the point where if it was another burned food item you wouldn’t be able to smell it, you will still be able to smell burnt popcorn.

Many people use other things to help them pop popcorn, especially so they don’t have leftover kernels that they can’t eat at the bottom of the container used to make the popcorn. This includes oil and butter. Many bags of microwavable popcorn have oil and butter already in the mixture. However, when this oil or butter heats up or is burned along with your popcorn, it vaporizes, making it very hard to clean from your microwave. These vapors will likely also get onto your clothing, which is why you may smell burnt popcorn when you do laundry a few days after you burn it, even if you aren’t anywhere close to your microwave.

These vapors also get into the crevices of your microwave. Since most people don’t clean their microwave’s vents when they clean the interior of their microwave, this means that you don’t clean away these burnt vapors, which makes you smell burnt popcorn days after you have made it.

This is one of the reasons why so many of the cleaning methods used to remove the smell of burnt popcorn from your microwave involve heating various mixtures. When these cleaning mixtures are heated for a few minutes, the steam goes to the vents, causing them to remove or dilute the burnt popcorn vapors. This leaves your microwave smelling wonderful.

How Long Does it Typically Take for Burnt Popcorn Smell to go Away?

It typically takes a few days to a few weeks for the smell of burnt popcorn to go away completely. It will take a day or two for it to disappear from your kitchen, but you will likely notice the smell of it coming from your microwave for a few days after that, especially if you don’t microwave any strong-smelling foods.

Luckily, if you only slightly burned your popcorn, you likely won’t notice the smell after a few hours to a few days. However, if you burned your popcorn to the point where it was a brick of charcoal at the bottom of the bag, it will take at least a few weeks for the smell to go away completely.

If you clean your microwave using the previously mentioned cleaning methods, the burnt popcorn smell in your microwave will likely go away after a few days, but it may take up to a week. If the smell lasts longer than that, clean your microwave again and double-check to make sure that no small pieces of burnt popcorn got beneath your microwave. If necessary, clean the area behind and beneath your microwave, as the vents might be pushing the smell of burnt popcorn onto your counter and backsplash, making it last longer than you expect.

How To Remove Burned Popcorn Smell from a Microwave

Removing the burned popcorn smell from a microwave can be a daunting task, but with the right steps, you can effectively eliminate the odor. Here is a simple method to help you get rid of the unpleasant smell:

1. Fill a microwave-safe bowl with a mixture of vinegar, water, and lemon juice.

2. Place the bowl in the microwave and heat it for 2 minutes. You may need to repeat this process if the smell is still lingering.

3. Once the microwave has finished heating, carefully remove the bowl and use a clean cloth to wipe down the interior of the microwave. This will help remove any residue that may be causing the odor.

4. Leave the microwave door open for a few hours to allow it to air out and ventilate properly.

By following these steps, you can effectively remove the burned popcorn smell from your microwave and have it smelling fresh and clean once again.


What causes the burnt popcorn smell to linger?

The burnt smell of popcorn is caused by the release of volatile compounds when the popcorn is overcooked, leading to a strong, unpleasant odor that can be difficult to eliminate.

How can I get rid of the burnt popcorn smell in my microwave?

You can eliminate the burnt popcorn smell by placing a bowl of water with a few tablespoons of vinegar in the microwave and heating it for a few minutes. The steam and vinegar will help neutralize the odor.

What can I do to remove the burnt popcorn smell from my clothes?

To remove the smell from clothes, soak them in a mixture of warm water and baking soda for a few hours before washing them with vinegar added to the rinse cycle.

How do I get rid of the burnt popcorn smell in my house?

To eliminate the smell in your house, you can boil some water with cinnamon and cloves, use an air purifier, or place bowls of activated charcoal around the affected areas.

What can I do to prevent the burnt popcorn smell in the first place?

To prevent the smell, make sure to follow the recommended cooking time for the popcorn and use a microwave-safe cover while cooking.

How long does it take for the burnt popcorn smell to dissipate?

The time it takes for the smell to dissipate depends on the severity of the burnt popcorn and the methods used to neutralize the odor, but it usually takes a few hours to a few days for the smell to completely disappear.

How does baking soda help in removing the unpleasant odor?

Baking soda is great for getting rid of unpleasant odors because it can absorb and neutralize them. Just sprinkle some baking soda on the affected areas, let it sit overnight, and then vacuum it up. You can also place bowls of baking soda around your home to help absorb any lingering smells.

Can vinegar help in removing burnt popcorn smell?

Yes, white vinegar is effective in getting rid of burnt popcorn smells. You can simmer a mixture of water and white vinegar on your stovetop for 15 minutes, or dip slices of white bread in the mixture and place them in the affected areas. Additionally, placing small bowls of vinegar around your house can help eliminate the odor.

What are other natural remedies to get rid of burnt popcorn smells and other yucky odors?

Other natural remedies to get rid of burnt popcorn smells and other odors include using coffee grounds to absorb smells, simmering lemon juice or citrus peels for a pleasant scent, using essential oils like lavender or eucalyptus to neutralize odors, and placing vanilla extract on a cotton ball in the affected area. These natural remedies can help freshen up your space.

How can I prevent the burnt popcorn smell from lingering in my house during movie night?

To prevent the burnt popcorn smell from lingering in your house during movie night, make sure to cook the popcorn properly, ventilate your house by opening windows and doors, light a scented candle or burn incense to mask the smell, and place a fabric softener sheet inside the vent of the microwave when making popcorn. These tips will help keep your house smelling fresh and eliminate the burnt popcorn odor.


In conclusion, don’t let that burnt popcorn smell linger any longer! With these tips and tricks, you’ll have your home smelling fresh and clean in no time. So whether you accidentally left the microwave running too long or just had a little mishap on the stovetop, follow these steps to banish that unpleasant odor for good. Happy deodorizing!

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