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How to Get Burnt Popcorn Smell Out of Your House (& Microwave)

Anyone who has made popcorn has inevitably cooked it too long once or twice. Then you know all too well about the lingering nature of the burnt popcorn smell. So if this sounds familiar, here’s how to get rid of burnt popcorn smell in a kitchen.

The fastest way to eliminate burnt popcorn smells from a home is to remove the popcorn from the house, then microwave a cut lemon in a bowl of water for 3 minutes. Mixing baking soda in the water can also help to eliminate odors.

Then, of course, open windows and doors, and turn on ceiling fans too.

The burnt odor of popcorn can be one of the most unpleasant odors to have in your home. If you are desperate to eliminate the foul odor inside your microwave, this guide will give you the next steps to take care of the smell of burnt popcorn.

Why does burnt popcorn smell linger?

Many people do not know why the foul odor of burnt popcorn lingers for so long.

This is the first thing you need to know before figuring out the best way to get rid of the strong odors of burnt food. Even if you have burned something like cinnamon rolls, or even jasmine rice, you might need to eliminate these unpleasant smells in your home.

The aroma compound that leads to a smoke smell after the popcorn has been burned is 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline. This compound is present in bread and jasmine rice as well.

This is one of the most unwanted odors lingering in your home or office.

How do you get the smoke smell out of your house after burning popcorn?

The very first thing that you need to do is remove the leftover popcorn from your home. This is the source of the smell and needs to be taken out to the trash, so the surrounding air is not filled with pungent odors.

An excellent tool for removing the foul smell of burned food is to cut a lemon in half and put it in a microwave-safe bowl. Lemon juice and lemon water are great natural air fresheners.

Place a cup of water into a large bowl with your lemons and then microwave for about three minutes. Wait about 15 minutes before you open the microwave.

You can also use baking soda, apple cider vinegar, or white vinegar in the same way.

Add these substances to one or two cups of water and then microwave for about three minutes. Adding these items and making a mixture with water works just like using chopped lemons to freshen the smell of your microwave.

If you do not like the smell of vinegar, you can choose to get rid of popcorn odors with orange peels in water, vanilla extract in water, or essential oils in water. Some people will also place coffee grounds in a small bowl and place them inside the microwave.

You can leave the coffee inside the microwave overnight to eliminate the smell of burned food.

Running the range fans with this open container in the microwave can be a great first step toward removing the smell of burned food if you don’t want to use cups of vinegar or lemon halves to freshen your kitchen.

Air circulation can greatly help with removing bad smells from the open microwave.

You can also remove bad smells from burned yellow butter, your favorite fragrant spices, or movie night popcorn with soapy water, vinegar water, and a damp cloth.

Acetone-free nail polish remover can also be used on cotton balls to eliminate stains at the burn site.

Does Febreze get rid of a burnt smell?

Febreze can be a big help if you are trying to eliminate burnt smells from clothing, carpets, and furniture. Febreze is a lot like a fabric softener, and it can help to get rid of the burned smell from when you open the microwave door after you have burned something.

You can use a Febreze spray bottle to eliminate the bad smells in your home and make fresh air possible again.

Febreze can also be a big help if you have a garbage pail or another receptacle that smells bad as well. You can even buy plastic bag products that are scented with Febreze or things like fresh lemon scent.

This can be a good idea to help with bad smells, and you can blend this solution with portable electric fans to freshen the air.

Febreze is better than other kinds of sprays that just make the air smell like something different because it actually neutralizes the smells in the air. This means that the bad smells that you are trying to remove will not come back after the perfume-like smell of the air freshener has worn off.

When you use a room spray or another generic product that is meant to only smell good, you might have to deal with two strong smells at the same time.

Is the smell of burnt popcorn harmful?

Burning popcorn smell is potentially harmful to your health.

This might give you a pause the next time you burn popcorn in the house. Many people think the foul smell of burned popcorn is just a nuisance, but it could be bad for you.

Keep the health risks of this bad smell in mind when you notice that your slices of bread or coffee cup smell like burned food. You could be harming your health just by being exposed to burned foods.

Stains and the fire hazard aspect of burned food are not the only risks related to burned foods in your home and kitchen.

One solution for making popcorn that might help eliminate the risk of burned popcorn is getting a popcorn machine. But are popcorn machines worth it?

Check out my recent article about whether or not a popcorn machine is a suitable choice for you. I cover all the pros and cons, prices, and the 1 reason you might not want one.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Does vinegar neutralize smoke smell?

Vinegar is an excellent neutralizer of smells in your home.

You can use vinegar similar to how you would an open box of baking soda to pull foul odors from the air. Mixing some vinegar with a gallon of water can make it easy to apply this mixture to surfaces with a paper towel when cleaning up.

Vinegar is also an excellent way to neutralize bacteria and other health risks in your home.

Vinegar is a natural cleanser used in many natural cleaning mixtures for a good reason. Just like the solution of deodorizing with lemon slices, you can improve the smell in your home with ease if you use this kind of solution in place of air fresheners or perfumes.

Vinegar might not smell great when it is used at full strength, but it can be an ideal solution if you mix it with some water to help cut the smell. You will still get all of the benefits of vinegar’s cleaning power without the negative impact of its strong smell.

There is always some smell of vinegar that comes along with the use of vinegar cleaning mixtures, but you can follow up the vinegar scrub with another wipe down with just water if you want to eliminate the vinegar odor that might linger.

Remember that you will want to get rid of the bad smell of burned popcorn, and vinegar can take care of that need if you mix it right. You should not notice hardly any vinegar odor when cleaning with this kind of solution once the mixture has dried.

If you do notice this, you will want to increase the dilution of the cleaning solution.


If you use these tips and tricks, you should easily eliminate the popcorn smell, or food smells from your home or kitchen.

It can be bad for your health to let burned foul smells linger in your home, which means that you should get rid of these odors as soon as possible. No one wants their clothing and their possessions to smell like burned food, and you can get rid of this unpleasant smell with these deodorizing processes.

Keeping your home smelling fresh after you have burned popcorn can be as simple as using baking soda, lemon slices, or vinegar water to clean up and freshen the air right away.

The sooner you apply these treatments to get rid of burned popcorn smells, the more likely it will be that you will be able to remove the smell for good.

Image by Sam Williams from Pixabay

Jeff Campbell