It’s no secret that microwaves are one of the most useful appliances in your kitchen. It takes less time to get a meal on the table when you’re cooking with a microwave than if you were using an oven or stovetop. But, like any appliance, it can become dirty and even burnt inside. You don’t need to throw out the microwave. Try cleaning it to remove the food residue and burnt food smell by using these cleaning techniques.
How microwaves work & why foods burn
Microwaves work by causing the water molecules in food vibrate, which produces heat. This heat then cooks the food.
Have you ever tried heating up something exceptionally dry like old bread? It stays completely dry when heated by itself, but add a few drops of water to it and it heats more easily. That’s because the added water agitates, providing that heat and moisture to the bread.
But microwaves can be dangerous too. You’ve probably noticed that microwaves heat items unevenly. Foods will come out with overly hot patches next to cold patches. Foods can become overly hot and burn or even explode too.
One of the most common foods to burn in the microwave is popcorn. Have you ever gotten a whiff of burnt popcorn smell? You’ll never forget it!
How to clean the microwave
You can follow these simple steps to clean your microwave:
1) Remove any loose food debris from the microwave.
2) Cook a cup of water on high for three minutes or more until it gets to boiling temperature. If you want to deodorize at the same try, try adding a small amount of vinegar or lemon juice to the water. Once it’s boiling hot, leave the cup in the microwave for 15 minutes. The moisture from the water will help loosen other food debris on the microwave walls.
3) Remove the turn microwave plate and ring and clean those separately. Use a sponge, wet paper towel, or damp cloth to remove food or other substances from the inside of the microwave. Don’t forget to clean the microwave door too. You can add dish soap to the sponge or paper towel if you feel that the microwave needs it.
4) Wipe out any remaining moisture with a dry paper towel and leave the microwave open for it to dry and air out.
5) If the smell persists, try these deodorizers.
- An open box of baking soda
- A bowl of white vinegar
- Coffee grounds
Leave the item in a small container in the closed microwave for several hours or overnight. You can also mask unpleasant odors by placing pleasant smelling items such as vanilla and cinnamon in the microwave too.
Continue airing out the microwave after that as you don’t want your next foods in the microwave to take on any smells.
How to prevent burning food in the microwave
Burning food is terrible all around. You can’t eat the food. Your kitchen smells terrible. And you could potentially burn your house down! So here are several tips to prevent burning food in the microwave.
1) Pay attention to the food you’re cooking. If you start to see or smell food or a container burning, turn the microwave off right away.
2) Add liquid to items as needed. Some things won’t cook or heat up properly without any liquid.
3) Avoid using containers that are burned or damaged.
4) Don’t use metal or aluminum foil in the microwave.
5) Rotate food containers and mix or stir items during the cooking process to help them heat evenly.
6) Don’t overcook your food. Instead of setting something in the microwave for 5 minutes, set it for 3 minutes, check on it, and stir it if needed, and then put it back in for another 2 minutes.
7) Cover foods in the microwave to prevent spills and splatters that can then burn.
8) Heat foods in microwave-safe containers. Glass and ceramic tend to be better than plastic. Some plastics can warp and let BPA and phthalates into your food.
9) Clean spills right away before the dry and set in the microwave.
10) Clean your microwave regularly. And if you microwave is damaged, don’t try to use it. Call a repair person or get a new one.
Burnt microwaves happen to the best of us, but don’t worry. Cleaning a microwave and keeping it clean are not too complicated. With the simple tricks and techniques above, you can be back to cooking your favorite foods in the microwave in no time!