It should come as no surprise that here at POPtions Popcorn, we love yummy buttery popcorn! But our passion for these salty, tasty morsels does not extend so far as to tolerate that gross burnt popcorn smell.
But it’s happened to all of us. We pop the bag in the microwave, hit the popcorn setting, and start getting our drinks and candy ready. We forget to listen for the 2 to 3-second intervals between pops, and then it’s too late! The microwave dings on its own, and the smell hits shortly after.
Darn that high-powered microwave! Darn the “estimated time” on the instructions! Darn my gold-fish attention span!
Sure, it can be annoying to stand there next to the microwave listening to popping noises when you have a million Netflix shows to sift through. But this tiny bit of time investment isn’t as annoying as the burnt odors that take over the inside of the microwave. And then infiltrates your home!
4 Tips & 4 Concoctions to Get Rid of Burnt Popcorn Smell
Now, if you’re by yourself, waiting out this scorched smell at least feels like an option. You could just ride out the lingering odor, waiting for it to dissipate for a long time. (Yuck… I can’t do it!)
But what if people are around, either at your home or perhaps even worse, YOUR OFFICE (this happened to my co-worker once and she still hasn’t lived it down)? You’ll want to rid the inside of your microwave and the small rooms around it of the pungent odors as fast as possible.
So take a deep breath (through your mouth, though, because otherwise, you’re just smelling burnt residue), and read on. I’m going to share with you the top tips for how to rid the burnt smell of popcorn from your house and microwave.
(BTW, here’s my favorite microwave popcorn)
1 – Take Away the Source of the Smell
You could do all the spraying and wiping you want, but good luck getting rid of the bad odors without the first step of ridding the area of the offending popcorn bag.
As sad as it is to waste food, the first thing to do is remove the popcorn entirely from the interior of your house. If you simply throw the bag away in the kitchen garbage bag, you’ll be fighting an uphill battle in eliminating the kitchen smell.
If this isn’t an option, a great way to isolate the smoke smell is to seal it away inside an airtight plastic bag.
And if the foul odor is extreme enough, you may even have to change your clothes and take a shower to wash your hair! Either do laundry or put the clothes outside after the smell is gone.
2 – Air it Out!
The next best thing is to replace the air filled with unpleasant odors with fresh air. How? By ventilating the area any way you can.
Open all the windows and the doors. Turn on those oven vent range fans and those ceiling fans. Bring in one of those portable electric fans and place it near one of those open doors or windows and the air circulation will get fresh air to pour in.
The same applies to the interior of the microwave. Keep the microwave door open to allow those microwave odors to escape.
ON A RELATED NOTE: Let’s say someone in your household doesn’t like the smell of ANY popcorn, even if perfectly cooked for the right amount of time. Don’t let that hold you back from the crispy kernel treat! Turn on your over-the-stove vent and open the bag underneath it.
3 – Replace the Burnt Food Smell with a Better Smell
Obviously, this smell shouldn’t be just anything. It should be a beautiful scent like essential oils, or a candle smelling of cinnamon sticks.
If you think you need to roll up your sleeves a little more than simply lighting a candle, there’s a technique that can spread a fresh lemon scent. Plus it’s easy to do with common household items.
First, add lemon slices and some of your favorite fragrant spices to a pot of water. It should be about 1-1/2 cups of water. Bring this mixture of water and lemon halves to a boil, then let it steep for about a half-hour. You’ll find the burnt smell slowly but surely being overtaken by the scent of lemon juice.
The vanilla extract method is a similar method to the lemon technique. Fill a small saucepan with about half a cup of water. Then pour some vanilla extract into the pan and let this simmer as the calming vanilla scent fights the popcorn stench.
4 – Absorb the Smell
Baking soda is an effective odor neutralizer, along with white vinegar. So, here are some techniques to try if the above still doesn’t cut it.
Baking Soda Concoction
Take a small microwave-safe bowl and mix baking soda with water until it’s a little thick, then microwave this bowl of water mixture for 5 minutes.
What next? The easy part. Just leave it in the closed microwave, for over an hour or even overnight if needed!
Or for a more extreme situation, put two cups of vinegar and a gallon of water in a pot. Bring this to a boil and then simmer it for 15 minutes.
Here comes the odd part, but it’s a good idea, I promise (as long as you’re okay with a slight smell of vinegar).
Take slices of white bread and dip them in the pot. Place this absorbent bread on the site of the burn and leave it there until the odors are neutralized. If you’re just trying to clear the air, you can distribute this vinegar water into small bowls and place them around the house for a few hours.
Now Pop a New Bag of Popcorn!
You now have these methods at hand, so get poppin’! Now your only popcorn-related problem left is how to get those yellow butter stains out of your favorite shirt. Psst… Shout spray works wonders!
I love food, beer, mixology, travel, and writing. Why not combine all those things right here in this blog? You can find me in foodie town Los Angeles, where I am usually enjoying some new recommended restaurants with some “taste buds” (friends who enjoy food too).