Movie night at home can be a relaxing, enjoyable experience. You have chosen your spot on the sofa, got the movie ready to go and it’s just the popcorn to take care of.
Unfortunately, someone has typed in the wrong time into the microwave. Now your place is smelling of burnt popcorn.
The odor of burnt popcorn is unpleasant and can remain in your house for days. That doesn’t mean there isn’t anything you can do to try to minimize or even eliminate the smell. Removing the source of the smell is the first step. Then you can work on replacing the odor with more pleasing scents.
Next time someone has an “Uh-oh” moment with the popcorn, you’ll be ready for action. Let’s show you how to tackle that nasty stench.
- What causes the burnt popcorn to smell
- When will the smell be gone?
- Ways to remove the smell
- 1. Bag up the popcorn
- 2. Clean your microwave
- 3. Removing the smell from your house
- 4. Cleaning your upholstery
- A bonus idea: Treating your clothes
There may be affiliate links in this article. You can read more about this in my disclosure.
What causes the burnt popcorn to smell
Popcorn, as well as other food items such as bread and jasmine rice, contain a compound called 2-Acetyl-1-pyrroline.
It’s this that provides the aroma of the freshly baked bread; the well-cooked rice; and the standard scent of popcorn. However, cooking the popcorn too much and 2-Acetyl-1-pyrroline is responsible for that horrible smell.
When will the smell be gone?
You can take immediate action to remove the source of the smell from your house. However, the scent of burnt popcorn can hang around for weeks.
That’s not meant to disappoint you or discourage you from doing all you can to remove the smell. It’s just the reality of the situation.
How long the scent lasts depends on how much popcorn you were cooking and how burnt it was.
Ways to remove the smell
Now you have an understanding of what causes the smell and that it will be around for a wee while let’s show you how to minimize the impact once that popcorn is overcooked.
When it comes to cooking popcorn, you have two options: the microwave or your cooktop.
The first place we will work on is the microwave and then move on to the rest of the house.
1. Bag up the popcorn
Initially, you will want to eliminate the source of the smell. That is, getting rid of the popcorn.
- Get a sealable plastic bag and place the popcorn inside. It’s better if you could double bag the popcorn.
- Throw the bag into a bin outside your house, or a dumpster.
It’s not ideal to have the bag remain in your house. The smell needs to be taken outside, yet it might not be possible for you to do so.
If that’s the case, then try your best to reduce the smell.
Place a tablespoon of baking soda into the plastic bag that contains the popcorn. The deodorizing power of the soda will absorb some of the smell.
2. Clean your microwave
The odor of your burnt popcorn can work its way into the internals of your microwave. As frustrating as that sounds, it doesn’t mean you have to replace the microwave.
You have a range of options available that will remove the smell.
A citrus solution
You need a lemon or orange and a cup of water.
- Pour the water into a microwaveable glass or dish. Cut your fruit in half and squeeze the juice into the water. Mix everything.
- Pop the container into the microwave, then set your oven to high and microwave your citrus water for 3 minutes.
- After the time is up, let the water remain in the oven for another 10 minutes.
- Wipe down the insides of the microwave.
Try Baking Soda
We mentioned earlier how baking soda is great at removing unwanted odors. So give this method a try to rid your microwave of that horrible burnt smell.
- Add baking soda to a microwave-safe dish. Slowly add water and mix it with the soda until you have a thick paste.
- Cook the paste on high for 5 minutes.
- Let the baking soda remain in the microwave for at least an hour. If you want to, you can have it stay in the oven overnight.
- When you’re ready, take the dish out of the microwave.
- Give your oven a good wipe down with a cloth.
If the smell still lingers, repeat this process.
Cook some vinegar
Just like baking soda, vinegar is a natural deodorizer. If you have tried the above methods and your microwave still smells like charred popcorn, try this vinegary method.
- Grab a microwaveable bowl or dish. Add a half cup of vinegar to an equal measure of water and mix.
- Let your solution cook for 3 minutes on high. Leave it to sit in the microwave for an hour or so.
- Remove your solution and then wipe down the insides of your microwave.
Time for a coffee
You can always try to overpower the burnt popcorn smell with another smell. The scent of coffee can be one of the best fragrances in the world (at least for coffee lovers!).
In this method, you need to use coffee grounds.
- Place your coffee into a microwave-safe mug and put it into your microwave.
- Cook for 3 minutes.
- Let it remain in the microwave for several minutes afterward.
A last resort
This solution to the problem should only be considered if nothing else has worked. What is it?
As drastic as it sounds, you need to contemplate replacing your microwave. You may have tried all your options but that smell is still hanging around.
Ask yourself: do I want to live with this stink forever? Sure it may go away, eventually. But how long that period is is anyone’s guess.
How patient are you?
3. Removing the smell from your house
The first step of trying to eliminate the burnt popcorn smell from your house is ventilation.
Open up all the windows and allow air to circulate throughout the affected rooms. Also, if your kitchen has extraction fans or a similar means of removing stale air use those, too.
You want to act hard and fast to get the upper hand. That doesn’t mean the smell will go away quickly. But you have taken the initial practical steps.
Then it’s time to move on to the additional methods.
Vinegar and bread
You used vinegar to treat your microwave. Now it’s time to have the vinegar emove the acrid smell from your kitchen.
The double whammy in this method is bread. It is renowned (or maybe not that renowned) to be great at removing odors.
Combining bread with vinegar you have created a homemade odor eater. Here’s what you do:
- Mix a couple of cups of vinegar to a gallon of water. Bring this to a boil on your cooktop.
- Once the solution starts boiling, reduce the temperature and let it simmer for 15 minutes.
- Drop in several slices of bread. Leave the pot in the location where the burnt popcorn smell is the strongest.
Fill the air with fragrance
Here you are fighting fire with fire, so to speak. You want to overpower the burnt popcorn smell with a more pleasing aroma.
There are several ways you can do so. The first one is similar to the citrus solution we mentioned in the microwave section.
That is you mix the juice from half a lemon with a cup and a half of water. Bring the solution to a boil and then let it sit on your stove for 30 minutes.
If you have essential oils laying around your house, use them to replace the unwanted odor of the popcorn.
Get your oil burner and place it in the room that has the worst popcorn smell. Add several drops of your favorite oil onto the burner and then let it evaporate, filling the atmosphere with beautiful, relaxing scents.
This method follows along the same line as essential oils. However, you are using incense to permeate the air.
(A word of caution: though using oil burners and incense is generally safe, please check on them regularly to prevent the risk of fire.)
Spread out the baking soda
For this, you will need several dishes or small bowls.
Pour a generous amount of baking soda into your bowl or dish. After that, place these in various locations throughout your kitchen and other rooms that have the burnt popcorn smell.
Allow the dishes to be out overnight to absorb the smell.
4. Cleaning your upholstery
Depending on how bad the smell was, your upholstery may also have fallen victim to the burnt popcorn. If that’s the case, you can revive the fabric and have it smell fresh once more.
- Get a spray bottle and fill it with distilled vinegar. Add in a few drops of your fabric softener and then screw on the spray head.
- Give your bottle a good shake to mix the vinegar and fabric softener.
- Spray the entire surface of your upholstery with the solution. You may have to repeat this step several times to fully eliminate the odor.
A bonus idea: Treating your clothes
Just as the upholstery may have taken in the pungency of burnt popcorn, so might your clothing also been infested. A combination of vinegar and apple cider vinegar.
- Add a half cup of each into a pot and mix.
- Place the pot onto your cooktop and heat the solution until it starts to steam.
- Remove the pot from the heat.
- Take your burnt popcorn-scented clothing and place it over the pot.
- Allow the steam to penetrate the fabric and remove the smell.
- Place your clothes into your washing machine and give them a cycle.
The smell of burnt popcorn isn’t great. It can also hang around for weeks, causing you frustration. However, you can combat the stench. There are many water-based solutions you can create to rid your microwave of the smell.
You can also use similar methods to free your home from bad odor. Essential oils or incense is another option.
You may have accidentally burnt your popcorn. That doesn’t mean you have to live with the smell!
Last update on 2023-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API