Tag Archives: Microwave Maintenance

Beyond Regular Microwave Oven Maintenance: Getting Odors Out

Even with regular microwave oven maintenance, the smell of burned popcorn can last for months. Frustratingly, the smell often gets worse each time you use your microwave again. Old,Microwave Oven Odors unpleasant odors can permeate the flavor of other foods you cook. Burned popcorn or leftover salmon does no favors for freshly cooked green peas or your bedtime mug of warm milk. Following is an overview of some typical microwave odors and some simple, practical steps that can help you bring a normal scent back to your microwave.

Why Does My Microwave Smell So Bad?

When you overcook food in your microwave, the plastic interior walls absorb the burned smell, and it’s not just limited to popcorn. Anything that burns will leave an aroma you can do without, ranging from pizza to salmon and pork ribs. The microwave cooking space is small, the heat is intense during cooking and the smell has nowhere to go. Smoke and vapor can infiltrate deep into the walls as well as into cracks, nooks and crannies. The smell will eventually dissipate, but it can take months, in some cases. You can help speed up the process yourself, using products you have around the house.

First Step: A Good Cleaning

Before you deal with the odor, it’s important to clean the microwave thoroughly. It is much easier to get rid of odors when the inside of your microwave is free of spatters and food debris, which can also hold in odor. Start by cleaning the tray or carousel in soapy water. Next, wash the walls with a mild, nonabrasive cleaning solution. Fill a microwave-safe measuring cup or cereal bowl about half full with water. Add a dash of dishwashing liquid and put it in the microwave. Heat the soapy solution on high for about a minute, watching carefully to ensure it doesn’t start to bubble. Once the water begins to steam, remove the container, then wipe the interior with a damp sponge. Most of the gunk and spatter should come off quite easily. Repeat this process if grime continues to stick.

Getting Rid of the Major Odors

The cleaning gurus at Good Housekeeping recommend using lemons to get rid of microwave smells. Cut up three or four fresh lemons and add them to one-and-a-half cups of water in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat this mixture until it boils, then allow it to sit inside the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the bowl is cool enough to handle safely. Prop the oven door open for an hour or so to allow it to air out. Out of lemons? Try vinegar. Add one-quarter cup to the water instead of the lemons, then follow the same procedure. Of course, you can always use the old standby, baking soda. Use the same method, but substitute two tablespoons baking soda for the lemons or vinegar.

If the smell still lingers, try a 50-50 solution of vinegar and water. Bring it to a boil and let it stand for an hour. One of these methods should work to get rid of the burned or pungent smell. You may need to repeat the process more than once.

Make it Smell Nice

After dissipating the worst of the smells, you might still have lingering, faint odors. This is caused by the odors creeping into the inner workings of the microwave. The final step should replace this persistent smell with one that is easier on the nose. Get out your bowl again. Add an aromatic spice like cloves or a cinnamon stick to one or two cups of water. Get it boiling in the microwave and let it stand until the bowl is cool, at least 15 minutes. The steam this generates will filter into the cavities of your microwave’s interior, replacing the lingering burned smell with a much more pleasant odor. These steps, added to your microwave maintenance routine, should get rid of the unwanted aroma of burned food.

If your best efforts fail to remove the offending odors, contact Complete Appliance Repair in Salt Lake City. They can help you purge the smell from you microwave oven with maintenance and repair service.

Can I Microwave That?

Chances are, you’ve probably wondered, “Can I microwave that?” more than once or twice over the years. You rely on your microwave for all kinds of quick and efficient cooking and reheating tasks, but most people know precious little about how this appliance works. Consequently, you Microwavemay inadvertently try to nuke something you shouldn’t. Here is an overview of the types of things that should never go in a microwave oven.

Microwaves and Metal Don’t Mix

You probably know that metal is a no-no, but do you know why? Metal deflects the microwaves, sending them bouncing erratically around the interior of the oven like a tiny lightning storm, with a fire as the likely end result. This means no aluminum foil, no eating utensils, no Chinese take-out containers (metal handles), no plates or bowls with metallic trim and no travel mugs. Your travel mug might look perfectly harmless with no metal to be seen, but metal screws or clips are common inside. Never microwave food in a can or in any container that may have a residual foil seal around the top. Finally, take care with painted ceramics. Many ceramic paints derive their colors from metal-based pigments.

Take Special Care with Some Foods

Many fruits — grapes and raisins in particular — can explode in the microwave and catch fire. The same thing will happen to raw eggs in the shell. Even if a fire doesn’t occur, at best you will have a killer egg mess on your hands. Dried chilies are also dangerous, due to the volatility of their capsicum content. Fresh chilies and peppers can usually stand up to a brief spin but turn into potential grenades once removed, capable of shooting super-heated spicy juices. Hot dogs, potatoes and anything with an outer skin is dangerous, but as long as you poke a few vent holes, you should be fine. Finally, plain water has the potential to “super heat” and bubble over, causing burns. Add a wooden stir stick or chop stick to the container while you heat it and you’re good to go.

Other Items You Should Never Microwave

Some disposable plates and cups have plastic coatings that can’t stand up to the microwave. Both paper and plastic bags are dangerous, potentially releasing toxic gas or igniting. Most experts agree today that you should not reheat food in the microwave using Styrofoam or plastic containers (even those indicated as safe for that purpose), as it’s unknown what kinds of chemicals may leach out into the food. Despite what you may have heard, do not run your dish sponge through the microwave to disinfect it, as it can easily burst into flames. Never place a container in the microwave to help loosen a stuck lid or cap. The pressure inside builds very quickly and the container — glass or plastic — will explode. Finally, never run the microwave while empty. In the simplest terms, the microwave is liable to absorb its own waves and self-destruct.

If you live in Salt Lake City or the surrounding area and you’ve already done a number on your microwave, contact Complete Appliance Repair for help. They can get your trusty appliance back up and running in no time and, for good measure, help you answer that oft-asked question: Can I microwave that?

Microwave Maintenance Hints

The microwave oven is truly a modern marvel, allowing us to do things in minutes that used to take hours. Microwaves are surprisingly durable as well, with long life spans and trouble-free operation. If you have an over the stove unit or range hood combo, having the microwave repaired or replaced can become expensive, and you run the risk of not being able to match your current appliance package. By following a few simple tips, you can extend the life of your microwave and ensure that it keeps doing a great job for you and your family for many years.

How to Clean Your Microwave

Experts recommend cleaning your microwave weekly. Use a mild detergent (ideally oneWoman warms up food in the microwave recommended by the manufacturer) but never use any type of abrasive cleaning product or tool. Take special care on the touch pad and labeled services, as some products will remove the lettering. If you have stuck-on food particles inside, heat water in a microwave-safe container for a couple of minutes to produce steam. This will help soften any difficult spots so you can wipe them away. Check the manual, but you can typically clean the glass carousel tray safely in your dishwasher.

Conduct Periodic Microwave Inspections

It is a good idea to inspect your microwave at least monthly. Inspect the door seal for damage and clean any built-up debris that may prevent the door from sealing completely. Inspect the cord and plug for damage and ensure that the unit is plugged in securely. Look at the electrical outlet for any sign of arcing or overheating of the cord. Finally, vacuum the grilles and ventilation holes to remove dust and debris which can cause overheating.

What’s that Noise Coming from My Microwave

Microwaves make noise when operating and chances are you’re pretty familiar with the sound of yours. If you detect a change in the sound or any unusual noises coming from the microwave, it may indicate an impending failure or the need for a service call. A squeaking sound in your carousel microwave may mean a belt that needs replacing. Any type of unusual humming, popping, or buzzing noise may indicate a failed diode, capacitor, or magnetron.

DIY microwave service is definitely not something you should attempt based on the serious risk of electrical shock. Your local appliance service shop can handle replacing belts, lubricating the microwave motor, or repairing leaky doors or seals. Have professional maintenance service done periodically, to ensure a longer, healthier life for your microwave and safety for your family.