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Microwave smells

Hi all,

I'm wondering if any of you can provide some much needed advice. When I heat up food, my microwave smells like stale oil.

I've scrubbed the inside of the microwave with baking soda and vinegar, and I've tried microwaving water and lemon and allowing it to sit, placing baking soda into the microwave to absorb odours, and crumpling newspapers into the microwave. All have not gotten rid of the smell.

Might any of you have some suggestions as to how I can eliminate the odour?

Thanks so much

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  1. Hmm. You've done everything I would have suggested! Maybe charcoal?

    1. Take it apart and clean the inside. You evidently have had things get inside the outer case.

      3 Replies
      1. re: JayL

        I'd be very cautious taking apart a microwave oven. Most models contain a high voltage capacitor capable of delivering a dangerous, even lethal, shock. They hold a charge long after the oven is unplugged.

        1. re: NE_Wombat

          Routinely replace magetrons in the waves at work. Take them apart all the time.

          Besides...all the OP needs to do is remove the outer shell. It should come right off.

        2. re: JayL

          I definitely second the advice not to try to take it apart yourself. This would be extremely dangerous.

          Depending on what type you have, you could probably replace it for under $200.

        3. Maybe microwaving some coffee grounds would help?

          1. My guess is that the odour is atomized grease stuck to the fan.

            1. Thanks for the great suggestions all.

              I'll definitely try the charcoal and coffee grinds. For the coffee grinds, am I microwaving them with a bit of water to make a paste? At this point, I'd rather my microwave smell of anything other than grease.

              I'm reluctant to take it apart myself given that I'm not in the least, mechanically inclined. I'd be afraid that I'd accidentally shock/electrocute myself at the worst or ruin the microwave at best.

              I think I know what the culprit is, or at least the foodstuff that caused it. My partner microwaved a very high fatty sausage without covering it and the oil splattered everywhere. I've told him repeatedly to cover things but he just doesn't listen. I tried to clean it as best I could, but suspect that some oil is stuck somewhere (fan, case etc).

              2 Replies
              1. re: daeira

                Try cleaning it from the outside.
                There should be a place on the back or side that is full of holes for the fan to draw in air that may have evident grease.
                Also, odd things get stuck to the bottom of the microwave, especially if it has feet.

                Also-- my mom leaves one of those plastic plate covers IN the microwave, so now Dad uses it at least 80% of the time.

                1. re: Kris in Beijing

                  Thanks for the suggestion Kris in Beijing. I wiped the little holes cleaned but it didn't seem to help the smell.

                  Leaving the plastic cover is a good tip and I might try it for a few times. I almost have a feeling that my partner would end up just putting his microwavable dish on top of the plastic cover and not realize why it's in there.