How To Get Rid Of Burnt Popcorn Smell

Andy Waters
Latest posts by Andy Waters (see all)

Popcorn is the perfect in-between-meals snack. It’s easy to make, easy to eat, and leaves very little mess. What it can leave, however, is a lasting smell – especially if it burns.

It lingers in every room and all of the surrounding furniture, no matter how hard you try to spray your way out of it. It’s incredibly frustrating!

Now, you might be tempted to wait it out. Let it linger until it eventually dies after a couple of weeks. But you don’t have to, because we have some fool-proof hacks to help you get rid of that burnt popcorn smell for good!

Why Does the Burnt Popcorn Smell Linger?

There is an aroma compound found in popcorn, called 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline. It is also found in foods such as basmati rice, jasmine rice, and white bread.

When this compound is heated, through the corn kernels being heated, it releases a potent, toasted smell. We aren’t exposed to this smell very often, so when popcorn is over-heated, it becomes overpowering and takes over all other smells.

If you’re sick of constantly smelling charred popcorn remains, read on – and make your home smell fresh again.

The first thing you are going to want to do is to get rid of any of the remains from the burnt popcorn. This includes unpopped kernels and the packaging. Put these in an outside bin, if possible.

Next, open up windows in every room. You can even try opening your front door and back door for a short period of time, if it is safe to do so. This will create a pathway for fresh air to circulate through your home, removing some of the odour.

Next, you are going to want to target certain points: the microwave, the rooms and furniture, and your clothing.

How to Get Rid of Burnt Popcorn Smell From a Microwave

Lemon: Get yourself a lemon and a bowl of water. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze all of the juice into the bowl of the water. Pop the remaining lemon skin in the bowl as well. Microwave the bowl for 3 minutes, but when the timer goes off make sure you keep the door shut.

This method is intended to create lemon-infused steam inside your microwave because the acidic citrus will balance out the bad odor. Try and leave the microwave door shut for at least 15 minutes to make the method as effective as possible.

Baking Soda: Mix a large tablespoon of baking soda into a bowl with a small amount of water in it. Mix the two ingredients together until it creates a thick liquid, similar to a paste. Microwave this mixture for at least 5 minutes.

As with the lemon, this will create steam infused with the alkaline substance, which will help to neutralize the burnt popcorn smell. To help with this, keep the microwave door shut for at least an hour after heating the baking soda mixture. After the hour is up, you can remove the bowl.

White Vinegar: Fill a bowl with equal parts white vinegar and water. A good amount is half a cup of each. Following the same method as the other hacks, you will need to microwave the bowl for at least 3 minutes.

The smell this creates will not be as pleasant as the lemon or baking soda methods (unless you love vinegar), but it is effective! Leave the microwave door shut for a few minutes afterward, and then remove the bowl. Wipe down the inside of the microwave with cleaning products, making sure that it is left dry.

Coffee: If you enjoy the smell of coffee, this method might be just the one for you. Get yourself some freshly ground coffee and mix it in a bowl with half a cup of water.

Microwave this for 3 minutes, and let the steam sit inside the microwave for at least 15 minutes. When you take the bowl out, make sure you wipe down the inside of the microwave with a wet cloth. Dry it afterwards to prevent it from becoming stagnant inside!

How to Get Rid of Burnt Popcorn Smell From a Home

Baking Soda: This method requires less effort than the other fixes as you don’t need to heat or mix anything. All you have to do is pour baking soda into a few different bowls.

Place these bowls in rooms that have been badly affected by the burnt popcorn smell – particularly the kitchen. You have to leave these bowls in the rooms overnight so that they have the best chance at neutralizing the smell.

White Vinegar: Again, the smell of white vinegar throughout your home might not be to your taste, but it is certainly more palatable than burnt popcorn, and it is very efficient at neutralizing odours. To do this method, you need to find yourself a spray bottle.

Fill it up to the halfway point with white vinegar. Now, you need to add a few drops of fabric softener of your choice – this is going to be on your furniture so make sure it’s one you like! Shake the spray bottle well so the two components mix, and then spray the mixture on the furniture that has absorbed the burnt popcorn smell.

How to Get Rid of Burnt Popcorn Smell From Clothing

White Vinegar/Apple Cider Vinegar: Put a large saucepan on your stove and start heating it up. Put equal parts white vinegar or apple cider vinegar (depending on personal preference) and water in the saucepan – half a cup of each should do. Give it a quick mix and leave it to heat up.

You should wait until it starts to create steam. Now that steam is rising from the pan, turn the stove off and quickly place your affected clothes over the top of the pan.

The steam should seep through the fabric, neutralizing the smell. The clothing may become slightly damp as it does this, but it will soon dry!