- As foods cook, they release steam, a liquid form of water that can contain a number of odor-causing compounds. These vapors can accumulate, leaving the inside of the oven coated in a layer of odoriferous materials. Most of these compounds can be washed away with soap and water. Mix 1 teaspoon of mild dishwashing soap into 1 quart of warm water and apply the mixture to interior surfaces of the oven. For additional cleaning power, add 1/4 cup lemon juice to the solution; the naturally occurring acids will help cut through sticky residue and fill the oven with a crisp, clean scent.
- Certain foods, such as burnt popcorn, can leave a distinct scent that remains long after the offending materials have vanished. To remove stubborn odors, combine 1 tbsp. liquid dishwashing detergent, 2 tbsps. chlorine bleach and 2 cups water in a plastic spray bottle. Spritz the solution over the interior surfaces of the oven, then wipe with a damp cloth to rinse and towel dry. Alternatively, spray the inside of the oven with a light layer of vanilla extract. Not only does the extract neutralize strong odors, it fills the entire kitchen with the soft scent of freshly baked sweets.
- Persistent odors might require the use of mildly abrasive materials, such as baking soda. Though it was originally developed for use in a variety of baked goods, ordinary baking soda has absorbent, cleansing properties that make in an effective but gentle cleaning agent. To remove unpleasant aromas from the microwave, pour 1/4 cup baking soda into a small bowl, then add enough water to create a grainy paste. Spread the paste over the inside portions of the oven, wait 10 minutes, then wipe the residue away with a damp paper towel. If the odors are still detectable, scatter 1 tsp. baking soda across a small plate, set it inside the oven, close the door and let it sit for 48 hours.
- There are times when the best approach to a situation is to fight fire with fire; to eliminate the aroma left behind by strongly scented foods, create vapors that will overwhelm the existing odors. Pour 1/4 cup white vinegar into a bowl, then stir in 1/4 cup tap water and place the dish in the microwave. Heat the mixture for 5 minutes on High power. Wait 30 minutes, then remove the bowl from the microwave; the unwanted aroma should no longer be detectable.