How To Get Rid Of Burnt Smells Fast

When lighting a scented candle just won’t cut it.

Oops, you did it again. Hey, no judgement. We do it all the time. Was it the eggs? Did you sear a steak in a not-so-nonstick-anymore pan? Perhaps you were browning the breadcrumbs on top of that baked mac ’n’ cheese, you turned around for a second to respond to a text message from your mom and next thing you know, the whole kitchen’s up in smoke. #relatable

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Well, you’ve committed. Your house just smells like burnt stuff now. It’s even in your pores. Might as well set the couch ablaze and call it a night.

Just kidding.

We’ve got some thoughts on how to get rid of that sweet, sweet burnt-to-a-crisp odor you’ve infused your entire home with. It might take a while, but the smell will ultimately dissipate. Here are some tips to accelerate the process.

How to get rid of burnt smells

Oh, you mean you didn’t want your kitchen to reek like eau de char?

Remove the source

  • Don’t bother. You can’t salvage it. Toss that burnt food right into the trash (or better yet, compost) and take that trash straight to the outdoor receptacle. The sooner the better, or it will continue to stink and release its blackened odor into your home.
  • Note: While we do recommend making haste when disposing of the burnt item, make sure it’s not so hot that it’s going to melt through the plastic of your trash bags or can. (And definitely avoid burning yourself in the process.

Deep clean

Oy vey, here we go. You were going to have to clean up afterward anyway, but now you’ve got to really bust out the elbow grease.

  • Pots And Pans Eh, sorry pots and pans. You didn’t deserve this. You were just innocently trying to prepare a delicious meal, and now you’re scorched silly. This is why you can’t have nice things.
  • Clean the victimized pots or pan as soon as humanly possible. Not only will this help to remove the smell, but if you’re lucky, it will prevent the burn from clinging to your favorite cookware … forever.

  • Resist the urge to use tough scrubbers, especially on nonstick pans. Yes, it’s tempting to want to scrape the burnt bits off, but abrasive brushes will only further damage your cookware.

  • Use Dawn Dish Soap on tough, burnt-on food on pots and pans. You’ll want to fill the pot or pan with hot, soapy water and give it a long, hard time-out in the sink—maybe even overnight. Then tackle it in the morning (after coffee, of course!) once the burnt-on grime has had time to loosen up.

  • Oven

Oh dear, it’s dripped all over. Just gone and bubbled up and oozed itself right down to the oven floor, where it will probably live forever and ever, emitting a fresh burnt smell each time you preheat. Darn.

  • Okay, so it’s super tempting to just try out that self-cleaning oven setting, right? Stahp! If your oven is a huge mess, with caked-on food and grimy bits of melted cheese and whatnot, the self-cleaning oven function will only further smoke out your kitchen. What it does is lock the oven and set the temps soaring to 500 degrees or so. This will cut grease, but it could also present a fire hazard.

  • We think it goes without saying, but wait until the oven has cooled down to clean it!

  • Invest in some ready-made oven cleaner and/or degreaser. Follow the directions on the bottle, and get to cleaning. You might want to wear some rubber kitchen gloves for this task.

  • No store-bought cleaner? No problem. Whip up a DIY baking soda paste (about ½ cup of baking soda + 3 tablespoons of warm water), cover the nasty burnt bits inside the oven with it and let it sit overnight. (Note: Don’t put the paste on any electrical heating elements or gas intake parts!)

  • Pull out the oven racks, and soak them in white vinegar overnight. The acidic vinegar will dissolve burnt-on grime.

  • Wipe out the baking soda paste with a clean, wet rag. Feel free to carefully use an abrasive scrubbing tool to dislodge any super persistent burnt bits.

  • Alternatively, when life burns your dinner, bake lemonade. Yes, you read that right. Grab a medium-sized ovenproof mixing bowl, and fill it with water. Halve two lemons, and add them to the bowl. Throw the bowl in the oven at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour. Turn off the oven, and let it cool a bit, but while it’s still warm, (carefully!) wipe down its interior with a clean, damp rag.

  • Stovetop

This is just embarrassing. You’d better clean this up before your in-laws get here.

  • Carefully wash and scrub burnt-on residue from the stovetop as soon as possible with dish soap and warm water. Don’t let it cool down and harden first, unless you’re a glutton for punishment. The cooler the burnt mess becomes, the more firmly it adheres to your stovetop, and the more likely it will become a new permanent fixture in your kitchen.

  • Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is great at cutting grease and tough stains. It is magic, after all. (Too bad it can’t magically unburn your dinner.)

  • Microwave

Sure, you could just close the door and walk away. Blame it on the dog or something. But it’ll be there waiting for you tomorrow when you go to make popcorn.

  • Clean the inside of your microwave with warm, soapy water while the splatter is still fresh.

  • Try this citrus spa method. Fill a bowl with a cup of water, cut a lemon in half, squeeze its juice into the bowl, then drop the two halves in. Nuke the lemon water until you see the water start to boil. Let it sit in your microwave for a few minutes to cool down, allowing the steam to loosen any caked-on mess. Remove the bowl (careful, it might still be hot!), and wipe down the inside of the microwave with a clean, wet rag.

  • Just air it out. Leave the microwave door open overnight to let the smell dissipate.

  • Give it a vinegar steam bath. Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to ½ cup of water, and microwave it for 2 minutes. Leave the microwave door shut afterward with the hot vinegar mixture inside for about 15 minutes. Remove the vinegar, and wipe out the inside of the microwave with a clean, damp rag. The initial smell of the vinegar might seem overwhelming, but it will quickly neutralize and dissipate, taking the original unsavory smell with it.

  • Residual Smells

Where are they even coming from? You haven’t even cooked in days. Not since you’d burned that bacon. Wait a minute … oh yeah. Carpet, curtains, drapes and upholstery just love to soak up smells.

  • Sprinkle baking soda onto carpet or upholstery, and let it sit overnight before vacuuming up in the morning. Baking soda is your number one pal for absorbing unwanted odors.
  • Launder items whenever possible.
  • Try a quick fix with Febreze Fabric to infuse your upholstered items with a delicious fresh scent such as lavender, peonies, violet or cranberry. Febreze Fabric even comes in various laundry detergent scents, so even if you can’t launder an item (like your couch), it will still smell like you did!

Air out

Simply put: burnt air out, fresh air in.

  • Ventilate! Open all windows in the offending room.
  • Close windows in other rooms to prevent smell from blowing back in.
  • Crank up the fans (ceiling or otherwise) to blow out lingering smells.

Freshen up

We’ve got a lot (and we mean a lot) of ideas about how to freshen up the smell of your home.

  • Place small containers of baking soda in key areas to neutralize and absorb burnt smells (but keep out of reach of kids and pets).
  • Introduce fresh scents into the room. Febreze Air is ideal for emergency stink situations and comes in scents such as sea spray, jasmine & lime and fresh-baked vanilla. You can use it anywhere burnt odors are lingering in the air—or where you just need a burst of freshness!
  • Bake some cookies. You deserve it, after all that cleaning. And what smells better than cookies? Literally nothing.

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