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How Do I Get My Microwave to Stop Smelling Like Month-Old Bagel Bites?

Bagel Bites are simple to prepare, they said. You won’t accidentally detonate an entire box of Bagel Bites and stink up your entire apartment, they said.

I’ll save you the gory details, but my microwave is a mass grave for Hot Pockets and Trader Joe’s curries that kept me alive all month, and let me tell you: It reeks. Welp, I guess I have some cleaning to do. Wanna help?

The Lazy Method

A basic cleaning should help remove any smelly, caked-on food bits from all over the inside of my microwave. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Steam: Heat one cup of water in a microwave-safe bowl for three to four minutes. This should create enough steam to loosen up any pesky Hot Pocket remains.
  2. Clean: Use a lint-free rag, water and dish soap to wipe down the interior.
  3. Rinse: Rinse the inside with soapless water, and use another lint-free rag to wipe it down. Then, let the microwave dry out by leaving the door open for two to three hours.

Still stinky? Let’s try something else… 

The Powerhouse Method

It looks nice and clean now, but wiping off all those snack particles didn’t fully eliminate the smell of misery and everything I’ve over-microwaved over the past month. Looks like we’ll have to bring in the A-Team of odor eliminators. This is what we’ll need to do:

  1. Make a Potion: Mix one tablespoon of either lemon juice or vinegar with one cup of water in a microwave-safe container. Or, we could blend four teaspoons of vanilla extract or two tablespoons of coffee grounds with a half cup of water instead. 
  2. Steam: Heat the concoction in the microwave for two to five minutes.
  3. Wipe: Use a clean sponge or paper towel to wipe down the interior.

Well, well, well — it does smell better, but it’s not perfect. To really tackle that odor, let’s also place an open box of baking soda in the microwave, shut the door and leave it overnight. Or, do the same with one cup of activated charcoal or coffee grounds in an open container.

The Nuclear Method

Ah, it’s a new day, and — *gasp* — I can still smell my mistakes in the microwave. Welp, I guess we’ll have to try plan B: Throw the goddamn microwave out the goddamn window. “I quit using microwaves seven years ago, and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done for myself and my family,” says executive chef Jorge Busso. “It forces you to be proactive about what you’re going to eat and takes away that bullshit, consumeristic last-minute ability to throw some piece of shit into the microwave and eat it.”

Yeah, totally. *Hides 12 new boxes of Hot Pockets in my closet*