My daughter put a cell phone in the microwave and switched it on. The phone was heated for less than a minute at maximum temperature. There was a strong smell from the burnt phone and the microwave. Can we use the microwave again? Which steps are necessary to bring the microwave to a condition where food isn't contaminated (both from an aroma and a food safety standpoint)?

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  • 2
    Probably can't use the phone, but was there any damage to the microwave?
    – moscafj
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 18:49
  • How old is your daughter? (curious why she would do that) Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 19:57
  • 1
    Naturally, she chose a Samsung. Does it still work? Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 23:54
  • Whatever you do, store the damaged phone somewhere where it a) can not start a fire and b) cannot get wet. Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 9:31
  • 1
    @Nav If you really want a mod to look at something, flag it. But questions about kitchen equipment are totally on topic here, there's no reason to migrate.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 20:57

1 Answer 1


I would ventilate it well, wipe everything down and wash up the turntable. Then, when the smell has cleared (and doesn't come back when the door has been shut for a while) use it but only for covered (loosely) food at least at first.

I'd also test that it heats up a cup of water before cooking anything real in it.

  • 2
    When I set a potato on fire, it was months before the smell cleared. (maybe if I had used it more often it'd have cleared faster ... but it smelled like burned hair)
    – Joe
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 22:51
  • 1
    @Joe that's also possible, and I'd give up if there wasn't dramatic improvement within a couple of days. Testing with a cup of water can be done before it clears, and there's just a chance that the steam will help dissipate the smell. Also leaving it semi-outside (like a garden shed).
    – Chris H
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 6:53
  • 3
    maybe also some baking soda as that's a bit abrasive and can help absorb oders
    – thrig
    Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 23:25
  • 1
    And heat some water with vinegar in it.
    – user34961
    Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 10:52

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