I heated a dish that my local fish store said was in a microwave-safe aluminum foil. Now I have a brown (chocolate looking) residue, mostly on the sides of the inside of my microwave. I have read that I can sprinkle baking soda, then add acetone (followed by liquid coffee) to remove these stains. Will this work on a white interior or is it just for stainless steel? I have white.


3 Answers 3


Acetone is not considered a carcinogen in the United States

The Material Safety Data Sheet can be found here.

  • It is the active ingredient in regular nail polish (varnish) remover.
  • It may remove the 'paint' from surfaces.
  • It is legally sold in the United States.
  • It is highly flammable and explosive in the right concentrations.

I would not recommend it to clean your microwave as it's hazardous to health if used improperly under a variety of conditions or used without proper safety equipment.

I would also advise against placing an aluminum foil pan in the microwave and turning it on.

Where did you get this misinformation, Connie?

I have read that I can sprinkle baking soda, then add acetone (followed by liquid coffee) to remove these stains.

The above is incorrect!

  • Back when I was a kid, it was considered carcinogenic. Reviewed and you're right: adapting my answer and +1 to you! :-)
    – Fabby
    Sep 15, 2018 at 19:08

No, please don't!

I would get a professional micro-wave cleaning liquid: Acetone is a prohibited product in some countries nowadays as it's highly flammable and slightly toxic whereas in some countries it's still readily available in cheap nail polish remover. As it's a strong solvent, it will damage most plastics including white plastic microwaves.

  • Fabby, acetone is nail polish remover - my question is, can it be used in a white microwave, or are the instructions given to me only for stainless steel Sep 15, 2018 at 18:10
  • In some countries, cheap nail polish remover still contains acetone, but is not pure acetone. If the white microwave oven is made of plastic or has a plastic coating: No, sorry!
    – Fabby
    Sep 15, 2018 at 19:22

Please do not use Acetone or Nail Polish Remover!

Here's a generic Nail Polish Remover ingredient list:

(source: swatchandlearn.com)

That's not good stuff to have around food preparation products.

To clean your microwave safely and chemical free:

  1. Buy a lemon or two
  1. Cut into pieces
  1. Place in a microwave-safe bowl and fill with water
  1. Place the bowl in the microwave and turn on for 3-5 minutes
  1. Let stand with the door closed for about 5 minutes
  1. Carefully remove the bowl (it will be very hot!!!!) and wipe down the inside of the microwave with a cloth, towel, or paper towels until clean.

The water and lemon juice steam will help loosen and remove grease and other baked on substances, plus it will leave a nice smell in the microwave afterwards. Best part, it's 100% chemical free.

If you have really stuck stuff in the microwave - you can use a mild natural abrasive and some warm water on a towel to help remove it. I recommend using Kosher Salt, since it's natural and won't leave chemical residue in the microwave afterwards.

  • thanks all, with some 600 grit sandpaper, baking soda and (ahem) nail polish remover, the stains came out. I appreciate everyone's input! Sep 16, 2018 at 20:04
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    @CorinneApostle In the future, skip the nail polish remover. It's a harsh chemical and should not be near anything you prepare food with. If anything, the baking soda provided an abrasive and you scrubbing removed the stain. If I were you, I'd thoroughly clean the microwave to remove any nail polish remover residue. There's more in there than just acetone, even if acetone were safe to be near food (I wouldn't).
    – SnakeDoc
    Sep 16, 2018 at 20:52

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