House Smells Like Burnt Popcorn? 9 Reasons (Explained)

Imagine coming home and enjoying your evening only to smell burnt popcorn. For better or worse, many things could cause your house to smell this way.

Here are 9 reasons your house could be smelling like burnt popcorn:

1. Burnt Popcorn

The most obvious reason for your house smelling like burnt popcorn is that it’s the very cause.

Maybe you’re sitting down for movie night and just put some popcorn in the microwave. The house may smell like burnt popcorn if you cook it too long.

You’ll need to deeply clean your microwave to eliminate the smell. Ensure you also remove the trash where you threw away the burnt popcorn.

Watch the popcorn closely if you want to prevent this from happening again. Read the bag or box instructions and follow them as best as possible.

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2. The Neighbors Burnt Popcorn

Your family might not have recently made popcorn, so consider if you live in an apartment or a duplex. If so, you may share ventilation with the units around you.

It could be that one of your neighbors burnt some popcorn, or their unit is the origin point of the other problems on this list.

You may want to talk to your neighbors to ask if they overcooked something in the microwave.

Find ways to bring fresh air into your unit if possible. Then, you won’t have to worry about the smell lingering as long as it otherwise would.

3. You Can’t Open a Window

One way to help with ventilation is to open your windows or use screen doors. Maybe you live in a neighborhood or city where doing that isn’t the safest.

The same is true even in safer areas if you live on the ground floor.

You might notice the smell of burning popcorn sticks around for a long if you can’t open a window or door.

In that case, you may want to try something like an air purifier. Another option is to spray scented room spray in the affected spaces to help mask the smell until it goes away.

4. Burnt Rice

I’ve made rice before, and it smells like popcorn when it burns.

Be sure to watch your rice as closely as possible and follow the cooking directions to keep from burning the rice again.

If you’ve already burnt some rice, do your best to clean the pot to help get rid of the smell.

I’d probably soak the pot in some soap and water for a while to make the pot easier to clean later.

5. Burnt Coffee Beans

I never make coffee at home, so I was surprised to learn that coffee beans can smell like burnt popcorn if you over-roast them. One story I found mentioned that the beans smell like burnt popcorn when roasted on an air roaster.

Luckily, you can prevent this in the future by roasting your coffee beans only as much as you need to.

Of course, you can also buy coffee beans that are already roasted, so you just need to grind them and put them in your coffee maker.

If your house currently smells like burnt popcorn from coffee beans, you’ll need to clean the roaster. Then, you can eliminate any beans stuck in the appliance to help eliminate the smell.

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6. Debris Got Stuck Somewhere

Maybe you haven’t ever burned anything while cooking in your kitchen. That doesn’t mean you’ll never experience the smell of burning popcorn.

For example, maybe you put a slice of bread in your toaster, and some crumbs fall to the bottom. Those crumbs will get more and more burnt as you use your toaster.

The same applies if crumbs or other debris fall to the bottom of your stove or oven. Be sure you check these appliances and clean them out regularly.

Unfortunately, you may be unable to prevent the burning smell in a toaster. But in the oven, you can always place food on a baking sheet to keep crumbs from staying in the oven.

7. Something Is Stuck in the Water Heater

Another issue you may have is that something got stuck in your water heater’s pipes. This is particularly true if you only smell burnt popcorn when running hot water.

Probably the most disturbing example I saw was that of a squirrel getting stuck in a water heater. But it could be another small animal or something that’s not alive.

If you’re having problems with your water heater, call a plumber. They can inspect the heater and figure out the problem, and they should be able to fix it.

To prevent this issue in the future, make sure your pipes don’t open up to the outside. You can also schedule regular HVAC maintenance.

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8. Mice Infestation

You may smell burnt popcorn if you have a mice infestation.

When a mouse urinates, it can start to smell like popcorn, but it will take a lot of mouse pee for this to happen.

So while you may have a mouse problem, you may not notice the smell. However, the more mice that get into your home, the greater your chances of smelling their urine.

You’ll want to contact a pest control company to check your home for signs of mice. They can get rid of the creatures, and you’ll then need to contact someone to find and fill any holes where mice are getting in.

Filling these holes may also help you prevent future mice infestations. Another thing that can help, depending on your comfort level, is to get a cat that can catch the mice before they get inside.

9. The Vacuum Has a Clogged Exhaust Filter

Perhaps you only notice the burnt popcorn smell when you use your vacuum and after you finish. The exhaust filter can get clogged, preventing the motor cooling mechanism from working properly.

As the vacuum overheats, it may start to smell a bit like burnt popcorn. Luckily, this problem has a much easier solution than others.

You should check the exhaust filter and clean or replace it if there’s a lot of debris stuck there. Consider stocking up on a few exhaust filters for the next time your vacuum starts to smell.

Then, you can replace the filter as soon as it becomes an issue. You’ll be able to clean the rest of your home without a horrible smell.

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