Can a Microwave Explode? Why Microwaves Can Catch Fire?

Can a Microwave explode?  Yes, it can… You have the follow the guideline carefully while cooking in a microwave oven and the utensils used for cooking should be microwave safe.

Microwaves are one of the most popular household appliances in the United Kingdom.

Since more than half of all accidental house fires start in the kitchen, it is important that you take extra care to avoid dangers.

How do microwaves work?

Microwave ovens cook foods by injecting them with microwaves—a form of energy. These electromagnetic waves are invisible to the human eye and are between radio waves, which are longer in wavelength, and infrared waves, which are shorter.

Inside the guts of a microwave, a device called a magnetron which produces electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength a little shorter than a normal radio wave (which is why it is known as a “micro”).

Non-ionizing microwave radiation (meaning it cannot directly break apart atoms or molecules) passes through food, causing the water molecules in the food to vibrate, ultimately producing the heat that cooks the food (which explains why ingredients with a higher water content such as vegetables cook faster).

can a microwave explode

Are microwaves dangerous?

Domestic microwaves have been in use since the mid-1950s. Since then, there has been no credible evidence to suggest that they are in any way harmful to human health in normal use.

The risk of injury from microwave radiation is effectively non-existent. The main danger posed by a microwave is a fire resulting from misuse or malfunction.

microwave oven explosion

Avoid the dangers of microwaves with our safety tips

There are a few key safety tips you can follow to ensure avoid the dangers of microwaves.

  • Remember to keep the vents clean and avoid storing objects on top of appliances (as they can block ventilation).
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, if in doubt, double-check with them.
  • Make sure you clean your microwave properly so that grease and dirt don’t build up.
  • Don’t power microwaves using extension leads.
  • Make sure you have a working smoke detector in case something goes wrong.

To help you stay safe, and prevent your kitchen from catching fire, here are some reminders on how to properly use your microwave.

microwave oven safety

15 things to never put in the microwave

1. Paper bags

Paper bags can release toxins that can potentially catch fire.

2. Take out containers

If the container has any metal on it, don’t put it in the microwave! Metal can easily catch fire in the microwave and cause serious damage.

You can check this post, what if I accidentally put metal on a microwave?

3. Yogurt and butter containers

Plastic containers such as yogurt cups and butter containers are designed for single use only. They are not made to withstand the high temperatures and heat of a microwave, and if heated, they can melt and potentially release chemicals into food.

4. Eggs

If you want to make hard-boiled eggs, boil them in a pot over the fire. Putting eggs in the microwave will likely leave you in a big mess. After high temperatures cause them to explode.

5. Styrofoam

This is one of those things that people like to try, thinking, “If I put it on for a few seconds, it’ll be fine …Nope, don’t do it!

Styrofoam cups, bowls, take-out containers; Whatever the type, please do not put it in the microwave. Styrofoam is a type of plastic that doesn’t mix well with microwave temperature.

6. Grapes

They will explode and could catch fire.

7. Cookware with metal trim

You may have plates or bowls with a nice metal trim, and when it comes to whether you should put them in the microwave, remember the word metal. That’s a red flag for do not put in the microwave!

8. Sauce or dip without a cover

Talk about a mess … Putting any type of sauce or dip in the microwave without a lid (even just a paper towel) will just end up leaving a HUGE mess.

9. Plastic storage containers

Again, if the containers are made from plastic material, do not put them in the microwave oven! Certain Tupperware-type plastic containers will have a label if they are microwave safe If you don’t see that label, check the manufacturer’s website, or to be on the safe side, just don’t microwave it.

10. Hot peppers

First, they can catch fire. Second, when you open the microwave, the heat can cause the peppers to release chemicals that can burn your eyes, which doesn’t sound very good to anyone.

11. Stainless steel travel mugs/bottles

Many people use microwave travel mugs without realizing that they are made of stainless steel — which does not belong in the microwave.

Not only will stainless steel keep the heat from heating up what’s in your mug, but it can also damage your microwave.

If the mug is plastic, check the bottom for a label to see if it is marked microwave safe.

12. Frozen meat

Frozen meat is tricky in the microwave because depending on the thickness, it’s difficult to make sure the inside is fully cooked.

Also, if heat is not distributed evenly, bacteria can grow and spread through food. So if you need to defrost the meat that was in the freezer, leave it in the fridge overnight.

13. Aluminum foil

If aluminum foil is wrapped all over it, take the foil off before putting it in! because aluminum foil can catch fire.

14. Nothing

When there is nothing in the microwave to absorb microwaves, the microwave can actually catch fire.

15. Be careful with “microwave safe” labels

If something has a “microwave safe” label, it often means that you can heat it in the microwave without damaging the product or your microwave.

Still, if you’re not sure how a bowl or other containers will work in the microwave, heat the liquid or food in something else and then transfer it to that container.

Can Microwave Explode? (Some FAQs)

There are many myths about the dangers of microwaves and the probability of their explosion. We have answered some of the most common questions you may have about your microwave.

1. Is it true that microwaves leak radiation?

Yes, it is true that some microwaves do leak radiation. While radiation is a brilliant way to heat food, it’s not great for humans.

But don’t panic just yet … there are strict limits on the amount that can leak from a microwave oven over its lifetime.

In the worst scenario, microwave radiation at these power levels would result in a slight warming effect, if anything.

2. Can you boil a cup of water in a microwave?

Boiling a cup of water in a microwave could cause it to explode. The water could overheat as it will just keep on heating up for a long as you’ve set it for.

To avoid the dangers of microwaves when boiling water, heat a minimal amount of water and be sure to check it regularly.

3. What causes a microwave to spark?

Any food that has been splashed or dripped in the microwave can continue to cook, causing sparks inside your microwave.

Make sure to clean it regularly and maintain it well. You should also check the manufacturer’s instructions and perhaps contact them directly if you have any concerns.


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