Microwave ovens make cooking easier and more convenient for busy cooks. Once you understand your microwave’s working, it becomes your good friend in the kitchen for several cooking tasks.
However, one thing that puts microwave ovens’ reliability in a dark light is their safety. New users often wonder if microwaves are safe? Can they explode? What can go wrong with a microwave oven? Can these appliances cause a fire in their kitchen? And so on.
This article will explain if microwaves can explode and some tips you can follow to keep yours safe. Stick around to know more, and use your microwave the right way.
Is a Microwave safe to use?
Yes, a microwave oven is safe to use if you follow the recommended safety instructions and don’t risk its well-being. Since every microwave comes with a user manual, you can check the preferred temperature and voltage limits to be safe.
Avoid putting potentially risky containers and foods in your microwave because they impact its working capacity. If your microwave is from a credible manufacturer, it’s likely to be safe and reliable for everyday use.
Microwave ovens are convenient cooking appliances, widely admired by cooks across the globe. However, some unpleasant incidents and myths make new users concerned about their safety standards.
Luckily, not all of these myths and doubts are true. Microwaves are fairly safe electronic appliances aimed to make your cooking tasks easier.
If your microwave is from a well-known manufacturer, it most probably has a warranty that you can reclaim. So even if you’re worried about the microwave going out of order, there’s not much at stake.
Moreover, ensuring the correct electricity voltage and cooking practices is the next measure you can keep your microwave safe.
A good-quality microwave won’t overheat or explode if you’re careful about it. Thoroughly read your appliance’s user manual to keep your oven and food safe.
Take care of your skin and food while working with a microwave because the floating heat particles can be hazardous.
Can a Microwave Explode?
Although microwave is unlikely to explode, it can happen under extreme conditions. When the micro heatwaves and vibrating water particles accumulate inside this appliance, they can spark a fire or result in an explosion. If a microwave has faulty wiring or a broken heating element, it can emit smoke or explode.
Other reasons for microwave explosions can be thick metal containers, excess water molecules, and certain food types that don’t handle the heat very well.
A microwave might look like a thin metal box that cannot contain much heat, but that’s not true. Microwave ovens are built to match specific safety and heat-bearing standards so that you can confidently use them.
However, some careless steps and low-quality components can make a microwave prone to exploding.
It can explode if you let your microwave run at a blasting temperature for an extended period and don’t care about metal arcing. Moreover, using thick metal containers in a microwave (even when all manufacturers advise against it) can put your microwave through big risks.
Since a microwave picks up floating water molecules and heats them to cook your food, seamless wave transmission is necessary. When you overstuff the microwave with food or containers that aren’t oven-safe, it can catch fire or explode.
If your oven has broken wiring or a faulty heating element, it can experience metal arcing and fire breakouts. Therefore, keep your microwave oven in good condition so that these mishaps cannot impact its performance.
Microwave oven explosions are very rare, too, under severe conditions. Rest assured, you can relax about this factor.
Abiding by the care instructions mentioned in your microwave oven’s user manual can save it from this danger. If you cook at a medium temperature and don’t let non-microwave-safe containers in this appliance, you can use it without worrying about the overheating dangers.
If your microwave oven has thinly insulated walls and broken wires, it can experience short-circuiting. If you don’t cut the power supply of a microwave going through short-circuiting, it’ll probably explode.
Therefore, being careful of the safety instructions and staying vigilant while your microwave works should always be on your mind.
Don’t leave the microwave unattended and never expose it to arc-inducing surfaces, i.e., metal flatware. When hot microwaves bounce against the metallic surface, they generate high heat, resulting in arcing and smoke emissions.
What could cause a microwave to explode?
Microwave explosions are rare but possible, so it makes sense to understand the causes leading to this nuisance. If you have a good-quality microwave oven and don’t put it through extreme temperatures, it will be safe to use for years.
On the other hand, a carelessly handled microwave can catch fire or explode after a few weeks in your kitchen. The key here is to be careful and never experiment with this appliance’s safety standards.
Here are the primary reasons that can lead to microwave explosions and fires:
- Non-Microwave-Safe Containers and Flatware
The most important and dangerous cause of microwave-related problems is using non-microwave-safe containers.
When you put metal or plastic containers in the microwave, they do not react well to the activated heat molecules, eventually leading to temperature flare-ups.
Let’s take a steel bowl, for example. If you mix a batter in your steel bowl and put it in the microwave, you’re potentially in big trouble.
When the microwaves generated from your appliance pick up the water molecules and transport them, they need some space to move. And that doesn’t happen in a metal container. Instead, the heated water molecules rise from the food surface and bounce back against it, resulting in metal arcing.
This arcing might not be dangerous if your steel container is in there for a short duration, but it can get riskier with time. If arcing continues and the heat inside your microwave doesn’t have much space, the appliance can catch fire and eventually explode.
If you leave a wooden spoon or a cardboard pizza box in the microwave, they can quickly catch fire and risk your appliance’s safety. Similarly, using disposable and single-use plastic containers is another mistake people often make with the microwave. These materials cannot stand the microwave’s heat and melt in there, resulting in extra mess and sparks in some cases.
Using wrinkled aluminum foil and metal flatware will only expose your microwave to heat damage, something you won’t like. Therefore, it’s wise to always use safe materials in the microwave.
- Faulty Microwave Wiring
If your microwave’s wiring is out of order and leaks current when plugged in, it can be hazardous. Broken microwave wires waste electricity and pose safety threats to your appliance. When you let a microwave work when its wiring is damaged, you’ll notice arcing and smoke emissions.
Closely observe your microwave’s wires and magnetron to ensure nothing is broken. If your microwave doesn’t heat properly or you feel heating exuding from its surface, get its wiring checked. If your wall socket is damaged, it can also impact the microwave’s power cord and magnetron, resulting in sparks.
Never overlook your microwave’s wires and magnetron because they collectively make it work. Always check for damage signs, and get your microwave repaired before something serious happens.
- Thinly Insulated Walls
If a microwave has thin insulation on its walls, it cannot handle the heat well. The generated microwaves will pass through this thin insulation and expose the magneton to unexpected heat.
If you cook in such a microwave, it cannot seamlessly transmit the temperature. Instead, the heat strikes thin metal walls and rotates back in, resulting in metal arcing. Once metal arcing starts and you don’t turn off the microwave, it can get serious.
Many low-quality microwave ovens have caught fire or exploded because of their walls. Therefore, the first key to safety is getting a reliable microwave. Don’t compromise on your appliance’s insulation quality, and always look for an appliance ensuring good insulation.
- Certain Foods
This might seem strange, but some foods can also cause fires in your microwave. For example, cooking a whole egg in the oven is bad because its shell cannot handle the heat waves. There will be no water molecules for the microwaves to pick, and since the eggshell also stops temperature circulation, it can be tricky.
Other food types that can risk your microwave’s safety are grapes, plain water, hot pepper, and liquid foods. Since these items have significant moisture, they can create extra pressure in the microwave, which is not risk-free.
Can a microwave explode with nothing in it?
Yes, a microwave can explode when you run it empty, although this is very rare. When the microwaves generated from your appliance’s magnetron bounce against the metal racks and trays, they can cause arcing and sparking. If you leave an empty microwave on for an extended period, it can get hot beyond the bearable level and explode.
Sure, pre-heating the microwave can save your cooking time, but doing so is never risk-free. If you run an empty microwave, its heatwaves can cause metal arcing and spark in it, resulting in a hazardous situation.
If you must run the microwave empty, make it brief and pick a medium temperature to keep it safe.
How to use a microwave safely and avoid explosion?
The good thing about microwave ovens is that you can keep them safe and working for a considerable time. If you’re careful with your microwave oven, you can avoid fire and explosion-related hazards without much effort.
Here are a few tips you can follow to keep your microwave away from these dangers:
- Use Microwave-Safe Containers
Always use glass and plastic containers that are marked as microwave and oven-safe.
If you put any random container or bowl in the microwave, it can melt or catch fire. Cardboard pizza boxes, single-use plastic containers, and metallic flatware should never go in your microwave.
These materials not only risk your appliance’s safety, but they can also increase your workload by melting or catching fire.
- Avoid Cooking at Extreme Temperatures
Whether you’re worried about a microwave exploding on you or not, avoiding extreme temperatures is always wise.
You should prefer a medium-level cooking temperature while working with the microwave to keep explosion risks at bay. A medium temperature cooks your food inside out and doesn’t expose the appliance’s wiring or magnetron to heat-related risks.
- Follow the Manufacturer’s Guidelines
Don’t toss your microwave’s user manual in the bin; you need it to keep this appliance safe.
Carefully read the instructions manual you get with the microwave to know its safe temperature, voltage, and cooking limits. Follow the socket-related instructions you see in that manual because some microwave ovens need a specific voltage to perform.
Also, check the container material you can put in your microwave from the manual and follow it.
- Don’t Let Flammable Surfaces near your microwave
Paper, cardboard, tissues, and wooden spoons can catch fire in your microwave, slowly leading to an explosion. Don’t let these materials in or on your microwave to avoid fire risks.
If you accidentally forget something explosive in the microwave, quickly take it out to prevent fire sparks.
- Keep the Oven Clean
Stuck food particulate can impact your microwave’s ventilation and heating. Don’t let this stuff accumulate in your appliance, and follow a good cleaning schedule to enjoy its optimum performance.
Sure, microwaves are good-quality appliances; they aren’t void of flaws. Your carelessness or the manufacturer’s low standards can result in microwave explosion and burning incidents.
Therefore, we explained everything you need to know about this situation and some tips to tackle it. Always follow the instruction manual that comes with your microwave and never pull stunts with it. Some care and smartness go a long way with these appliances. Be careful and vigilant; the rest is all good!