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Can Microwaves Explode? (All Answered!)

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Microwaves are a staple in many kitchens. They speed up cooking time, make food hot and easy to prepare, and they’re convenient for busy people who don’t have the time or energy to cook from scratch.

But there is one downside: microwaves can explode!

Nowadays, you hear about microwave explosions all the time because of YouTube videos that show devices exploding when their owners attempt kitchen hacks like boiling water inside them, throwing metal forks inside, or using them as makeshift ovens with cakes and pies.

In this article, I want to go over every possible reason microwaves explode and how you need to be aware of what to do in order to prevent such things from happening.

Can a microwave catch on fire and explode?

Though it is rare, microwave ovens can explode if they have faulty wiring or are misused. Microwaves can also explode if something metal is placed inside the microwave while it is on, the sparks from the metal can cause a fire. If too much liquid is heated in the microwave, it can also cause an explosion. Even if you microwave nothing, the energy produced from the microwave will instead be absorbed by the microwave and can catch fire.

There are so many ways a microwave may explode and catch fire and all of them will be explained in this article.

What causes microwaves to catch fire and explode?

The most common cause of fires in microwaves is food or grease that has been spilled and then forgotten about. When the heat from the microwave builds up, it can ignite the food or grease, causing a fire.

Microwaves can catch fire and explode if they have faulty wiring or are misused. For example, if microwaves are overloaded with food, the sparks from the electrical current can cause a fire. Additionally, if microwaves are not cleaned regularly, the grease and food particles can build up and create a dangerous situation.

It’s not just plastic that can cause microwaves to catch fire and explode. Foods like grapes, water, and whole eggs can also cause problems. When these items are heated in a microwave, the heat causes them to burst and even start a fire. As a result, it’s important to be careful about what you heat up in your microwave.

What materials can and can’t go into a microwave?


Glass is microwaveable. This means that if you have a container made of glass, you can put it in the microwave without having to worry about it breaking.


It is important not to use single-use plastics, such as yogurt or cottage cheese pots, or old or cracked plastic containers in the microwave. Doing so can release harmful chemicals into your food.

In general, plastics labeled with a “microwave safe” symbol can be microwaved. However, non-microwavable plastics have the potential to melt and leave toxic particles in your food. It’s important to avoid heating up any plastic containers in the microwave, and you should also be weary of those that are supposedly microwave-safe.

In fact, you might think that Styrofoam would be okay in the microwave because it is made of plastic. However, Styrofoam is still a type of plastic and should not be used in microwaves.

There are a few plastics that can be microwaved safely. The most durable plastics, such as branded microwave-safe Tupperware or microwave covers, will not release harmful chemicals when microwaved. However, some softer plastics may release toxins into your food. If you are unsure if a piece of plastic is safe to microwave, it is best not to take the risk.


When microwaving food, it is important to avoid putting metal in the microwave as it can cause sparks and start a fire. Metal can also damage the appliance.

Some dishes have a metallic finish and are not microwave-safe. If you’re not sure whether or not a dish is safe to microwave, look for a message on the bottom of the dish stating that it is microwave-safe.

Some materials should not be microwaved because they contain metal. Fine china is a prime example of this, as the trim on the plates and cups can cause sparks in the microwave. This can lead to a fire hazard, so it’s best to avoid microwaving fine china altogether.


Paper bags can release toxins when they are burned, and these toxins can potentially catch fire.

Paper is a material that doesn’t take kindly to microwaves. In fact, it starts to smoke and may even catch on fire. That’s why commercial microwave popcorn bags are made with a material that absorbs microwaves and protects the paper.

What happens when you microwave nothing

When you are microwaving nothing, instead of the heat being absorbed into the food, it will bounce off the sides of the walls. This creates an intense amount of pressure inside the oven. This can also damage the walls of the microwave.

How long can you microwave empty?

You should avoid running your microwave with nothing inside no more than 5 minutes. After that time has passed, there is a chance that something could explode. Or at the very least, you risk permanently damaging your microwave.

If you do want to run your microwave without anything inside, make sure that the door is closed tightly. You don’t want any leak of radiation to exit the microwave.

What happens when you microwave aluminum foil?

When you put aluminum foil in the microwave, the electric fields cause charges to flow through the metal. This creates heat, which can cause the foil to explode.

When microwaving aluminum foil, it can heat up so quickly from the currents passing through it that it can ignite. This is because thin pieces of metal like aluminum foil are overwhelmed by these currents. If you’re ever in doubt about whether or not something is safe to microwave, err on the side of caution and don’t do it.

When microwaving aluminum foil, the sparks that are created can ignite the gas in the foil. This explosion can cause serious injuries, including burns and blindness. It is important to be aware of these dangers when using aluminum foil in the microwave and to take precautions to avoid them.

What happens if you run your microwave too long?

If you run your microwave to cook food for too long, the inside of the oven could get very hot. This can happen if there isn’t enough air circulation in the oven. When this occurs, the temperature of the oven increases rapidly.

This rapid increase in temperature can burn you or cause your microwave to burst open due to all the pressure build up within the oven.

What happens if you microwave a rock?

Things you should never do with your microwave

Don’t defrost raw meat in a microwave

When you defrost raw meat in a microwave, the heat can cause bacteria to grow. This bacteria can lead to food-borne illnesses, so it’s important not to defrost meat in this way. There are other ways to defrost meat that are safer and will help reduce the risk of getting sick.

Don’t cook eggs with the shell on in a microwave

When you cook eggs with the shell on in a microwave, the steam and heat generated will cause the egg to explode. The pressure created inside the egg can cause it to crack and release the hot contents, which can cause serious burns.

Don’t warm up breast milk in a microwave

There are a few reasons why you should not warm up breast milk in a microwave. First, microwaving can cause hot spots in the milk that can burn your baby’s mouth. Second, microwaving can destroy some of the nutrients in the milk. Finally, microwaving can create uneven levels of warmth in the milk, which can make it difficult for your baby to drink evenly.

Heating breast milk in a microwave is not the safest way to do it. Heating it in other ways, like inside a bath of warm water, is better. If you must use the microwave, be sure to thaw the milk first and only heat it for a short time.

Don’t heat food on Styrofoam containers in a microwave

Styrofoam is a type of plastic and when microwaved, it can release harmful chemicals into your food. Heating up food in a Styrofoam container can release styrene, which is linked to cancer and other health problems.

Don’t use low fired ceramic dishes in the microwave

Low fired ceramics are dishes that have been fired at a low temperature, retaining some of the porous nature of clay. This means that they can easily soak up moisture and release it in the form of steam, which can cause the dish to break while in the microwave.

Ceramic dishes that have not been fired at a high enough temperature contain moisture, and when microwaved, that moisture can heat up and cause the dish to shatter.

It’s important to be mindful of the dishes you’re using in the microwave. Some materials, like low-fired ceramics, can release toxins when heated up. If you’re not sure if a dish is safe for the microwave, check for a “microwave-safe” label. If there isn’t one, it’s best to use a different dish.

Don’t boil water in a microwave

Boiling water in a microwave can be dangerous because the sudden change in temperature can cause the water to boil over and/or create steam explosions.

In addition, boiling water in a microwave can cause the water to superheat. When this happens, the water will not boil, but if the container is disturbed in any way, it can result in an explosive reaction.

Don’t cook raisins in a microwave

Raisins are not meant to be cooked in a microwave. They will become rubbery and lose their flavor.

Cooking raisins in a microwave is one of the things you should never do. This can cause overheating and even fire. It doesn’t take much.

Just because its “microwave safe”, doesn’t mean you’re free from danger

Just because a product is labeled “microwave safe”, it doesn’t mean it’s free from danger. In fact, many products that are advertised as being okay to microwave can actually be harmful if microwaved. Be sure to read the label carefully and follow all instructions to avoid any potential harm.

Just because a product is labeled “microwave safe” doesn’t mean it can’t cause you harm. In fact, many products that are labeled this way can be very hot after being microwaved and can cause burns if touched. Always use caution when handling items that have been microwaved and never assume they are safe to touch.

In other words, if you’re not sure how a certain bowl or container will work in the microwave, heat the liquid or food in something else and then transfer it to that container. microwaves can cause dangerous sparks if they come into contact with metal. By transferring the food or liquid into another container first, you’ll be safe from any potential dangers.

Don’t microwave packaged food

When microwaving packaged food, be sure to cover it with a paper towel or lid. If the packaging is not microwave-safe, transfer the food to a microwave-safe container first. Leaving the package open can cause the food to heat unevenly and may create harmful toxins.

Don’t use microwaves to dry clothing

Microwaves should not be used to dry clothes because they can damage the fabric, make it shrink, and cause it to lose color.

If you think microwaving your wet clothes in order to dry them is a good idea, think again. Microwaves cook unevenly and that could give you a false sense of belief that your clothes is still wet when in actuality, there are parts of your clothes that are super hot.

Microwaving it further may cause the clothes to burst into flames.

Don’t try to microwave sponges when they are dry

It is very important to disinfect kitchen sponges regularly, as they can harbor a lot of bacteria. However, you should not try to microwave them when they are dry- the heat will cause the sponge to burst and release all the bacteria into the air. Instead, soak them in hot water for a few minutes before microwaving.

It is important to remember that you should never try to microwave sponges when they are dry. If the sponge is not wet, it can easily explode in the microwave and create a mess. Soak your sponge before microwaving it and you’ll avoid any dangerous accidents.

Don’t use microwaves to cook hot peppers

When microwaving hot peppers, it is important to be aware that they can explode and release pepper spray. This is a riskier cooking method because the explosion can occur in the air and affect anyone nearby.

Cooking hot peppers in a microwave can be dangerous. The high temperatures can cause the peppers to explode, sending shards of glass flying everywhere. A safer alternative is to cook them on your stovetop, oven, or broiler.

Don’t microwave food in paper bags

Paper bags release toxins that can potentially catch fire. Microwaving food in these types of containers could also result in an explosion. Paper bags are prone to ignite and burn at high temperatures, so don’t put them in the microwave.

Don’t microwave bowls with traces of metal

Metal parts like those found in bowls can become extremely hot after being microwaved. It is best to remove these parts before heating the bowl.

This is especially true when it cones to China kitchenware. Many Chinese dishes contain metal trimmings which can be dangerous to microwave. 

Don’t microwave empty

When you microwave an empty container, the microwaves will bounce off of the walls. Operating a microwave oven when it is empty can cause damage to the oven. This is because the microwaves will bounce around inside the oven and could potentially cause a fire.

When microwaving an empty container, you create standing waves. These waves can cause damage to the oven or even start a fire. Make sure to avoid this and only put safe items in the microwave.

Don’t microwave grapes

When microwaving food, there are some things you should avoid. Grapes are on that list because they can explode in the microwave.

Some foods are just not meant to be microwaved, like grapes. Their high water content and tough skin can cause explosions in the microwave. Other dangerous items to put in the microwave are metal utensils, aluminum foil, and wax paper.

In fact, microwaving grapes can cause them to burst and release a toxic gas. The heat from the microwave can also produce carcinogens in the grape skins, making them potentially harmful to consume.

Don’t microwave yogurt and butter containers

When microwaving foods, it is best to use containers that are specifically made for the microwave. Plastics containers like yogurt cups and butter containers are not meant to withstand the high temperatures of a microwave and can warp or melt.

Don’t microwave condiments like sauces and dip without a cover

When microwaving condiments like sauces and dips, it is important to make sure that you use a cover. This is because the sauce or dip will explode and create a huge mess in the microwave.

When you microwave anything, you’re basically causing the food to lose water. For sauces, if you microwave it enough, the sauces will eventually lose all its water content and become thick and greasy.

Microwaving this left over grease could cause a fire. To prevent this, always make sure to have a lid on your sauce or dip when you microwave it. This will help contain the moisture and also prevent any explosions from the sauce after you’ve opened your microwave door. You don’t want to end up with a sticky mess.

Don’t microwave plastic storage containers

Microwaving plastic containers is not safe. You should only microwave things which clearly state they are safe to be microwaved. Many plastics contain harmful chemicals which can release into your food when microwaved.

Microwaving any containers not specifically designed for microwave use can be dangerous. This is because the container may melt, and the plastic may release toxins into your food. Always check to see if a container is microwave safe before microwaving it.

Microwaving plastic containers is not always safe. Some microwavable plastic containers have a maximum continuous exposure time, meaning that if you exceed that time, the container could melt and release harmful chemicals into your food. Always read the label to see how long the container can be microwaved for.

It’s always important to be aware of what you’re microwaving in order to avoid any potential accidents or damage to your appliance. If a container doesn’t have a microwave-safe label, it’s best to check the manufacturer’s website or just not microwave it at all.

Don’t microwave stainless steel travel mugs or bottles

Some people microwave their stainless steel travel mugs or bottles without knowing that it can cause some serious damage. The metal can heat up and create a spark which could potentially start a fire.

This is because the stainless steel reflects the microwaves back into the oven and can cause a fire. If you need to heat up something in your stainless steel travel mug or bottle, take it out of the container and microwave it separately.

Don’t microwave aluminum foil

Microwaving food in aluminum foil can cause a fire. The foil reflects the microwaves and creates sparks that can easily ignite something else in the oven, like wax paper, and create a dangerous fire.

The electric fields inside microwaves cause charges to flow through the metal, which can create sparks and heat up the metal until it catches on fire. Additionally, since microwaves reflect heat instead of absorbing it, putting metal in a microwave can actually make things worse by creating more sparks. If this happens, you could end up with a fire in your microwave or damage to the appliance.

How to care and maintain your microwave?

Keep your microwave clean

If particles of food spatter on the inside walls of microwaves, it can cause the oven to work less efficiently. This is because the food can interfere with the waves that are meant to heat your food, causing it not to cook evenly or completely. To avoid this, be sure to clean your microwave regularly and avoid letting any large particles build up.

Cleaning the microwave doesn’t have to be a daunting task. In fact, it can be an easy job by using some simple techniques. First, try to remove any food or liquid residue by steaming it. The steam will help soften the food and make it easier to clean. Afterwards, use a soft cloth and some warm water to wipe down the inside of the microwave. Make sure to avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that could damage the surface.

You can easily remove tough stains from your microwave by heating a measuring cup with two cups of water on high power for a few minutes. The steam will help loosen the dirt and make it easier to wipe away.

Cleaning your microwave is important not just to keep it looking nice, but also to ensure that it’s functioning properly. One way to clean it is by adding lemon juice to the water. This will help to leave the oven smelling fresh.

The removable plate tray on your microwave can be easily removed and washed separately. This will help keep your microwave clean and functioning properly.

Don’t use your microwave when its empty

It may seem obvious, but don’t use your microwave if it’s empty. When you microwave food, the food absorbs the microwave radiations. When you microwave nothing, the radiations end up bouncing around the interior space of the oven, which can lead to overheating and even a fire.

Some of the more expensive microwaves are built to withstand such radiation, but over time, even those could start to corrode and rust from the inside. It’s also possible that there could be a buildup of moisture in the cavity of the microwave which could lead to even more corrosion. Corrosion can weaken the structure of your microwave and cause it to break down over time.

Make sure you close the door when using your microwave

When cooking food in your microwave, always make sure to close the door before turning it on. This helps prevent excess heat from escaping into other rooms and leaving behind unpleasant odors.

If the microwave is on while the door is not properly shut tight, the hot air can escape out the cracks between the door and the frame. This can result in a fire hazard as well as a lot of wasted energy.

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