Is it Safe to Use a Microwave After a Fire?

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Key Takeaways
  • Did the microwave itself catch a light? You should not use it until you are sure of the cause. It could be the microwave is at fault and is the cause of the fire.
  • If there is a fire in the kitchen near the microwave, if the external components remain undamaged such as cord and plug it should be okay to use.
  • If concerned, contact an appliance repair service to check out the microwave or buy a new one.

A microwave oven is one of the most reliable appliances in the kitchen. but, improper usage can lead to kitchen disasters. One of the kitchen disasters is microwave ovens catching fire. If it happens, you may ask, is it safe to use a microwave after a fire? Here is the quick answer.

It should be safe to use a microwave oven after a fire if the external components, such as the cord and plug, are still intact. Check the plug and socket for damages and short circuits before using it.

You may have had a microwave oven catch fire or heard of someone who this happened to. In this article, we will give you an in-depth explanation of why it happens and how to diagnose your microwave after it catches fire. 

Is it Safe To Use a Microwave After a Fire?

Before using your microwave oven after a fire, evaluate it based on its severity.

There are three categories based on severity such as mild fire, serious fire, and severe fire.

Mild fire: Before or during a mild fire you’ll notice smoke, and the material inside the microwave oven gets damaged. If the cord, plug, and electronics stay intact, you can continue to use the microwave. But you need to watch out for the spark recurrence.

Serious fire: For serious fire you will notice that the entire appliance is burnt. Only use it after a technician has checked it out.

Severe fire: A severe fire means it burns the entire appliance, including the cord and plug. For severe fire, the fire spreads out fast it damages an entire room. Your microwave is likely destroyed and if it’s plugged in should be removed and disposed of.

What Happens If Your Microwave Is On Fire?

When your microwave oven is on fire, its interior and exterior can get damage. In a worst-case scenario, it may blow up and damage your property.  

Why does your microwave catch fire?

A microwave oven on fire is can be caused by overheating your food. Overheating food means that you overestimate the heating time. If the recipe calls for reheating it longer than three minutes, you must keep an eye on it. Never leave your oven unattended if it takes longer than three minutes to reheat, cook or bake your food.

Another reason that your microwave catches fire is when its power supply gets short circuit. The power surge tricks the microwave to turn on and run. Using a non-microwavable container is another reason why your microwave burns. What happens is that the container melts, produces smoke and it builds up a flame.

So when you notice that smoke or flames inside your microwave, unplug the microwave. Do not open it until the smoke clears or the flame dies.  

Using aluminum foil can cause a microwave to spark and flame up. Initially, you see sparks that later on burn the microwave. You should never use aluminum foil.

What Do You Do After a Microwave Fire?

After a microwave fire, check the exterior of the microwave, cord, and plug. If nothing gets damaged, start pre-treating your microwave with an all-purpose cleaner. The char or carbon trail left inside the microwave is hard to remove. So pre-treating your microwave can make the cleaning job faster. You can use a scrub to clean stubborn char.

Once you clean the microwave, check if it still works. Call a technician if it is not working. 

Will My Microwave Catch Fire? Materials to avoid putting a microwave

Your microwave will catch fire if you use aluminum and non-microwavable containers.

Aluminum creates a spark that blackens the walls of the microwave. When you leave it longer, it is possible to catch fire. On the other hand, non-microwavable containers melt easily that when it is overheated, it may burn and catch fire.

Apart from these materials, you must also avoid putting the materials below inside a microwave.

Recycled paper, Wax paper, and Paper towel

Avoid using recycled paper or wax paper. It may contain metal materials that can interact with a microwave. Instead, you can use paper towels that are metal-free.

When using a paper towel, unfold it to avoid trapping the heat that can trigger a fire. 

Containers, Labels, and Reminders

One of the problems that cause the microwave to catch fire is the mistake of putting the wrong container inside. Maybe someone in the family uses a non-microwavable container because he or she thought it is microwavable. To avoid it, invest in microwavable containers.

You must also encourage the people in your household to use them. If possible, place the containers in one cabinet so everyone knows where to get them. Do not forget to put a label so the items inside the cabinet will not be mixed up.

You can also put a reminder on your microwave door telling everyone in the house that they must not put metal, stainless steel, and foil inside. 


Keep your eye on the microwave when you are microwaving popcorn. Some microwave cooks fast while some take a minute longer. As a rule of thumb, do not cook the popcorn more than the time indicated in the packaging. 

Soup and Water

If you are heating water or soup, avoid filling the cup or bowl almost to the brim. A smaller container can boil the liquid for under two minutes. If you fill up almost to the brim, the liquid may end up spilling over the container.

Grapes and Chili Peppers

Grapes and chili peppers catch fire. So you must not microwave them. When grapes touch each other, it sparks and can trigger a fire. On the other hand, chili peppers contain flammable capsaicin so it is not also advisable to put it in a microwave.

Running an Empty Microwave

Running an empty microwave can damage your appliance. It can also risk catching fire. It happens because the oven absorbs its energy that causes the buildup of fire.