Can Microwaves Actually Explode? What You Need To Know

Microwaves are amazing tools, but they are also potentially dangerous as well. Many things can explode, but can microwaves do so?

Microwaves can explode for a variety of different reasons. These reasons range from problems with the wiring, dangerous materials one has placed into the microwave, or even foods when that are cooked improperly in the microwave. Metal items can also cause a microwave to explode.

So, you know that a microwave can explode and there are many different factors that typically cause a microwave to explode. Throughout the rest of this article, I will go through each of these factors so you can best protect your microwave and make sure that it lasts for a while.

How Does a Microwave Work?

A microwave is very simple in the way that it heats up the food. First, the microwave will produce microwaves, a type of radiation, that then enter the cooking area of the microwave. From there, the microwaves are reflected around the microwave until they make contact with your food. They then get in contact with water molecules within the food and cause them to vibrate. It is this vibration of the molecules that produce heat and warms up/cooks your food. It is because of this you will often have times when the outside of your food is hot, but the inside is cold, as the microwaves cook from the outside in.

For those of you who are concerned that the microwave is cooking food with radiation, you don’t have to worry about it making your food dangerous or toxic, as microwave radiation is completely safe when used on food. However, if you cook food for too long, it can become dangerous and even cause an explosion.

Explosions Due to Faulty Wiring

One of the most common things that will cause your microwave to explode is faulty wiring. Luckily, companies have a lot of certifications they have to go through in order to make microwaves, and each one is inspected so that they are safe, which means it is unlikely that your microwave has faulty wiring.

However, every once and a while there are microwaves with defects, and these defects might cause your microwave to explode. If your microwave isn’t working correctly even though you bought it recently, stop using it and contact the manufacturer. Also, read reviews and see if anyone mentions that their microwave had faulty wiring before you purchase a new microwave.

Explosions Due To Metal

When it comes to dangerous materials in your microwave, one of the most well-known materials to avoid putting in the microwave is metal. This is because metal will reflect the microwaves, and if metal is in the microwave for too long, it will begin to spark and eventually either cause a fire or an explosion. Some metallic items like tin foil can be microwaved, but only if you take extreme caution when doing so and check both the microwave owner’s manual and that the metal is microwave-safe.

Other Materials

Plastic

When it comes to microwaving anything that is plastic, you should first check to make sure that the plastic is microwave-safe. You are never going to want to use any plastic or similar material in a microwave unless it specifically states that it is microwave-safe.

Fortunately, plastic won’t cause an explosion, but rather it will melt and cause some serious damage to the microwave, making it almost unusable unless you do a great job at repairing it, and some plastics will release dangerous chemicals when microwaved.

For the most part, you are going to want to avoid placing any sort of single-use plastic products into the microwave, as they are not going to be microwave-safe.

Glass

Glass is one of the safest options that you can use in a microwave. Glass is so safe that the vast majority of microwave manufacturers use glass as the material for their turntables, as it doesn’t overheat too much, cools down quickly, and it will only shatter if you drop it. Plus, most microwave turntables are shatter-resistant, making them even more durable.

Paper

If you decide to microwave paper, you are going to have some problems, however, you aren’t going to have to worry about an explosion. When paper is made, it ends up filled with a variety of different chemicals. When you start microwaving the paper, you are going to start releasing these chemicals. These chemicals are going to cause the paper to ignite and cause a fire, which will likely damage your microwave.

When you get some microwave foods that have a paper-like border, these are specially-made papers that have been made to be microwave-safe, like microwave popcorn bags.

An Empty Microwave

You should never start a microwave that is empty as it is very dangerous. This is because the micro-waves that are produced are just going to reflect around the inside, and before long, these waves are going to create a lot of pressure. The pressure will continue to build and build until either you stop the microwave and release the pressure or until the microwave explodes. Not only is this going to ruin the microwave, but it is going to put other objects and people that are near the microwave in danger, as parts can fly out from the microwave. These parts will potentially be sharp and be a type of shrapnel that can and will injust anyone that it hits.

Ceramics

Ceramics are interesting, as they can be safe to microwave or dangerous. If a ceramic has not been fired at a high enough temperature, there are going to be air pockets inside of the ceramic. These air bubbles can be heated up in the microwave, causing pressure to build up. It will eventually lead to an explosion.

However, if the ceramics were fired at a high temperature, all of the air pockets will be gone and it will be completely safe to microwave. So, when it comes to microwaving ceramics, you will want to check to see if they are microwave-safe or not.

Foods That Cause Explosions

These are some of the worst foods to put in a microwave, mainly because they will cause an explosion or damage your microwave.

Eggs

Eggs are great since they can be cooked in so many different ways. You can make so many different foods with eggs, and almost all of them will be very tasty. However, avoid cooking eggs that are still in their shells.

This is because you are going to cause some of the liquid inside of the egg to be turned to steam, but since you still have the shell on the egg, the steam won’t be able to escape. Eventually, this will cause the egg to explode, getting the egg into every crack of the microwave. This can damage your microwave as the liquid gets into the inside of the microwave where all of the electrical components are.

Potatoes

Potatoes are another great food option that can be cooked in a large variety of different methods, with all being delicious in my opinion. And potatoes can be cooked in the microwave without any problem if you take a very simple step. You have to create a way for the steam that is produced while microwaving to escape from the potato, otherwise, it will explode like the egg. So, in order to microwave your potato safely, simply take a fork and poke several holes in it. If you’re microwaving mashed potatoes, you won’t have to do anything, as the steam won’t be trapped by potato skins.

Red Sauce/Tomato Based Sauces

When you put any sort of red sauce or tomato-based sauce into a microwave, it will explode if it gets too hot. This can cause the sauce to get into the crevices of the microwave and get onto the wiring. If you microwave red sauce, you will want to do so in short intervals and stir it each time to release any building pressure and prevent any explosions. You can also use a microwave cover to catch any sauce splatters.

A Cup of Water

This is a surprising addition to this list but it is also the one that causes the most microwave-related injuries out of any other, and this is because of two different reasons. The most common problem that is seen when people microwave water is that they end up superheating it. When you disturb super-heated water like you do when you stir or add something to it, it can harm you.

Superheated water can also spill and get into the crevices of your microwave, damaging it.

Grapes

Who would have guessed that grapes would cause so many problems if you decided to microwave them? However, microwaving grapes has become a very popular internet trend, as when you do so, you will get a very unique glowing and plasma effect.

This is because the grapes are mostly filled with water, which is easily heated in the microwave. The seeds and the skin of the grape also catch fire, which causes the plasma coloring. The grape will build up pressure and eventually explode and make a giant mess. When grapes explode, they can potentially damage your microwave.

Spaghetti Squash

This is another one of those foods that you are going to want to poke some sort of hole into before you start cooking it in a microwave, otherwise, it is going to explode all over your microwave. The problem you’re going to have with the spaghetti squash is the fact that it has a very thick rind, which may prevent the fork from poking holes into it. The simplest way is to cut the squash in half and then cook it in a microwave-safe container. If you want to be extra safe, you can poke some extra holes in the squash after cutting it in half, but one large cut it will be much safer than a lot of tiny holes.

Eggplants

Cooking an eggplant is easy and you just have to take two steps in order to prevent it from exploding. First, you are going to want to poke holes into the skin so it doesn’t explode. Then you are going to want to put some kind of cover over the eggplant in order to make cleanup easier and avoid it getting everywhere in the microwave, since microwaving an eggplant all but guarantees a mess.

Carrots

A fun fact is that carrots become miniature sticks of dynamite when put into a microwave if they were not prepared properly beforehand. This is because carrots are full of minerals like iron, magnesium, and selenium, and when these minerals come in contact with microwave radiation, they become very prone to exploding. It is better to cook carrots on the stove or in the oven than to cook them in the microwave.

Green Beans

Green beans are another food that you are only going to want to cook in a microwave if you have the specific tools necessary to make it safe. If you just microwave a bowl of green beans, you are going to end up with lots of small green eruptions that have left plenty of a mess for you to clean up afterward. This is another type of food that you will want to just cook on the stove. However, if you have to cook them in the microwave, put them in a durable glass container along with lots of water.

Hot Peppers

It is dangerous to microwave hot peppers, but not because they will explode. When you microwave hot peppers, capsaicin is released. Capsaicin is the chemical that makes peppers spicy, and if it becomes airborne, it will make the air itself spicy, which will make breathing not fun. When this chemical is airborne, it can also get into your eyes. Basically, if you don’t want to be breathing in spice, don’t microwave hot peppers.

Overall, there are many things that you can do to make your microwave explode, so only use it as directed and don’t put anything that is not supposed to be microwaved in the microwave.