Can A Microwave Explode?

When you set up a microwave at home, you are going to have certain concerns about your safety. It’s easy to assume all microwaves are good but it’s still important to figure out what’s safe and what’s not. Keeping this in mind, one of the main questions you’re going to have is – can a microwave explode?

A microwave will not explode. In most examples of explosions, it’s the item being heated that explodes causing the microwave’s shell to tear open. The device itself does not explode even with excessive use.

This is an important distinction to keep in mind when understanding exploding microwaves at home and what causes them to reach this point.

Key factors include:

  • Item Inside the Microwave
  • Type of Microwave
  • Age of the Microwave

When asking “Can a microwave explode?” you are going to go through a long list of variables and most people will assume the microwave has broken down causing it to become a safety hazard.

Yes, it is possible for microwaves to catch on fire and/or have electrical issues but they don’t explode on their own.

If there is nothing inside the microwave, it isn’t going to explode even if you run it for a lengthy amount of time. It’s when there are items inside that will lead to an explosion.

This guide is going to take a look at the question “Can a microwave explode?” with an emphasis on some of the items that can cause a microwave to explode at home.

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Reasons for a Microwave Exploding

1. Plastic Containers

The biggest reason for microwaves exploding has to do with plastic containers.

People put plastic containers into their microwave and then begin heating the inner contents. Plastic doesn’t do well in this environment and will eventually build up causing it to explode.

This is when people assume the microwave itself exploded when it is the contents inside that did.

For example, the plastic will heat up to the point that it expands. When it expands, there is going to be a breaking point when the plastic gives out.

It is at this point when the explosion is going to happen.

Due to the explosion, the plastic tears through the microwave and causes quite a bit of damage. This is essential when you are focusing on the question “Can a microwave explode?” and learning more about how to stay safe when using a microwave.

can a microwave explode

2. Aluminum Foil

This is one of those details people don’t think about because it is not wrapped in a container.

While a little bit of aluminum foil isn’t going to cause an explosion, the same cannot be said when there is quite a bit of aluminum foil put in at once.

If you wrap it around a container, this can also cause an explosion to happen.

Aluminum foil that is wrapped around a container can cause the explosion depending on how much is inside the appliance.

You have to be extra careful when it comes to materials such as styrofoam and aluminum foil because of this reaction.

Even a little bit is going to start to spark as soon as the heat is turned on with your microwave. It is a clear sign that you should take it out!

Anyone asking “Can a microwave explode?” should never put aluminum foil inside their microwave. It is dangerous and will lead to a horrible reaction.

can a microwave explode

3. Travel Mug

This is not as common as the other two examples but is one that can cause a microwave to explode at home.

The reason has to do with the outer shell of the travel mug.

Some travel mugs aren’t made to be microwavable. This means as soon as you put them in, they begin to expand rapidly.

It is this expanding reaction that causes the shell to break and eventually explode.

Certain travel mugs are made of plastic and/or other similar materials that will explode when heated inside a microwave.

It is in your best interest to not use the microwave as a way to warm the travel mug.

Warm the liquid in a separate glass/cup and then pour it into the travel mug. Otherwise, you are going to be endangering yourself.

Related Questions

1. What Happens When A Microwave Explodes?

In most cases, it’s the container inside the microwave that explodes. This causes the shell to expand to the point that it pierces through the microwave and causes it to explode.

2. Can a Microwave Explode With Nothing In It?

No, a microwave will not explode with nothing in it. However, a microwave can start a fire when there is an electrical failure especially when it is being run without anything inside.

Final Thoughts

“Can a microwave explode?”

Microwaves can explode but the cause is always what is inside. As the heat starts to build up, materials such as plastic expand which can lead to the shell bursting.

You have to be careful about what you put inside a microwave due to this reason.

Here is more on kitchen items – prepping for a 1000 watt microwave, eating expired popcorn at home, and finding an Internet-friendly microwave.