What To Do If Your Microwave Catches Fire
Microwave ovens are used every day and are generally safe, unless something is put in it that poses a fire hazard. According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), microwave fires are only 4% of all home cooking fires every year, making it ones of the safest appliances in your kitchen. Even still, an accidental fire in your microwave is always possible, so it is best to follow proper safety tips and know what to do if it happens to you!
Common Causes of Microwave Fires or Disasters
- Leaving food cooking for too long. Everyone loves microwave popcorn for a snack, but if you accidentally leave it in the microwave for too long and step away, you may come back to a smoky, sooty mess in your microwave. Maybe you popped leftovers in the microwave and entered twenty minutes rather than two minutes by mistake and walked away, not coming back until you smell something burning ten minutes in.
- Is your food sparking? Most of the time this is fine - Sparks aren't a sign of microwave malfunctions and aren't highly likely to start a fire. But if you continue to let it spark, it may end up charring the inside of your microwave.
- Putting non-microwave safe containers in the microwave. Always be sure to double check whether or not a new container is safe before putting it in the microwave. Certain containers may melt or warp and create a mess like styrofoam or cheap takeout containers.
- Putting other materials in the microwave that absolutely cannot go in it. There is a list of items you should never put in your microwave. These items are highly prone to creating a disaster to cleanup in your microwave or could even start a small fire:
- Aluminum foil
- Paper bags
- Plastic bags
- Metal travel mugs
- Metal cutlery
- Certain foods like peppers, hard boiled eggs, or other things that may explode cooking at a high temperature.
What To Do If There's A Fire in The Microwave
- Immediately turn off the microwave and unplug it if possible. This will turn the fan off and stop feeding oxygen to the fire.
- Do NOT open the microwave door. Rather, keep it closed so that the fire suffocates and puts itself out.
- Call the fire department if the fire has a risk of spreading.
- Throw out the microwave.
Can I keep my microwave after it had a fire in it?
This depends on the size of the fire and whether or not any components of the microwave were damaged. If you forgot to put water in an easy-mac cup, but turned the microwave off as it started to smoke - you should be fine to continue using the microwave. If you have any suspicion your microwave was damaged during the fire, throw it out and buy a new one.
How do I get rid of the smell after a microwave fire?
There are a lot of different ways to get rid of the unwanted smell in your microwave. We recommend microwaving a bowl with 1 tablespoon of vinegar and half a cup of water for 5 minutes, and then letting it sit and steam for about 15 to 20 minutes afterwards. Then, use a clean rag to clean out any burnt food or stains from the interior of the microwave and leave the door open to dry. White vinegar help to neutralize smells and remove food stains.
Does insurance cover the damages from a microwave that started a house fire?
Yes, your insurance company should cover any accidental fires in your home so long as you did not start it intentionally.
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