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Microwaves

Is A Microwave Waterproof? Can It Get Wet? (Explained!)

Antonio Forde
Updated: June 7, 2022
6 min read

Condensation inside and outside your microwave is entirely normal, especially when cooking certain foods. But what if there is too much water? Can your appliance get wet?

Read on to find out if your microwave is waterproof or not. 

Here’s if Microwaves Can Get Wet:

Microwaves are not waterproof. However, they can handle a little condensation. Condensation inside your appliance happens when you cook high-moisture food. The steam expelled from the food touches the cold oven walls, causing it to precipitate. Sometimes, it creates a puddle on the oven floor.

What Happens if a Microwave Gets Wet?

Your microwave is not designed to hold water, so you should avoid getting it wet. Water in an electrical appliance is terrible news as it can pose a hazard when you turn it on without completely drying out.

Microwave ovens generate a specific amount of heat when operating. They work using radiation, where the magnetron produces electromagnetic waves that cook your food.

The microwaves bounce off the metal surface of the oven walls before getting absorbed by the food.

Unlike conventional ovens, microwaves do not heat up the entire oven compartment. The food item only soaked up the waves, causing their water molecules to vibrate.

The friction generates heat, which then cooks your food. The outer portions are first to get microwaved, then the insides get cooked through heat conduction.

While cooking or reheating in the microwave, the water molecules in the food turn into steam then condenses back into droplets of water.

By design, microwaves draw air from the vents, transporting it to the oven compartment to carry away the heat and condensation produced by the cooking food inside.

At the same time, the circulating air keeps the microwave components cool while in use.

While the vents work hard to remove condensation in the compartment, sometimes, water puddles are still left on the oven floor.

This is especially true when you cook food items with high moisture content, like vegetables and fruits, for more extended periods. 

While this is entirely normal, frequent and too much condensation in your microwave can damage the oven interior.

The water leak can cause the paint to lift. Eventually, there may be rust. Neither poses an immediate hazard, but the corrosion will look unsightly. It will also shorten the life of your over in the long run.

Appliances are not intended to weather exposure to water. Water damages metals by accelerating the oxidation process.

Oxidation is a chemical process happening at the metal surface, where an ionic reaction occurs due to oxygen’s presence.

If the water contains impurities like salt, oxidation can occur more quickly.

Water leaking into the electrical conductors of your microwave is dangerous. Once they corrode, they will lose their capacity to transmit electrical currents.

The more oxidized the conductors become, the more they are prone to overheating. When they become hot enough to burn surrounding materials, a fire is imminent.

Molds can also appear on the internal surfaces of your microwave if it is not adequately dried out.

If your appliance smells like mildew, it is sure that there is mold growth somewhere inside.

Molds can grow anywhere inside your microwave. Spotting the physical signs, such as the fuzzy patches of black or green, should be easy enough.

If you leave food particles behind, these will provide sustenance for molds to grow in your microwave. They also need moisture to cultivate. 

Mold spores need a prolonged time for sufficient growth, so mold problems should be easily prevented, even with a filthy microwave.

Microwaves are enclosed spaces, and they are not prone to collecting moisture. They are not also easily damaged by water compared to other household appliances.

However, if you allow water to settle inside the oven compartment, it may be present long enough for molds to grow.

Contrary to what you expect, microwave radiation cannot effectively kill mold spores. 

The extreme heat is not enough to eliminate all the active spore colonies. You need to properly disinfect your appliance to remove all the mold spores altogether.

If you suspect mold growth in your appliance, you should avoid using it for cooking or reheating food. 

Mold exposure can make you ill as it can cause respiratory symptoms. It may also trigger allergic reactions.

The easiest way to overcome oxidation and mold growth is to avoid condensation buildup in your microwave.

Regular cleaning is essential to keep your appliance in tiptop shape.

After use, you should wipe the oven compartment with a damp cloth or sponge to eliminate water puddles and leaks. Just remember to cool down the microwave to avoid burns.

Water leaks after a cooking cycle run very hot. Opening the microwave door for a few minutes before cleaning help. 

After a thorough wiping, you should leave the door open to encourage air drying. This will also help eliminate stubborn food odors stuck inside.

Why Do Microwaves Get Wet Inside?

microwave-waterproof

There are two main reasons your microwave gets wet inside – condensation and lack of maintenance.

Condensation happens when you cook or reheat certain food items. Since microwaves heat up water molecules, they create steam that condenses upon contact with the cold oven walls.

This may cause a water puddle at the bottom of your appliance, which may even drip down the oven door. 

You should not worry. Water leaks like these should not affect the performance of your microwave. 

If a microwave is located on top of the stove, boiling water or cooking high-moisture food on the range may lead to condensation outside.

With such cases, water can collect on the door, the control panels, and even the interior of your appliance.

This is normal, but if you do not regularly wipe down the condensation on the microwave door, it may lead to unpleasant water marks and stains.

Water getting in between the glass layers of the microwave door can also be problematic.

You can solve this issue by keeping the microwave door open for about 15 minutes or until the water dissipates completely. Ventilation can help speed up drying out the moisture.

To avoid condensation outside the microwave when using your stove, you should always cover the pans and pots when preparing meals with a lot of water in them.

You can also use the vent fan in your appliance to help prevent moisture from building up.

Another cause of water leakage in your microwave is lack of maintenance.

Like other appliances, microwaves need to be regularly maintained and cleaned for optimum performance. 

One such setback is blocked vents. 

Your microwave has vent fans that push moisture outside, keeping condensation at the oven compartment minimal and manageable. 

These vents are typically positioned at the sides of the appliance. If they are blocked by dirt, it will prevent the microwave from expelling moisture.

Blocked vents also mean that your microwave is in danger of overheating. The interior will get progressively warmer since it cannot draw enough cool air through the vents.

The extreme heat will cause one or two of the appliance’s components to fail in the long run.

If the blockage results in magnetron failure, the microwave will stop working. You will need to have it repaired.

You should regularly check if the vents of your microwave need cleaning. If they are dirty, a stiff brush will be effective enough to eliminate all the gunk.

Remember to avoid cleaning the vents when the microwave is running, or all the dirt will get drawn inside.

Sources:

Hunker

Home Steady

Microwave Expert

Written by
Antonio Forde
I'm the head-writer @ Ask The Home Geek (or, in plain English, I'm the guy writing & editing the majority of the content here). Current learning project: Korean.
Have any questions? Write us a message.
Antonio Forde
I'm the head-writer @ Ask The Home Geek (or, in plain English, I'm the guy writing & editing the majority of the content here). Current learning project: Korean.