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Can You Put Things on Top of the Microwave? (Yes, But…)

Can You Put Things on Top of the Microwave? (Yes, But…)

Kitchen space is often limited, and small apartments will want to use every bit of it. For this reason, it’s perfectly fine to ask yourself if you can put things on top of the microwave. But how safe are microwave tops?

Depending on the model of your microwave, it may have vents on the top. It would be best not to block any vent; otherwise, it will start to overheat. And because not all microwaves come with this component, you should read through the features to ensure you’re getting all the facts.

Can You Put Stuff on Top of Your Microwave?

Yes, you can put things on top of the microwave when it’s not operating. However, you need to be mindful of heavy objects and avoid blocking vents to prevent overheating. Oh, and don’t forget to remove the things before switching the microwave on.

While microwave tops are generally safe for storage, some items could damage your microwave or cause more issues. For example, the opening and closing of doors could make those things wobble on the unit’s surface, causing them to fall and break.

Even worse, someone could step on those broken pieces and hurt themselves. Always pay attention to manufacturers’ concerns when putting items on top of the microwave to prevent such occurrences in the future.

Also, make sure that there’s enough ventilation to enhance the lifespan of your microwave. Blocking the vents could lead to more severe accidents like fire. In that case, it’s not a good idea to put items on top of your microwave for safety reasons.  

Does the Top of a Microwave Get Hot?

Yes, like an appliance that generates heat, the top and the sides of a microwave will get hot when in use. That’s why it’s recommended not to keep things on top when cooking as this may result in melting, and damaging the items or the microwave itself.

Upon turning on your microwave, electricity is transmitted through a cavity magnetron, later converted into radiation. The radiation then moves through a waveguide that directs it to the cooking chamber. As a result, the waves start to bounce inside the shielded box, promoting an even heating pattern.

And since the microwave is not in motion, unexpected hot spots may occur on the inside and outer case. Furthermore, the electromagnetic waves heat the microwave the same way it does to the food but take longer. Even so, it’s still a bad idea to put anything on the microwave top until it has cooled down completely.

Again, make sure to remove anything you placed on top of the microwave before hitting the switch button. That said, following the manufacturer’s advice will go a long way to ensure your family’s safety when using this appliance.

Can You Put a Kettle on Top of the Microwave?

Yes, kettles are generally safe on top of the microwave. However, there are a few concerns you need to address to ensure that you’re reducing the risks. First, make sure there’s a barrier between the kettle and the microwave. And second, ensure that the weight of your kettle isn’t damaging the casing of your microwave.

To consider how risky it can be to have a kettle on top of a microwave, you need to consider the three significant factors that kettles pose to the environment. Such include heat, water, and weight.

Kettles are specifically designed to heat water all over their body to a uniform temperature, and they do that effectively and quickly. The water inside the kettle can get up to 100℃ (boiling point), but the metallic part can get hotter than that. 

This is because the water inside the appliance is highly volatile, and the heating component is designed to exceed the boiling point of water (100℃). Therefore, the heat of your kettle is a risk factor to consider when placing it on top of your microwave. 

Another risk factor worth considering when putting a kettle on anything is the water that it will be filled with. Water can cause a lot of damage not only to the microwave but to the kettle as well. Even worse, it can cause severe accidents when the hot water spills on someone.

It’s also worth noting that water being on or near an appliance poses two significant drawbacks—short and mold circuits. A short circuit occurs when water gets into contact with the circuit of a given appliance, which later activates the trip switch in your home. Unfortunately, this may lead to power failure in your entire house.

The final factor to consider is the weight of your kettle, especially when it’s filled with water. Liquids are generally heavy—a cubic meter of water is equivalent to a ton. This weight can cause the appliance to bend or even damage your microwave.

If you have a small microwave, considering this factor may go a long way to enhance the lifespan of your appliance. That said, microwaves are safe to use due to the protective outer casing that shields you and anyone close by from microwave radiation.

Can You Put a Radio on Top of a Microwave?

There is no reliable information that proves whether or not you can put a radio on top of a microwave. However, a good rule of thumb is to check where the sound is coming from. Ensure that the microwave is turned on to get your facts right.

Also, make sure that you’re using the microwave correctly and avoid turning it on with nothing in it. Repair all the damaged doors and clean the dirty door seals to prevent your microwave energy from leaking.

Another factor to consider is the distance between the radio and the microwave. Usually, the radio is affected when it’s less than 20 to 30 centimeters from the door seals. But when this happens even at a greater distance, then it’s a risk concern. So, if you hear that nasty buzzing sound, the first thing you should check is whether the radio is close to your microwave oven.  

If your radio also turns itself on when you’re using a mobile phone close to it (less than 15cm), then you should be worried. This is a rare issue but can happen scientifically—most devices malfunction with a phone close by. Such problems are common with digital alarm clocks—they will constantly shift when a cell phone is operated nearby. 

Sensitivity to interference is the other risk concern you should consider. Nearly all radios are sensitive when an electric cable is passed through the mains. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise to hear those buzzing sounds when placed on or near the microwave.

This problem is common to electric-powered radios, which has left many to wonder whether the symptoms would be the same if the radio is run on batteries. All the same, you should consider these factors when using a radio near the microwave for safety reasons.


What Stuff You Can Put on the Microwave?

You can put any lightweight items on top of your microwave, but they need to tolerate some amount of heat from the microwave. Besides, you can keep other valuable cooking items on your microwave such as plates or glasses.

You can also place lightweight items like a loaf of bread, plastic storage equipment, small plants, coffee mugs,  CDs, or even light magazines on top of the microwave.

However, if you have a microwave that heats up pretty fast, you might not want to put anything on top of it as it could be affected. And one final thing—you need to place your items on an elevated shelf for proper air circulation.

What Items are Safe to Put in the Microwave?

Ceramic and glass are safe to put in the microwave because they are neutral and won’t leach into your foods. Unlike plastics, they can withstand extreme temperatures without causing a fire or spark.

However, it all comes down to the type of plastic you’re using—some plastics are microwave-safe and BPA-free. So, when you’re buying plastic containers, make sure you’re considering such factors.

If you’re an environmental purist, then you’ll want to stick to ceramic and glass containers. Alternatively, you can opt for oven cooking bags, wax and parchment paper, vented plastic bags, and baskets made of wood and straw. All these are microwavable, thus safe to use in the microwave. Not all paper products are approved for the microwave, so take note of that.

What Stuff You Can’t Put on the Microwave?

  • Heavy Items—Since microwaves cannot withstand much weight, putting heavy items on top of it can potentially damage the casing. It can bend or even break.
  • Liquid Items—Refrain from putting anything liquid in nature on top of the microwave as there’s a chance of spilling when you open the door. Even worse, it may damage the microwave if the liquid gets into contact with the electrical circuit.
  • Plants— Because plants need oxygen to grow, it may be a bad idea to put them on or close to the microwave. While plants cause no harm to the microwave when placed on top, the heat is harmful to the plant’s health.
  • Toaster or other Appliances—Like the microwave, other kitchen appliances like toasters emit heat. For this reason, they shouldn’t be placed on top of the microwave.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Does The Top Of A Microwave Get Hot?

Yes, the top and the sides of a microwave get hot when operating. The heat is perfectly normal and usually comes from the transformer. Therefore, cooking foods in the microwave for a long time can cause heat transfer to the inside walls and the outer casing.

2. Can A Microwave Cause A Fire?

Yes, microwaves can cause sparks and even fire when an interaction between the appliance and the metal occurs. When this happens, please turn off the appliance. Fortunately, you can prevent this by not leaving your unattended microwave while in use. Also, make sure that there are no heat buildups as this could also cause the flames in the microwave.

3. What Happens If Microwave Overheats?

Your microwave will automatically shut down if an optimum temperature is reached. However, components such as the timer will operate as usual, which would not be the case if the microwave shuts down due to power failure.

4. Can I Put My Air Fryer On Top Of My Microwave?

Yes, you can put an air fryer on top of your microwave quite often. These are two different appliances, and as such, they will cook in different ways. This also means that the results will vary slightly. The microwave will come in handy if you want to cook or reheat your food with no added texture. However, if you love your food crispy or crunchy, go for the air fryer.

5. What Happens If You Put Your Phone On Top Of A Microwave?

When you put your phone on top of a microwave, the metallic grille will prevent the waves cooking your food from escaping. And when you place your phone inside it (with the oven switched off), it will disable Wi-Fi connections in your phone.

Bottom Line

While putting things on top of a microwave isn’t a major concern, some practices may go a long way to ensure your microwave safety. For example, setting some lighter-weight items on a small microwave or a bowl of fruits on a large appliance. So long as it’s not damaging the outer case, setting these things out of the way can be an excellent way to use every bit of space.

Meanwhile, you should avoid setting paper and fabric on microwave tops. Anything that might block the vent or get sucked into the sub-par option shouldn’t be put on top of microwaves. Also, before turning your appliance on, ensure that nothing drapes down and avoid using damp items to prevent accidents.

Microwave tops are sturdy, with a flat surface that can withstand some things sitting on them. But if you’re skeptical about your family’s safety, don’t do it. That said, you should remove items placed on top of it before hitting the start button, and you’ll be good to go.