Microwaves are one of the safest appliances in the home, but they can still cause fires through misuse or accidents.
In one unusual case in Chicago, food that was wrapped in foil and then microwaved caused a fire that wiped out six homes. But this is exceptionally rare.
At least 90 percent of homes have microwaves, according to the New York Times. Microwaves are the cause of only 4 percent of home cooking fires and 1 percent of associated deaths. They are very safe when compared to ranges and cooktops, which account for 62 percent of cooking fires and 89 percent of deaths.
Overheated food is usually the cause of microwave fires. It is usually because someone entered the wrong cook time and left the appliance unsupervised. Luckily, microwaves are designed to contain small fires, so if you manage to start one, unplug the microwave and keep the door closed.
To microwave safely:
* Watch for metal. Utensils, bowls, cups, twist ties and foil can spark and cause fires.
* Don’t wave recycled paper products. Some contain flecks of metal. Check any packaging to ensure it’s approved for microwave use.
* Keep the inside clean. Food residue and grease can ignite and cause a fire.
* In case of flames in a microwave, unplug it immediately.
* Donít microwave grapes, peas, blueberries or any round food with a high water content. They can easily cause sparks.