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Oct 2, 2011 06:18 AM

Fire in My Microwave - help

I heated some coffee this morning in a plastic coffee cup - the ones with a lid that turns so you can drink it in the car, this had no visible metal on it so I figured it would be ok. About 45 seconds in I saw flames, opened the microwave door and the cup was on fire. I managed to put it out with a cloth, nice stinky kitchen and I now have a sooty microwave. I got some of the soot off with a damp cloth but the inside has soot stuck onto the sides.

Is the microwave useable now, is it dangerous and will the soot come off in time with moisture and wiping, or do I just dump it and replace it? Fortunately it's not a built in microwave just a counter top one so easy enough to replace for about $80 or so.

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  1. Your microwave should be fine to use from a safety standpoint. Have you tried any cleaners like 409 of Lysol? I would put a bowl of water with vinegar in it and microwave for a couple of minutes and let the steam cover the microwave interior for a while, then make another attempt to scrub off the soot marks.

    We usually refrain from microwaving any plastic containers.

    1. Agree with John E. The fire was in the cup, not the micro itself. Sometimes with metal, you might get arcing, which is really disconcerting! But it sounds like you averted disaster with your quick thinking. The stink will ultimately go away, although if you can open a window, that would help. You can also run your exhaust fan. Another thing to try with your oven, is to put a paste of water and Oxyclean on the sooty areas, let it sit, and then wash off. Doing this is a mess, but it is something that might help bleach out the dark. Whether you pitch it or not, consider how much effort you want to put into cleaning it.

      1. I torched microwave popcorn once--it ruined my microwave. I couldn't remove the residue and it smelled like burning food each time I used it. I ended up recycling the microwave and I never replaced it, although I could have easily done so. I don't miss it at all.

        1. I have incinerated,set afire and burnt all manners of foods and containers in my microwave and you would be surprised just how durable they are...As John E said super heated steam will eventually solve your problem. I soak a thick,fluffy dish or bar towel in a solution of water,teaspoon of bleach, and some salt in a bowl and nuke it for 4 minutes. cool and then wipe interior with towel. repeat as necessary.
          You should be fine. good luck.