At one point or another, we’ve all put something in the microwave that we shouldn’t have, and it likely didn’t have a dire consequence. Maybe that pizza came out spongy or you melted an old repurposed cottage cheese container. But other things, should they be left to cook for long enough, can have monumental effects on your appliance, and even your health. One of those things — believe it or not — is nothing.
Let’s say, for example, you’re running about the house in a frenzy with much to do, so you think you’ve placed a bag of popcorn in the microwave, but truth be told, it’s out on the counter behind you. Unaware, you set a timer and press “start.” The empty microwave powers up, nuking absolutely nothing.
Here’s the issue: The waves released by your microwave need somewhere to go. Without any food in there to absorb them, they bounce off each other and the appliance consumes them instead, which could cause the whole thing to combust. There is a chance your microwave will become damaged or literally blow up.
While it may seem unlikely that you would ever be in this scenario, it’s better safe than sorry to know the potential hazards of powering an empty microwave. Plus, there are plenty of other, tangible items that should never see the inside of your appliance.