Everybody places things on top of their microwaves without giving a thought about whether they should be there or not – but can you put things on top of a microwave or is it a safety hazard?
In most cases, it is perfectly fine to place things on top of a microwave. The only things that should be avoided are things that are intolerant to heat, certain electrical appliances, heavy objects as well as items that can block the vents on top of the microwave itself or liquids that might spill.
In the rest of this article, we’ll dive into the things that you should (and shouldn’t) place on top of a microwave, and the potential problems that they can cause.
What You Shouldn’t Place On Top Of Microwaves
Although most things are fine to be placed on top of a microwave, there are a few things you need to consider before putting anything on top of it.
Toasters should never be placed on top of microwaves.
This is due to the amount of heat that they generate, which is much higher than a lot of other electrical appliances. There is also very little shielding underneath toasters, which means most of the heat energy will be directly on top of the microwave.
While the top of microwaves is designed to handle some heat, excess heat like that from a toaster can damage the surface and lead to discoloration.
Coffee machines are not too bad in terms of heat energy, but they present another risk to your microwave in the form of water.
Pretty much every coffee machine uses hot water to extract coffee from coffee grounds or a pod, and it is only inevitable for water to end up on other surfaces nearby during operation. If this water spills on top of the microwave it can potentially damage the electronics inside, which can render a microwave unusable.
Whilst we’re on the coffee machines, you should never put any other liquids directly on top of microwaves.
Even if you are certain that they won’t spill, it will only be a matter of time before some gets on the surface of the microwave where it can enter via the vents and cause damage to electrical components.
Excess moisture can also cause rusting both inside and outside a microwave which is not ideal.
Heat Sensitive Objects
Microwaves can get warm to the touch if they are used for a fair amount of time – usually around 4 or 5 minutes or more.
While this isn’t an issue for most things, you want to avoid placing things on top that are sensitive to even a moderate amount of heat. For example, if you are preparing a meal and place a few things out of the refrigerator on top of the microwave you may run into problems with some heat-sensitive food.
This isn’t a very common thing to happen, but it can definitely come in handy in certain situations.
Items That Block The Vents
Microwaves require ventilation to work, and while this can differ between models and designs, it is never a good idea to block the vents.
The vents on a microwave allow for the temperature to be regulated properly during operation. If they are blocked, your microwave can be at risk of overheating both in the main cooking area as well as in the area of the electrical components.
In extreme cases this could be a fire hazard, so keep the vents free from obstruction when you place items on top of your microwave.
This is one of the more obvious things that you should avoid putting on top of your microwave, and for good reason.
Microwaves are not designed to support a lot of weight on top, and if you place a heavy item directly onto one it can lead to structural damage.
What About Other Stuff?
As long as you follow the guidelines above then most other items should cause much of an issue if you place them on top of your microwave,
At our house, for example, we have a few small plants and a bread bin over our microwave and we’ve never had issues with it. During most operations, the top never gets hot enough to warm up the bread bin, although I don’t know whether this would actually cause a problem with the bread anyway…
An Easy Alternative
If you’re worried about what you should and shouldn’t have on top of your microwave, try placing things on it that can easily be removed.
This way, whenever you need to use your microwave you can simply remove the items on top of it for a few minutes and put them back once the surface cools back down. It’s also quite unlikely that the top will become much warmer anyway, so you won’t have to wait long to put items back into place.
While most things are safe to be placed on top of microwaves there are still some considerations that you need to make before putting anything on top of one.
Use the list above to figure out whether an item is suitable for the top of a microwave or not, or simply choose something that can be removed easily when you need to use your microwave.