How to Reset Your Microwave to Get It Working Again

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We’ve all been there – you’re heating up a meal or boiling water for tea, when suddenly your microwave stops working properly. The buttons don’t respond, the turntable stops spinning, or the display goes blank. It’s frustrating when your microwave breaks down, but don’t worry – in most cases, you can get your microwave back up and running with a simple reset.

Resetting your microwave is usually straightforward and only takes a few minutes. In this guide, I’ll walk you through the steps to reset your microwave, explain what kinds of issues resets can fix, and give you tips to avoid problems in the first place. Let’s get started!

Why Your Microwave May Need a Reset

Before we dive into the reset process, let’s look at some of the common problems that resets can solve:

  • The display or buttons aren’t responding – This is one of the most frequent issues that requires a reset. If your buttons don’t work or the display is frozen, a reset should get things working again.
  • Your microwave won’t start – If your microwave suddenly refuses to start, a reset should do the trick.
  • Your microwave is not heating properly – If your food is coming out cold, a simple reset will often solve the problem. Resetting can re-calibrate the microwave’s heating mechanisms.
  • Unusual noises or behavior – Strange sounds, sparks, or the turntable stopping can all potentially be fixed with a reset.
  • Power surges or electrical storms – Power spikes can sometimes knock microwaves off kilter. Resetting brings them back to normal.

Resets are able to solve these common problems because they clear any glitches in your microwave’s software and electronics. Think of it as hitting the restart button on your computer when things go wrong. Now let’s look at how to actually perform a reset on your microwave.

Step 1: Perform a Soft Reset

The first reset method to try is a soft reset. This quickly restarts your microwave’s systems without fully cutting power:

  1. Find the reset or cancel button – Most microwaves have a button labeled “Reset” or “Cancel” on the control panel. It may also be labeled “Stop/Clear” or “Off.”
  2. Press and hold the button – Press and hold this button for 3-5 seconds, until you hear a beep. This will restart your microwave.
  3. Test it out – Try using your microwave normally, heating food or water. If the problem persists, move on to attempting a hard reset.

Soft resets are the easiest first step because they don’t require unplugging the microwave. However, some problems may need the more thorough hard reset method.

Step 2: Attempt a Hard Reset

If a soft reset didn’t solve your problem, the next step is a hard reset:

  1. Unplug the microwave – Disconnect the power cord from the outlet fully.
  2. Leave unplugged for 30 seconds – Wait at least 30 seconds before plugging it back in. This gives time for systems to reset.
  3. Plug back in and test – Reconnect the power cord and try using your microwave normally. The hard reset often fixes issues soft resets can’t.
  4. Reset the clock – Your microwave’s clock will reset to 00:00 when power is disconnected. Reset the correct time.

Hard resets give the microwave electronics a more complete restart by temporarily cutting all power. Try this method if soft resets aren’t working.

Troubleshooting Tips

Here are some additional troubleshooting tips if your microwave continues having problems after resets:

  • Check for sparks or burned food remains – Problems like sparking are signs of more serious internal electrical or mechanical issues. You may need professional service.
  • Inspect the plug and outlet – Make sure the power cord isn’t damaged and is firmly plugged into a working outlet. Faulty power supplies can cause problems.
  • Test with simple cook times – Try setting 30 second or 1 minute cook times to isolate whether specific functions are malfunctioning.
  • Contact the manufacturer – If resets and troubleshooting don’t solve your problem, contact the manufacturer for further advice. Some may have customer support hotlines.
  • Consider a repair service – For complex problems, you may need to hire an appliance repair technician to properly diagnose and fix the issue.

While most problems can be fixed by resets, other underlying issues may need professional service.

Preventing Microwave Issues

Resets may get your microwave working again, but frequent issues likely mean there is an underlying problem that needs fixing. You can help prevent problems in the first place with proper care and maintenance:

  • Keep it clean – Regularly wipe down the interior and exterior to prevent grease buildup and stuck-on food. This prevents sparks and other electrical issues.
  • Replace old parts – Worn parts like old turntables can lead to problems. Replace accessories every 3-5 years.
  • Use surge protectors – Plugging your microwave into a surge protector prevents power spikes from disrupting the electronics.
  • Use proper cookware – Only use microwave-safe containers. Metal and aluminum foil can damage your microwave.
  • Don’t overcook food – Severely overcooked food can create smoke and residue that impacts your microwave’s performance.
  • Ventilate properly – Make sure vents aren’t blocked. Good ventilation prevents internal overheating.
  • Follow the manual – Don’t override or improperly use functions. Stick to the manufacturer’s instructions.


With proper care and maintenance, your microwave should provide many years of reliable service without needing frequent resets. However, even well-cared for appliances can sometimes encounter issues. When problems pop up with your microwave, resets should be your first troubleshooting step before calling for repairs.

The soft reset and hard reset methods outlined in this guide can easily get your microwave back up and running in many situations. Try pressing and holding the “Reset” or “Cancel” button for a soft reset, which quickly restarts the microwave’s systems.

If that doesn’t work, attempt a hard reset by unplugging the unit, waiting 30 seconds, and plugging it back in to fully reboot the electronics. Walk through these reset processes systematically until your specific issue is resolved.

Resets can fix many common microwave problems like unresponsive displays, refusal to start, improper heating, and strange noises. Before assuming your unit needs professional service, always try the simple reset solutions first.

There’s a good chance one cycle of soft reset and hard reset steps will have your microwave nuking leftovers again in no time. But for severe or persistent problems, you may need to call in an appliance technician to properly diagnose and repair underlying faults resets cannot fix.

Overall, remember to care for your microwave properly to minimize issues, but don’t panic if problems do occur. Start with simple resets before calling for costly repairs. In most cases, a quick reset is all you need to get your handy microwave back up and running.

By Rosie Elliott

I’m Rosie. I’m a professional chef with experience in Western, Mediterranean, and Italian cuisine. I’ve been cooking for over 15 years, and I have two daughters that keep me busy!

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