Should I Unplug My Microwave When Not in Use? (Answered)

Categorized as Microwave Repair and Troubleshooting
Should I Unplug My Microwave When Not in Use

How many appliances in your home are plugged in right now, even though they’re not being used? If you’re like most people, the answer is “quite a few.” Many of us have come to accept this as simply the way things are. After all, it’s not like leaving your microwave plugged in is going to hurt anything…right?

Three Reasons Why You Should Unplug Your Microwave When Not in Use

As it turns out, there are quite a few good reasons to unplug appliances when you’re not using them.

1. Protection from Power Surges

For one thing, it can protect your appliance from unexpected power surges.

Power surges are brief but intense spikes in electricity that can occur for any number of reasons. They can damage the sensitive electronic components in your appliances and cause them to stop working. In some cases, they can even cause fires.

Although in most cases the chance of your microwave catching fire is low, it’s still better to be safe than sorry especially if your microwave has a history of experiencing micro-surges.

2. Save Money on Your Utility Bills

The second reason to unplug your microwave when not in use is that it can save you money on your power bill. Every appliance, no matter how small, use a small amount of electricity when it’s plugged in.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, on average, 10% of the total household electric bill is due to devices and appliances being plugged in, but not turned on. This is what’s known as a “phantom load.”

So don’t underestimate the power of unplugging! By unplugging your microwave when not in use, you can save a surprising amount on your utility bills.

3. Extend the Life of Your Appliance

Finally, unplugging your microwave when not in use can extend its lifespan. Like all appliances, microwaves are subject to wear and tear from everyday use. This can shorten their lifespan and make them more prone to breaking down. Unplugging it when you’re not using it can help extend its lifespan and keep it working properly for longer.

What about surge protectors?

You might be thinking that you don’t need to worry about unplugging your appliances because you have surge protectors. And while surge protectors can certainly help protect your electronics from damage, they’re not foolproof.

Surge protectors can wear out over time, and they don’t do anything to protect your appliances from fires caused by overheating. Even if you have surge protectors, it’s still a good idea to unplug your appliances when they’re not in use.

Is it Bad to Unplug a Microwave?

As we have seen, unplugging your microwave when not in use is actually a good thing. It can bring a number of benefits, from protecting your appliance from power surges to saving money on your utility bills.

However, there is one downside to unplugging your microwave – you may have to reset some settings each time you plug it back in. This can be a minor inconvenience, but it’s well worth the effort for the peace of mind that comes with knowing your microwave is protected.

Some Maintenance Tips for Your Microwave

Unplugging your microwave when not in use is an important part of keeping it running smoothly. Here are some other tips to help keep your microwave in good condition:

1. Clean Your Microwave Regularly

You should clean your microwave at least once a week. Food splatters and grease can build up over time, making it harder to clean later on. Wipe down the inside and outside of your microwave with a damp cloth and mild dish soap. Pay special attention to the door sealing surfaces, as these can get dirty really easily.

2. Check for Of Damage or Wear and Tear Periodically 

Inspect your microwave regularly for any signs of damage or wear and tear. If you see any cracks or breaks in the casing, no matter how small, it’s best to have it repaired as soon as possible.

The last thing you want is for your food to come into contact with electrical wiring! If the door isn’t sealing properly, this is also an issue you’ll want to take care of right away as it can cause your food to overcook or even start a fire.

3. Purchase Surge Protectors 

Surge protectors are devices that can help protect your appliances from damaging power surges. Power surges can occur for a variety of reasons, such as lightning strikes or power outages.

And while most surge protectors will only provide protection for a limited amount of time, they can help prevent costly repairs or replacements down the road. So, if you want to give your microwave an extra layer of protection, consider investing in a surge protector.

4. Remember What Can and Can’t Be Used in a Microwave

One of the most common causes of damage to microwaves is misused. People often put things in the microwave that shouldn’t be microwaved, such as metal foil or containers with metal handles.

These items can cause sparks that can damage the interior of the microwave. So, before you put something in the microwave, make sure it’s safe to do so. 

5. Treat The Microwave Door Gently

The door of your microwave is probably the most used and abused part of the appliance. So it’s important to be gentle with it. Slamming the door shut can cause damage to the hinges and seal, which could lead to other problems down the road.

6. Use The Pre-Set Programs

Most microwaves come with pre-set programs for common tasks like cooking rice or defrosting meat. These programs are there for a reason—to make things easier for you and to prevent accidental damage to your food or appliance. Don’t forget to take advantage of these programs the next time you need to use your microwave.

7. Read The Instruction Manual

Finally, it’s always important to read the instruction manual that comes with your appliance. It will tell you a lot about how to use and maintain your microwave properly, so make sure you keep it handy and reference it whenever you’re not sure about something.


Should you unplug your microwave when not in use? The answer is yes. It’s recommended that you unplug any appliance when it’s not in use especially when you’ll be away from home for an extended period of time.

Doing so can protect your appliances from unexpected power surges, save you money on your power bill, and extend the life of your microwave.

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!