Is It Safe To Use A Microwave That Has Peeling Paint Inside?

Painting is a fun way and easy way to elevate the look of some home applicances. However, when it comes to painting the inside of a microwave, there are many risks involved. Here's how you can mitigate those risks!

Is It Safe To Use A Microwave That Has Peeling Paint Inside

Just like most household appliances, using a microwave oven for several years often leads to wear and tear inside the cavity walls. Due to consistent usage, the inner walls start to rust, resulting in the interior paint peeling off.

The existence of peeling paint in your microwave is both a health and safety hazard. Therefore, it is not safe to use a microwave that has peeling paint. The paint presents a risk for fires and can contaminate the food that you cook inside the appliance. In case such a situation occurs to your microwave, it’s best to prevent and repair peeling paint immediately.

Let’s dig into this phenomenon and understand the use of paint in a microwave and why it peels off over time. Additionally, we will understand how to repair a microwave oven that has peeling paint inside and prevent the issue from reoccurring.

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Why Are Microwave Cavity Walls Painted?

Painting is a common practice to protect surfaces from rusting. Also, a painted surface increases the lifespan of an appliance, which in this case, is a microwave oven. Thus, a microwave with painted walls has lower maintenance.

Another reason to paint the inner walls of a microwave is to prevent Arcing. This phenomenon is the emission of sparks upon the connection between two exposed metallic surfaces. The electromagnetic waves in the oven generate these flashes or sparks when we heat the appliance’s food.

Consistent arcing leads to damage to the oven. A painted wall shields the oven’s metallic surface from coming in contact with each other, thus preventing the occurrence of arcing.

Why Does Interior Paint Peel Off In A Microwave?

As you use a microwave oven regularly for heating food, tiny food particles splatter over the interior walls. If these food bits are not cleaned off immediately, they bake onto the surface and harden. These areas are referred to as “hot spots.”

These hot spots in your microwave oven will become much warmer than other areas of the unit during the cooking process. Over time, this will lead to the deterioration of the paint in that particular area of the microwave oven. If you continue using the oven without cleaning the splattered food from the walls, the microwave energy continues energizing these food molecules stuck over the painted walls.

That causes their molecules to vibrate rapidly, resulting in immense heat. Eventually, the paint molecules break over time – leading to chipping and peeling. The process is gradual and can take several years to occur – depending upon how you use and maintain your oven.

Alternatively, sharp utensils can scratch paint on the interior walls and lead to peeling problems.

Is It Safe To Use A Microwave That Has Peeling Paint?

The short answer is that no, it is not safe to use a microwave that has peeling paint on the interior walls. In fact, you should stop using your microwave oven until the issue is corrected. The most obvious reason that it is unsafe is that peeling paint poses a risk of flaking off and dropping into your food. If the peeling paint enters your food and you consume it, this is a significant health concern.

Aside from health-related issues, the hot spots that cause peeling in a microwave can create other problems. When paint is hanging inside the microwave, it creates a potential fire hazard. When the microwave is turned on, these areas of peeling could spark and cause a fire.

To prevent sparking in your microwave and possible health hazards, only use your microwave if the interior is smooth and clean. Alternatively, if you changed your mind and don’t want to keep that old microwave, read our guide about the proper way to dispose of it

How To Prevent A Microwave From Peeling Paint Or Rusting

The best way to counter a problem is by preventing it from ever happening in the first place. The same can be said for a microwave that has a paint-peeling or rusting in the cavity.

To prevent hazardous effects, you can do the following:

  • Clean The Oven Regularly: The microwave cavity must be cleaned regularly using a cloth to remove the splattered food particles. Use a damp cloth first, so that the stubborn food stains can be wiped off effectively. Then, use a dry cloth to wipe the surface again, so it stays dry. For best results, wipe down the inside of your microwave after each use.

You can also spray baking soda solution over the insides to remove those greasy stains and then wipe the surface with a dry cloth for extra cleanliness.

  • Re-apply Paint: Notice how the cavity walls age over time. If you witness peeling paint, then you might have to re-apply paint over the affected areas. You can choose a microwave-friendly acrylic spray paint, which is used explicitly for this purpose.

Before you paint, you must prepare the surface by removing any existing paint that is peeling off. First, clean the surface with a wet sponge and if anything remains, consider using medium-grit sandpaper. Then, follow up with a fine grit or steel wool to smooth it out.

Wiping the area clean again before applying the paint will help prevent rust from reoccurring. Shake the can properly and spray over the areas that need painting inside the oven. Let it dry for at least 6 hours before starting to use the appliance again.

  • Use A Rust-Free Microwave: Why bother using a microwave oven that needs maintenance, when you can choose a model that does not rust in the first place? Choose a model that has a stainless steel interior to avoid rusting.

How To Fix A Rusting Microwave

If you witness active peeling or flaking of the paint inside the microwave oven cavity, stop using the appliance immediately. Follow the procedure to clean the rust and peeling paint, as given in this post.

Let’s get started.

Step One: Get The Necessary Tools

  • A flathead screwdriver
  • Wire tool
  • Paintbrush (small)
  • Paint (Microwave-friendly)
  • Dry Cloth

Step Two: Prepare The Oven For Cleaning

Unplug the microwave oven before proceeding. Prepare the paint that you are going to coat inside the oven walls. There are two types of paints that can be used to paint the interior of an oven: spray-on and brush-on. Though it ultimately comes down to preference, spray paint saves a lot of time and effort.

Make sure that you choose a microwave safe paint, as some paints contain toxins that could be released into your food or may react negatively to microwaves. These can be found at most hardware or appliance stores.

Remove the glass tray present on the base of the oven cavity. Also, remove the rolling ring.

Step Three: Scrape Off The Rust

Use the wire wool to rub the base of the cavity for removing the rust. Collect and remove the debris from the oven using a dry cloth. Repeat the same process for the walls and the ceiling to take care of the rusting areas. Some stubborn areas might require the use of the flathead screwdriver, or steel wool to chip off the peeling paint.

Follow up by sanding the surface smooth and then wipe all the walls with the dry cloth.

Step Three: Paint The Oven Walls

Before painting, you should test the paint in a small area of the oven. Once dry, you can run the oven on high for a minute with a cup of water inside. Then, feel the painted area to verify that it is no warmer than the rest of the oven. If not, you can proceed with painting.

Dip the paintbrush in the paint and apply a thin coating over the oven’s walls and base. Let it dry for at least 6 hours. After that, repeat the painting process for additional 1 or 2 coatings, if needed.

If you decided to go the spray route, simply spray the microwave until it covers the areas completely. Try to keep your coats as even as possible and avoid spraying too much in certain areas. To avoid any runs in the paint, you can apply more than one coat. However, make sure the surface is completely dry, sanded, and wiped clean first.

Step Four: Replace Everything

Once the paint coatings are dried off properly, ideally overnight with the door open, replace the roller ring and the cavity’s glass tray. Connect the oven to the power outlet, and use it as required.

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Related Questions

Why Is My Microwave Rusting Inside?

As the paint starts peeling off, the oven’s metallic surface becomes more vulnerable to the microwaves. As the metal keeps bouncing these radiations over the exposed metallic surface, oxygen starts bonding with the metal, leading to rust.

The rust forms gradually, weakening the metal and breaking it down. If you keep using a rusting microwave oven, you are risking a fatal accident.

What Happens If A Microwave Begins To Rust?

A rusted microwave oven can be dangerous because it starts emitting microwave radiation freely. While rusting on the outer surface of an oven is not bothersome, rust on the appliance’s inner walls can be hazardous.

Modern research states that a microwave oven with leaking radiation may not cause cancer. But, prolonged exposure to radiation can lead to the burning of exposed body tissue, headaches, memory loss, fatigue, eye damage, and more.

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