Should You Leave Microwave Door Open After Use

Interesting question…Should You Leave Microwave Door Open After Use? Well, it depends on why you would want to leave the door open and for how long. So let’s dig a bit deeper as to why people leave their microwave doors open and find out if it’s actually effective!

Why Leave A Microwave Door Open After Use

There seem to be two main reasons homeowners intentionally leave their microwave doors open after they use them. One is to dry the inside of the appliance and the other is to allow the oven compartment to cool down. Are they right in doing this and if so why doesn’t the manufacturer tell us all to do it in their user manuals? So let’s clear up this confusion and establish if you need to leave your microwave door open after use.

Dry A Wet Microwave

The idea of keeping a microwave door open after use is simply to allow moisture to dissipate. It is common to find the interior of your microwave oven to be wet after use. So it seems reasonable that leaving the door open will allow this moisture to dry.

A microwave is designed to heat up food, we all get that. We also know that when you heat some foods they let off steam, right? So isn’t your microwave designed to cope with this? Well, yes it is.

Microwaves have a fan and a venting system that draws out excessive hot air and moisture whilst the microwave is active and cooking. However, over time the vents collect materials such as dust and grease that reduce their effectiveness. So when we heat food with high water content and a less than optimal venting system we can find the air transfer to remove the moisture is inadequate.

Allow Microwave to Cool Down

There is a misconception that leaving the microwave door open is required to allow the oven to cool down after use. Unlike a conventional oven, microwave ovens do not heat the oven compartment. Instead, they create microwaves that rebound around the oven compartment causing the food to heat. So leaving the door open to cool down the microwave is not required at all.

How Does a Microwave Get Wet Inside

No doubt you will have noticed the moisture build-up within your microwave oven after cooking. This is simply a result of steam settling on the microwave interior surfaces. The amount of moisture build-up that collects will depend on a number of factors such as; the water content of the food cooking, the interior temperature of the microwave oven walls, and to some degree the exterior ambient temperature.

Condensation In Microwave, Is It Dangerous?

It is normal to experience condensation within your microwave after cooking. However, if your microwave oven is exposed to prolonged periods of standing moisture, it will be susceptible to corrosion.


As the microwave ages, you may notice rusting or the paint coating flaking. This corrosion is usually a result of condensation damage. The effects will be significantly worse if the moisture contains impurities such as salt or other corrosive elements.


Think about the moisture that evaporates from your food, it contains tiny food particles. This is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and other undesirable organisms. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that both E. coli and Salmonella can survive within microwave ovens.

Mold can develop over time, but this is less likely if your microwave is in active use and cleaned regularly. However, mold spores can present several respiratory problems, so it’s a good idea to regularly clean your microwave with a disinfectant. This will also help prevent your microwave from smelling.

Electrical Risk

In exceptional circumstances, excessive moisture can lead to corrosion that damages seals. This can open the possibility for water ingress into electrical circuits. It would take a very old microwave that has been exposed to regular standing water to lead to this level of interior damage. However, it is a possible risk, so best to keep your microwave well-maintained.

What if Your Microwave Is Wet Inside?

In the event that you find water building up within your microwave, you have two options, leave the door open for a short period or wipe down your microwave with a towel.

leave microwave door open to dry

1.   Leave the Microwave Door Open After Use

On occasions when you find significant condensation build-up you can leave your microwave door open for 15 minutes to allow the steam to dissipate. Oftentimes, it will be enough to leave the door open for the time you take to remove the heated food and process or serve it.

Remember to get back to it, as most microwaves have a built-in light that stays on for the duration that the microwave door is open. Leaving the door open will waste electricity and run down the light bulb. Anyone who has tried to change a microwave light bulb will know that it’s a tricky task, so don’t encourage the thing to break!

dry microwave with a cloth

2.   Dry The Moisture From Inside Your Microwave

It’s preferable to simply wipe down the interior of your microwave oven with a damp sponge that has been soaked in detergent. This will remove any food residue, and pick up any condensation at the same time. Then simply dry the inside of the microwave with a cloth or paper towel, and close the door.

Downsides of Leaving Microwave Door Open After Use

My recommendation is dry condensation in your microwave oven using a clean cloth, as well as give the microwave a regular clean to prevent bacterial problems. But here are a few other downsides to leaving your microwave door open after using it.

  1. Wasting Electricity most microwaves are designed to run the interior light bulb whilst the microwave door is open. Leaving the door open for extended periods of time will draw more electricity and this is obviously wasteful
  2. Run Down the Light Bulb with continual use. Replacing the interior bulb on your microwave is a fiddly job that required a panel to be removed to access the bulb. Furthermore, it is a common problem that bulbs are replaced incorrectly leading to control board failure. This in turn means the new bulb stays on permanently and won’t switch off.
  3. Damaging the Door Hinges if your microwave door is swinging around. A gust of wind, an accidental knock, or worse hitting your head on an above stove microwave can all lead to over-extending the door and damaging the door hinges. In some cases, this can lead to damaging the interlocking door switch. This can cause your microwave to turn on by itself causing a fire or electrical hazard.

Verdict: Should You Leave Microwave Door Open After Use

Now that we understand a couple of reasons why homeowners leave their microwave doors open, we can apply some common sense to its merit. It is recommended that in the circumstances that your microwave oven fails to vent the condensation build-up, leaving the microwave door open for up to 15 minutes whilst serving the food is a reasonable idea.

However, it is quicker, cleaner, and more energy efficient to simply give the interior of the microwave a quick wipe with a detergent wipe or dry it with a clean cloth.

Website | + posts

Having renovated two homes and completed countless repairs, it was time to share this experience with the world. From repairing kitchen appliances to remodeling entire homes, my 30 years of experience will hopefully help you on your journey to a beautiful and functional home

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *