Ever Wonder: Can You Put A Microwave In A Cupboard? Find Out

A microwave is an indispensable item in any kitchen. While this quick, efficient device brings a lot of convenience to the kitchen, it’s important to select the right spot to get the most out of the microwave. The thing is if you don’t have a lot of room in the kitchen, is it possible to put a microwave in a cupboard?

a microwave oven in a kitchen cupboard

The simple answer is yes. It can fit just fine, like a built-in oven. However, this must be done with caution to avoid any difficulties because of the enclosed space. This article will go over all the steps for putting a microwave in a cupboard, as well as the precautions you need to take to get a more organised kitchen design and save some extra counter space! 

How safe is it? 

There are various safety factors to consider to avoid causing damage to your cabinets or microwave. The whole process should be safe as long as you follow appropriate measures, such as:

1. Check the cupboard doors

If your cabinets have damaged doors, you should replace them before installing your microwave. This is because a broken cabinet door can make it more difficult for you to fit your microwave, let alone the extra effort required to open and close these doors on a regular basis.

If you are going to open or close your microwave quickly, the door may get stuck for a few seconds. If you can find a specialist to fix the door, you should do it before fitting your microwave.

2. Ventilation

The most important thing you can do for a perfect kitchen remodel is making sure your microwave is properly vented when positioned in a cupboard. Built-in microwaves have a different ventilation placement than countertop microwaves. Built-in microwaves almost always have vents in the back, whereas your typical microwave usually has vents on the sides or the top.

Therefore, when installing a microwave inside a cupboard, ensure there is enough space on all sides to allow for appropriate air circulation around the microwave. Most manufacturers’ user manuals will include minimum clearance measures, so check the manual and use those measurements to see whether you can properly fit your microwave.

3. Accessibility

You should ensure that your microwave can be conveniently accessed before putting it in a cupboard. Putting your microwave in a difficult-to-reach location can lead to kitchen mishaps, particularly those resulting from holding hot food straight from the microwave oven for an extended period of time. Make sure your cabinet is handy to your kitchen counter as well.

4. Having kids around

If your microwave cabinet is located in a low area of your kitchen and you have children, the best alternative is to get a cabinet that can be locked.

When your microwave isn’t in use, and you are not at home, you should keep the cabinet that stores your microwave completely secured. Otherwise, children playing near the cupboard may cause a cooking mishap, which you do not want to happen.

Things to consider

Beyond the safety measurements you should take, there are a few more things to consider before proceeding with the installation of your microwave.

laughing young woman posing in front of a microwave in a cupboard.

1. Cleaning

Cleaning your microwave (both inside and out) is simple when it’s on a countertop, but it’s a little more difficult when it’s in a cupboard. The inside of your microwave is still reasonably easy to clean, but the outside is much more difficult. Dust and dirt can collect on the outside of your microwave over time, clogging the vents.

If your microwave’s vents are blocked, it won’t be able to properly air itself, which could cause it to overheat and eventually break. If you store your microwave in a cabinet, you’ll need to remove it every few months and clean the outside. This will help keep the vents clean and your microwave in good condition.

2. Trim kits

DIY trim kits can be used to integrate a microwave into the cabinetry. They are unnecessary, but they will give you that “built-in” effect” while also keeping the microwave clean and dust-free. They will also have adequate ventilation, so you won’t have to worry about that.

If you decide to buy a trim kit, you should do so from the same company that manufactured your microwave since they will have trim kits designed specifically for your microwave’s size, kind, and ventilation needs.

3. Wiring

You’ll still need a spot to plug in your microwave if it’s hidden in a cupboard. If your cabinet has a power outlet in the back, you can connect it in there. If not, you’ll need to cut a small hole in the side to slide the plug through and plug it into a nearby power outlet. 

Microwaves must be connected to a grounded power socket; thus, using an extension cord or a power bar is not recommended. This will keep it off the kitchen countertop while also eliminating the need to deal with ventilation difficulties.

4. Microwave vents

Look for the vents on all sides of your microwave before putting them inside the cupboard. The purpose of the vents is to let the air out. If installing the microwave will get in the way of your vents, you may need to find another location for it. The most important thing is to make sure the vents aren’t blocked or covered in the cabinet.

5. Location

When deciding where to put your microwave, avoid cupboards too high up. Upper cabinets will put pressure on your neck, and anything could happen while you figure out how to use them. Instead, pick a cupboard that you can get to quickly and effortlessly.

a microwave in a cupboard

Preparation and safety tips

First and foremost, you need to be prepared and stay safe while installing your microwave. Here’s a list of the things you need to be cautious about. 

  1. Make sure your microwave is turned off before you begin. Making modifications to a new kitchen appliance while it is connected to power is extremely dangerous. You can turn off the power at the circuit breaker box to ensure you don’t come into contact with electricity by accident.
  2. If your microwave is too heavy, ask somebody to help you with it. You should never try to lift or tip a microwave by yourself. While preparing the microwave and transferring it, be sure that children and dogs are kept away from your countertop space.
  3. Finally, make sure the door is secured when moving the microwave. Otherwise, you might risk injuring yourself if it opens. Also, move any glass turntables from the microwave if the microwave drawer opens. This will prevent injury or the microwave from breaking.

How to put a microwave in a cupboard step-by-step

Because the procedure is quite straightforward, you should be able to do it yourself. You’ll only need a few tools to get started. These are the steps to follow:

Step 1: If you have any cabinet doors, open them and remove them.

Step 2: Place the microwave in the cupboard.

Step 3: Measure the appropriate ventilation clearances around your microwave with your tape measure and make marks so you’ll remember where to put it again later.

Step 4: Remove the microwave from the cupboard once more.

Step 5: Drill a hole large enough to run the microwave’s power cord through at the back of your cupboard (on the side closest to your power outlet) using a drill and self-feed drill bits. You can skip this step if your cabinet has a socket at the back already in place.

Step 6: Clean your microwave well before reinstalling it in the cupboard.

Step 7: Now, all you have to do is plug your microwave into a power outlet, and you’re ready to go. Get the cabinet doors back in place. If you’re using a trim kit, follow the installation instructions that came with it to put it in your cupboard and how to put your microwave in the trim kit.

The downside of putting your microwave in a cupboard

1. Damage

Because of the enclosed cabinetry structure, moisture and heat generated by your food might get trapped inside, causing damage to the wood. 

This is especially true when a stainless steel microwave lacks appropriate airflow. So, make sure your microwave is not confined too tightly in place.

Also, make sure to wipe down both the interior and exterior of your microwave after each usage, as this will make it last longer.

2. Function

Convection microwaves are particularly challenging to use in a small kitchen cabinet because they will need extra space for the heat to dissipate. Otherwise, they will get hotter and hotter. 

Also, regardless of the microwave type, always leave around 5 centimetres of extra cabinet space. This will give it plenty of room to breathe and vent.

a white microwave oven in a cupboard

To sum up, installing your microwave in a cupboard is entirely safe. But, before you do so, make sure you have taken the necessary measures and that you follow all the tips and safety considerations mentioned above!

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