I remember in my junior year of high school in my biology class, we watched an episode of MythBusters about cups of water exploding in the microwave when superheated, and when I got to college I immediately remembered this, since now I pretty much live off of a microwave. What if I wanted to make a cup of tea? Or heat some water up to make instant ramen? This was one of the main questions I had when I wanted my first cup of noodles and I couldn’t decide if it was safe to heat water up in the microwave, so I did my research.
There have been documented cases of water being superheated and exploding at the slightest touch but this is actually quite rare. According to this Snopes.com article, it takes near perfect conditions for this to happen, but in the slightest of chances that this could happen, the FDA has some guidelines you can follow:
Water is much less likely to explode if there is a foreign object in the cup with it. For example, adding instant coffee will greatly reduce the risk of an explosion.
Also, following the instructions in the microwave’s manual will help.
Another thing you can do is to not heat the water for extended amounts of time. For example, if you need to heat your water for three minutes, it’s best to do it in four 45-minute increments. This will allow the water to cool down slightly before it’s next heating.
Lastly, it’s a good idea to find the best time setting for your water and sticking with that time setting. Consistency will lessen the chance of an explosion because you’ll know from experience that a certain time setting works best.