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How To Reset a Microwave

Modern Black Microwave Oven On Kitchen Countertop

Microwaves have come to be a reliable appliance in almost every kitchen. However, what do you do in the case of an error code?

Like most machines, a microwave can be reset to clear an error. In some cases, that may fix the problem. In others, the error will come back (signifying that the unit needs repair).


You can perform two types of reset: a soft reset and a hard reset. Soft resets differ by brand but usually entail the following:

  • Pressing the reset button on the machine
  • Pressing the button again (this time holding it)

A hard reset requires unplugging the machine for several minutes.

Keep reading for more information about resetting your microwave, when to call a repair person, and other troubleshooting information!

2 Ways to (Soft) Reset Your Microwave

There are two ways that manufacturers typically design their microwaves to reset:

1. A Basic Reset

Woman Using Microwave Oven At Home

Many microwaves undergo a soft reset with the press of a single button:

  • To reset this type of microwave, find and press the reset button.
  • Check the display, which should now be black or show the time.
Finding the Reset Button

Most microwaves label the reset button as either “cancel” or “clear.” It may be the same button as the start button.

2. Encore Method

Using Microwave Oven, Close Up Photo

If your microwave displays a lock icon or appears to only be paused when you’ve attempted method one, you may need to try this method:

  • Press the reset button on the unit.
  • Press the button again, this time holding it down for ten seconds.
  • Release the button and check the screen (it should have returned to displaying the time).

Performing a Hard Reset

Microwave Oven With Food On The Kitchen Table

You can try a hard reset instead if a soft reset isn’t sufficient:

  • Unplug the unit from the wall.
  • Allow it to sit without power for ten minutes (this allows residual charge to dissipate).
  • Plug the unit back in, and follow the steps for setting up your microwave (such as setting the time).

When To Call a Professional

A malfunctioning microwave can sometimes be fixed by resetting it. However, when do you need to call an appliance repairperson?

1. Troubleshooting Fails

Written Text Out Of Order Message On Paper Over The Stuck Microwave

There are some simple troubleshooting ideas you can check off before calling the repairperson (ensure everything is securely attached/plugged in and try to reset the unit).

If you do these things, but the issue persists, it may be time to call a professional.

2. Flashing or Sparking

Unhappy Young Woman Looking At Smoke Emitting Through Microwave

Flashing or sparking are signs of a short in the wires of the microwave. Shorts are very dangerous and can lead to injury.

If you see flashing or sparking, you should call a professional instead of trying to fix it yourself.


Microwaves are capable of malfunctioning just like any other machine. When this happens, you can go through a list of basic troubleshooting to try and solve the problem yourself.

On this list is resetting the appliance, usually with the button labeled “clear” or “canceled.”

If a soft reset isn’t sufficient, you can perform a hard reset instead. Unplug the microwave for about ten minutes to do a hard reset, then plug it back in.

Once it is plugged in again, you must set functions such as the clock.

Remember, if you see flashing or sparking, these are signs of an electrical short.

Electrical shorts are dangerous, and you should never attempt to fix them yourself. Instead, call a professional.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Causes a Microwave To Suddenly Stop Working?

The most common part to fail in a microwave is the main fuse. Signs of a blown fuse include a popping noise followed by a completely dead microwave (even when plugged in).

Can You Fix Your Microwave Yourself?

You can do some simple fixes yourself, such as resetting the device or replacing the lightbulb.

An amateur shouldn’t do anything that requires touching the electrical components in your microwave.

Microwaves can hold sufficient electricity to kill a person for days after being unplugged.

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