How To / Tech

Tips to enhance the safety of your microwave oven

The following are eleven tips to keep yourself and your loved one’s safety top priority when using the microwave.

This is a guest post. The thoughts and opinions here do not necessarily reflect those of Techaeris or its staff.

We’re not only here to provide the best tech reviews and news but we also want to provide handy tips and tricks. Tips like how to enhance the safety of your microwave oven. A recent study on microwave-related burns in children in the US revealed that over 600 are treated for emergency burns each year. Unfortunately, most of the casualties are kids below the age of 12 years.

While most people cannot do without the microwave oven in their kitchen, it can be a health hazard thanks to radiation and burns resulting from improper use. This necessitates the need to observe safety precautions when using the appliance.

The following are eleven tips to keep yourself and your loved one’s safety top priority when using the microwave oven in your home.

Adhere to instructions

Each microwave comes with a user manual, which contains the manufacturer’s instructions on how to use the equipment (including safety tips).

The guide shares information about settings for heating various foods besides the safety guidelines. For example, you should not use your microwave in a lab setting and then use it to heat the foods you consume; this may lead to cross-contamination.

Adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions on heating liquids to avoid injuries. You must also take caution when removing containers from the device to prevent burns resulting from spills and vapor.

Never use the oven when the door is open

Avoid using your microwave when the door is open. According to the FDA, you should switch off your equipment if the door opens while it’s working; this will limit the chances of exposure to radiation.

You might be thinking, why on earth would I not close the door? The door may open because of a failure to sense the switch or the latch could be broken. You must also avoid using the oven if the door is warped or does not close properly. Always ensure there is a proper seal and that the door is closed completely before operating the microwave oven.

Avoid storing items on top of the microwave

Store no items on top of the microwave. When the appliance is in operation, this part can become hot, leading to spills that may affect the proper functioning of the equipment.

These spills may also block air vents, thus hindering adequate heat and air circulation in your microwave. Spills may also get into components of the microwave and cause damage which may not be immediately evident.

Do not heat leftovers in carryout containers

Research proves that plastic containers contain harmful chemicals such as BPA that may leak into your food when heated.

Although the exact effects of these substances in humans are not known, animal studies have proved exposure to significant levels of these chemicals may cause toxicity.

Always check your containers to ensure they’re “microwave safe” before using them to heat your foods. Alternatively, use microwave-safe plates or glass containers.

Using non-microwave safe containers may lead to contamination of your food. Besides, some containers may melt, which may damage the appliance.

Never overheat liquids

You should not heat liquids, including water, in your microwave for over 2 minutes. Adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions regarding heating liquids to avoid injuries.

If you overheat liquids, they’ll superheat and increase the risk of exploding from the container/cup. Superheated water refers to water heated beyond its boiling temperature, yet it might not show any signs of boiling.

Superheated liquids may lead to severe scalding and burns on the face and hands. Avoid adding ingredients such as sugar or instant coffee, to avoid eruptions.

Defrosting foods

If you use your microwave to defrost foods such as meat, eggs, poultry, or casseroles, you must ensure these foods are fully cooked.

When defrosting such foods, there’s a high likelihood that heat will not disperse evenly. 

The edges will cook thoroughly, yet the center remains frosty; this could present the ideal environment for bacteria to grow and multiply, thus increasing the risk of food born illnesses.

microwave oven safety
Microwave oven safety is just one aspect of an overall kitchen safety gameplan.

Train your youngster how to use the microwave

If your children love cooking, it’s essential to train them on how to use the appliance. This is because some of the most serious burns resulting from microwave ovens occur to children.

If your child is too young to read, understand, and adhere to the microwave use instruction, wait till they’re old enough before allowing them to use the oven.

In the initial days, ensure your child uses the microwave under supervision until they’re comfortable to work on their own. Each time remind them to follow the instructions on the user manual.

Also, train them on how to use a food thermometer to prevent food-borne illnesses. You should also instruct them to use potholders if they want to remove foods from the microwave. They should also have adequate knowledge about the containers to use in the appliance.

Inspect your microwave oven for leaks

It’s essential to periodically check if your microwave has leaks. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends regular checks to avoid injuries when using the appliance.

Additionally, check to ensure your device doesn’t show any signs of damage on the outer casings or seals.

If the microwave door is bent or shows evidence of damage, you should not use the appliance to avoid exposure to radiation.

Keep it clean

One of the simplest ways of extending the life of your microwave and guaranteeing safety is by cleaning it regularly. Liquids and food spills can cause damage to the device by creating burn spots. 

Use warm soapy water or specialized microwave cleaner to clean your oven. If it has tough spills, heat water in the microwave to produce steam, it’ll help to loosen the grime.

It’s also essential to cover foods with a paper towel to prevent messes when heating food in the microwave.

Never repair an appliance if you’re not trained

You should never try repairing your microwave if you’re not competent to do repairs. For example, never add an extension cord to the microwaves cord. In the same breath; you should not plug other appliances on the same circuit with your microwave.

You should connect it into a 110 grounded circuit. If you suspect your device has any faults, delegate this task to a professional appliance repair technician to establish and deal with the problem.

The ideal candidate should have been extensively trained and experienced in this repair field, hiring someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing can be disastrous. We should also add that technicians should be insured and certified by the relevant regulatory bodies.

Follow manufacturer guidelines

The microwave oven is a great innovation and a boon to many households all over the world. However, this appliance may pose a serious threat if not used properly. The best way to avoid burns and other related injuries is following the manufacturer’s guidelines.

These tips are all common sense but often times we need a bit of a refresh on safety. Not only for a microwave oven but for just about everything. Hopefully, these safety tips helped you.

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