Most people have a microwave oven in their homes and use it on a daily basis. But it’s important that the appliances are used correctly. In this article, we’ll look at microwave safety as well as highlighting some things to avoid.
Table of Contents
What Can be Placed in a Microwave Oven?
Any food or liquid can be defrosted, cooked or reheated in a microwave oven and it’s an energy efficient way to cook. Food is cooked quickly and thoroughly and, in some cases, it’s healthier to cook food in a microwave.
When you’re using a microwave, it is important that you use the correct type of containers and crockery. A number of man-made plastics and other materials do not react well when exposed to microwaves.
Is it Safe to Microwave Styrofoam and Similar Materials?
Some styrofoam and polystyrene food trays can be microwaved without any problems. Many of these food trays are labeled microwave safe but it’s always worth checking before placing them in your microwave. Always make sure you remove the plastic wrap before microwaving, unless otherwise instructed.
Plastic containers, such as those containing butter, fresh cream and yogurt, should not be placed in a microwave oven. Small amounts of plastic can migrate into food due to the high temperatures that the microwaves produce. Substances added to plastic containers to make them flexible may also melt at high temperatures.
If you have any doubts about whether a styrofoam or plastic container is safe, don’t use it. Just transfer the food to a microwavable container. If you don’t have a suitable container, simply place the food in a microwave-safe bowl or on a plate. The bowl or plate can be covered with a domed container with a ventilation hole before microwaving.
Are Microwaves Safe in RV Radiation?
Microwaves (the wave itself, not the appliance) are a type of radiofrequency electromagnetic energy generated by the magnetron in the oven. When food absorbs this energy, the molecules vibrate which causes friction and heat. The microwaves generated by the magnetron do not cause the oven or the food to become radioactive.
These ovens are one of the safest appliances you’ll find in a kitchen. However, they can leak radiation. That said, the amount of radiation leaked would not pose any health risks to anyone nearby. There are a couple of reasons why a microwave could leak radiation and how it can be prevented.
The most common cause of radiation leakage from this appliance is a faulty door seal. Over a period of time, the door seal may suffer wear and tear, or perish due to heat. Regularly checking the door seal on your oven and replacing it when necessary reduces the chances of radiation leakage.
Damage to the appliance itself may cause small amounts of radiation to leak and this can easily be avoided. If your microwave suffers any damage, you should stop using it and get repairs carried out. Only use a qualified engineer to carry this out, to ensure the work is done correctly.
5 Tips for Safer Microwave Cooking
Cooking or reheating food in a microwave oven is safe but care is needed to avoid unnecessary accidents. It’s useful to look at a few ways to use microwaves safely to minimize the chances of any problems.
Handle Food With Care
The inside walls of a microwave oven don’t get hot but the food, containers, plates or bowls do. Always use a decent pair of oven gloves when removing hot food from your microwave oven.
If you’re using an over the range microwave oven, extra care is needed when you’re removing hot food. Over the range microwaves are usually at eye level and you’ll have to reach up to open the door and remove food. To avoid spilling very hot foods or liquids, it’s important that you do not have to overreach.
A microwave with a see-through glass door is useful, so you can monitor your cooking. Some foods will also need to be pierced with a fork before cooking, e.g. egg yolks. If you microwave foods for too long they will overheat and could explode inside the oven. The LG LMV2031ST has a glass door and is a good choice in our over the range microwave reviews.
When you’re installing an over the range microwave, it’s must be done correctly. Many of the large over the range microwaves are heavy and need to be mounted on brackets that can accommodate the weight. If the brackets are weak they could break and the microwave, and the range below it, will be damaged.
Any type of microwave needs adequate ventilation to prevent it from overheating when in use. There should be adequate space above and either side of the microwave to allow air to circulate.
Metal in a Microwave
Always avoid reheating food on plates or dishes with decorative metals such as gold or silver. Microwaves don’t pass through metal. Instead they are deflected, which can cause arcing (sparks). If arcing occurs, the microwave oven could sustain damage and there is a risk of fire.
Many people think that aluminum foil should not be used in a microwave but this is not the case. Small amounts of foil can be used to shield food so that is doesn’t overcook. If you use aluminum foil, make sure it’s wrinkle free and keep it away from the walls of the oven to prevent arcing.
Read the Instruction Manual
All microwave ovens are supplied with an instruction manual which shows you how to operate it. It’s important to read the manual before using the appliance so that you are familiar with the controls and how they work. Keep the manual in a safe place so that you can refer to it when necessary.
Care and Maintenance
Looking after your microwave oven will ensure that it operates safely and efficiently. All electrical appliances should be checked at regular intervals to prevent faults developing. Keeping the oven clean inside and out will help to keep it in good condition.
Microwaves are a great tool to have in the kitchen when they’re used safely. Unfortunately, accidents do happen but most can be avoided by being sensible and following the rules.