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17 Microwave Dos And Don’ts

Published by: Maria Kelley • Updated: February 17, 2024 • Checked By: Chef Matty Riedel

Microwaves might seem simple to use, but they might take a bit of getting used to. Don’t ask me how many times I have put the wrong container inside it only to do some damage control later.

To help you stay safe from such issues while ensuring your kitchen microwave lasts for a long time, here is a list of dos and don’ts for you to follow.

Microwave Dos And Don’ts

Take a look at the following tips that will help you ensure that you are using the microwave correctly.

colourful kitchen with the obligatory built-in microwave in the corner

Microwave Dos

Let’s start with what you should do while using your microwave.

1. Follow Instructions

Always make it a point to read the instructions provided in your microwave’s manual before you heat something in it. Your food package might also sometimes state reheating or cooking instructions. Make sure you also go through all the functions on your microwave so that you are always aware of what to use.

2. Use Safe Containers

plastic container with left-over food

The most essential part about using a microwave is ensuring you use the right container. Usually, options like glass and ceramic, paper towels, parchment paper and wax paper are suitable for the microwave, as are some kinds of plastic. Always look for the microwave-safe symbol on the container.

3. Stir Regularly

For foods or drinks that you wish to warm up in the microwave, especially for a longer period of time, you will need to keep pausing the microwave and stirring the food or drink for a few seconds before placing it back in. Do this every few minutes to ensure it heats up evenly without posing a risk to the container.

4. Allow Food To Steam

All these instructions and cautionary measures might make you feel on edge about reheating or cooking your food in the microwave. However, do not let this stop you from getting a nice and hot container of food to enjoy. Allow the food to start steaming well before you remove it.

5. Thaw Meat Carefully

raw uncooked beef on a white plate

If you have frozen meat, it is okay to thaw it in the microwave as long as you are extra careful beforehand. Placing it in the fridge for a few hours before defrosting it further in the microwave can be a good idea. Ensure you also get rid of all the plastic while inspecting it while it is in the microwave.

6. Leave A Small Gap

If you have a cover or lid on the container, make sure you do not shut it too tight, as this could alter the texture of the food and make it unpleasant to consume. Ensure you leave a tiny gap so that some circulation is in place. This will also make it possible for more uniform heating.

7. Clean Regularly

cleaning the inside of a microwave

It is necessary for you to clean your microwave on a regular basis. Food scraps, grease and debris are bound to stick to the tray or walls depending on what you heat in the microwave. Make it a point always to wipe these surfaces with a dry or damp cloth and let the air circulate inside to remove excess dampness.

You will also need to deep clean the microwave once in a while.

Microwave Don’ts

Now that you know what you should do, here is a list of things you should not do with your microwave.

1. Don’t Use Metal

Metal containers are an absolute no-no when it comes to microwaves. Even containers made from other materials with a bit of metal should never go inside the microwave. This is because metal is at high risk of flaring due to the high temperatures, thus leading to potential fires.

2. Don’t Put Too Many Things In

If you want to heat up multiple small containers of food, it might sound like an easy solution to place all of them inside the microwave at once. However, this will result in uneven heating that could make consuming the food or drink unpleasant later on.

This is because different foods and drinks require different microwave settings and times.

3. Don’t Forget The Cover Or Lid

Do not forget to use a cover or lid on top of your container. Having a cover in place will help ensure the moisture remains inside the container, resulting in quicker heating or cooking and lower risks of spills and leaks.

4. Don’t Use Unsafe Containers

You should avoid using unsafe microwave containers at all costs, as these could result in sparks and fires. Some might also melt inside the microwave and contaminate your food, which you must throw away. Unsuitable containers or materials include aluminium, some kinds of plastics, metals, foam and others.

5. Don’t Microwave Certain Foods

boiled eggs on a white tray

You should never microwave some foods as this could ruin their quality while removing important nutrients from them. Some include boiled eggs, fruits, vegetables and spicy or hot whole chillies.

6. Don’t Turn On If Empty

If there is nothing inside your microwave, never turn the power on and allow the tray to rotate. This could lead to explosions and fires since other microwave elements could absorb the strong radiation.

7. Don’t Use If Faulty

If you know your microwave does not work properly or is faulty, do not use it at any cost. If you find out while using it, stop immediately, remove the food and turn the power off. Call the microwave company or a professional to fix it for you.

Final Thoughts

Microwaves are tricky little appliances, given that they operate through radiation heating. One of the main concerns here is the kind of container you use, so always be aware of what you pick.

Keep all the dos and don’ts in mind to obtain safe, efficient and perfectly warm results each time.

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Maria Kelley