Microwave ovens have become such an essential modern convenience that roughly 90 percent of homes have them. However, many people still do not recognize or understand the most basic safety tips, the dos and don’ts of microwave use. Following these tips will improve your microwaving performance and prevent common mishaps and safety problems.
Young children should never use a microwave unsupervised. They can easily enter in the wrong cook time—10 minutes instead of one, for instance—and cause a big, smoky mess or a fire. If your microwave model doesn’t include a child lock, teach your children how to use it properly and make sure they understand the risks.
When you reheat a container of food, leave a corner uncovered to release steam. Otherwise the food can turn out burnt and charred.
Stay nearby when you’re popping popcorn to prevent burning or a fire. Follow the instructions on the bag and listen for when it’s ready: when the pops come two to three seconds apart.
Always check to see if a plastic container is intended for microwave use. Cleaning up melted plastic is no fun, and the food will be wasted, too.
A big rule: Don’t use aluminum foil in the microwave—unless you want to see a mini-fireworks show. Unlike plastic, glass, and ceramic, foil deflects the radio waves, which means your food won’t heat properly, and, worse, you could damage the microwave.
Before putting a hot dog, raw egg yolk, or baked potato in the microwave, puncture the skin with a fork or knife to prevent messy explosions.
Over-the-range microwaves require you to clean or replace the filter on a regular basis. If you keep up with this maintenance, your microwave will run properly and last longer.
Periodically clear out the grime in your microwave by letting water boil in an appropriate container and create steam along the microwave walls. After a few minutes, wipe down the walls to get rid of built-up grease, which can seriously hamper the appliance’s performance and pose a fire hazard.
Read cooking instructions carefully to know how long to heat the food and whether it should be covered. Also consider your microwave’s wattage; a microwave with high wattage takes less time to heat food.
These dos and don’ts of microwave safety may seem common sense to some. But if you’re new to an appliance or cooking in general, it’s always best to review the proper procedures.
|Brittany Rowland researches new developments in Appliances, Kitchen and CE products features with a vigor to which few would aspire… but someone has to do it. See more about Brittany
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