ovens are a fixture in millions of kitchens. The first commercial
versions, enormous and costing thousands of dollars, hit the market in
1947. Today, many people can't imagine living without the convenience of
microwave ovens because they work so quickly and efficiently, heating
only the food or drink without heating the containers.
How do they work? Microwaves are radio waves. Contrary to some reports,
microwaves don't cook foods from the inside out. Microwaved foods
typically retain more vitamins and minerals than cooking by other
methods because cooking time is less, and little or no additional water
Like so many appliances, microwave ovens are safe when used properly,
but when misused they present dangers: fire, radiation or bacterial
infection due to uneven temperature control.
Don't use a microwave oven:
To heat baby bottles. It doesn't allow for adequate temperature
To dry clothing. It can lead to fire.
With some plastics, such as margarine tubs. The plastic material
can melt into and contaminate food.
If the door is damaged or doesn't close completely. An oven that
doesn't close properly poses a radiation risk.
If there is rusting inside. Rust can be an indication of
Here are some tips to promote microwave safety
Stir liquids before heating and stir food midway through
Don't let plastic wrap touch food during heating.
Check food temperature before feeding it to a child.
A turntable promotes even heating.
Due to fire risk, don't leave a microwave oven unattended when
it's making popcorn.
A microwave oven can be damaged if it's turned on while empty,
because of the effects of unabsorbed energy.
Generally, don't use aluminum foil or metal pans made for
conventional ovens. These reflect the mirowaves, which can cause
uneven cooking or damage the oven.
Clean a microwave oven with water and mild detergent, not with
abrasives such as scouring pads.
If you have a pacemaker, stay away from the oven while it's in
use. Older models may be affected by proximity to a microwave