problems with the microwave

With this appliance making everyday life easier, it’s tempting to do everything faster with the microwave. While it’s tempting, some things are not microwavable.

Dry Sponge

Microwaves work great for removing lingering bacteria from kitchen sponges but always use water to saturate the sponge first. Microwaves have a water attraction, moving water molecules with heat and friction. By placing a dry sponge in the microwave, there’s no water for energy attraction, allowing the dry sponge to attract the energy instead and causing a fire.

Dishes Containing Metal

Before pressing the start button, check the container you are using for any metal pieces like handles and rims. When microwaves heat, the container metal molecules vibrate and catch fire.

De-shell Eggs First

Never try to make boiled eggs in the microwave. Eggs with shells intact can’t release steam, causing the egg to explode. Crack eggs into a bowl before cooking.

Forget the Foil

Aluminum foil is an energy blocker and not good for microwave oven use. But, you can use small foil pieces for shielding food corners and sections to keep from overcooking. The key to microwaving success is keeping the foil smooth. Crumpled and bent foil causes sparking between the creases and bends. Always check your user’s manual when using aluminum foil.

Drying Herbs

It seems like we always have too many herbs when buying bunches for cooking, and to keep from wasting them; we dry them. Don’t dry leftovers in a microwave. Without moisture, they catch fire if dried too long. If your herbs are dry, you can safely use them for seasoning dishes going into the microwave.

Plastic Dishes

Unless the manufacturer says a plastic dish is safe for the microwave, using them to heat food causes degrading and pitting of the plastic dishes. Heating these plastics cause no health harm and no chemical leakage into the food, but it can ruin the dish.

Vintage Dishes and Tableware

Dishes that are 40 years or older, do not meet FDA standards for leaching lead amounts into food. If vintage tableware and dishes are cracking or has deteriorating glaze, the lead could enter the food. Avoid these plates, cups, bowls, or dishes for using in the microwave.

Bags Made of Paper

According to the USDA, paper bags used to sack your food in the local grocery stores are unsanitary and can cause fires when microwaving. When overheated, they give off toxic fumes which enter the food and air.

Travel Cups and Mugs

Most cups and mugs used for carrying hot beverages while commuting to and from work contain stainless steel. Never place these in the microwave unless it states safe to use in microwaves. Heat the liquid before pouring into the travel cup.

Metal Rimmed Plates

Most decorative dishware and china have a metallic trim which causes fires when heated in a microwave. Instead of placing your food on the good china, heat it in a microwavable dish first then move to your decorative plates.


Fabric doesn’t contain water and the microwave can’t gather energy from it. While warming socks before putting them on and heading out into the snow sounds good, it can cause fires. Place your clothing in the dryer before wearing them.

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