Microwave Oven Safety Tips
Everyone loves this appliance and it surely does help make life simpler when it comes to cooking, heating, reheating, or defrosting food. But it can also be dangerous if not used properly. Here are some helpful tips to make using the microwave safer:
1. Preparing to use the oven:
• Be sure the oven is clean since dehydrated debris can catch on fire.
• Use the proper container. Glass, tempered glass, ceramic, wax paper, parchment paper, plain paper towels, plastic that is explicitly labeled as microwave safe are safe for heating if used according to instructions. Never use aluminum foil, anything with metallic trim, foam-insulated cups or dishes, single-use plastic containers, or any container that could melt or catch fire.
• Loosely cover the container to prevent splatter, making sure that steam can escape.
• Use the correct setting and time for the intended use. Note that liquids, especially, can become very hot if heated too long – try 30 seconds.
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2. While the oven is in use:
• Stay in the general area so you can respond at the first sign of scorching, smoke, flames, or sparks. Press the stop button or unplug the oven, and if the content has caught fire, keep the oven door closed.
3. After the oven is off:
• Prevent scalding by not overheating liquids and by opening heated containers pointed away from you.
• Prevent a container from shattering by never overheating a tightly closed container, and not subjecting a container to rapid temperature changes.
4. General safety tips:
• Only plug the oven directly into the wall socket, never into a power strip.
• When plugging into the wall socket, be sure to grasp the plug so that you will not contact the metal prongs.
• If the oven operates with the door open, shut the door and turn the oven off immediately, unplug it, mark it for salvage, and do not try to use it again!
• Check for appliance recalls to prevent spontaneous fires (unrelated to cooking).
Recommend the following simple safety tips to decrease the risk of microwave scald burns:
• Make sure young children cannot reach the microwave. Microwaves should be placed at a safe height to avoid spills. The face of the person using the microwave should always be higher than the front of the door. All users should be tall enough to reach the microwave oven door, easily view the cooking area, and handle the food safely. Microwaves installed above counters or stoves can be a scald hazard for anyone.
• Never leave a young child alone while food is cooking in the microwave.
• Children under age 7 should not operate the microwave unless they are closely supervised. Instruct and supervise older children and if they are too young to follow written directions, they are too young to use a microwave oven without supervision.