Out of all the appliances we have in the kitchen, none is more used after the stove and refrigerator than our microwave oven. We often use it to preheat or defrost food and drinks, as well as cook dishes.
Usually, microwave ovens can last up to 10 years if you use it with care. But, if you use it every day for all sorts of applications, it can also wear down the appliance and shorten its lifespan. Buying a new one is very expensive and for many, they would like to keep their microwave oven for as long as they could.
Microwave care and cleaning plays a key role in this because it is often the smallest details that can damage an appliance. If you want to help your microwave ovens live longer, here are our microwave oven care tips that you can apply.
1. Always clean your microwave immediately
Spills and messes are given when you use a microwave. When it does happen, make sure to clean your microwave after every use quickly. Left-over food absorbs the microwave’s energy when you turn it on again. As a result, it creates a hotspot that can damage it. Make sure to take care when you are cleaning the protective mesh in the door if it is exposed. This part ensures that microwaves do not zap you when you use it.
2. Degrease the filters
Grease filters are located under the microwave and it helps trap steam and fumes inside the microwave. However, if you do not clean this filter, it can reduce your microwave’s efficiency and create a fire hazard. It is very easy to clean this filter but you will need some gloves to help you out.
Once you take it out of your microwave, soak the filter with hot water and a powerful degreasing detergent. You can also check if they can be placed in a dishwasher since some makers create dishwasher-safe parts. Before you do so, make sure to check the manual on how to clean it before putting in a dishwasher. If the filter no longer fits perfectly, buy a replacement.
3. Use the preset cooking times
Sometimes, we tend to overcook our food because we feel like it is not cooked enough. However, doing this affects the control system and fries the unit. Don’t hesitate to use the presets to cook your food. When you use them, you will be assured that your food will cook perfectly and not damage your microwave.
4. Use an Exhaust Fan
If you have an over-the-range microwave oven, use an exhaust fan to reduce the moisture that can come out of pots and pans. When moisture touches the microwave’s circuitry, it can shorten its lifespan considerably. When you see moisture, wipe it off with a cloth or paper towel.
5. Close the door properly
Your microwave’s door is the most important part of the microwave. It ensures that the food you are cooking stays inside the appliance. It also has safety switches to ensure no electricity can stray away and prevent the microwave from cooking when it is opened. If one of these switches gets damaged, it can affect the entire system. So, when you open your microwave door, do not slam it. Close it properly to protect the switches.
6. Do not operate your microwave if there is nothing in it.
Some people often use their microwave as a timer and not put anything in it. While this is ok if you will use it for a short time, it does cause your unit to overheat. It may also cause burn marks in the interior. When this happens, the microwaves will focus on those irregularities and damage it further.
7. Use Microwavable Containers
For some people, they believe it is ok to use metal containers or bowls to heat food faster in a microwave. However, metal reflects microwaves which heats the food. If you use metal containers, dishes or utensils in your microwave, actual sparks may occur and burn a hole in your microwave. Always use microwave-safe cookware, in our article we talk about in detail how to determine if cookware is microwave-safe.
When you use your microwave, make sure there is a clearance on all sides. Check if your container, utensil or dish is microwave safe before using. If the dish will require you to use aluminum foil, check with your microwave manual how to sort it out.
8. Cook within the Weight Limitations
Microwaves can pretty much handle any amount of food in any state it could be. However, if you will be using your microwave consistently for heavy food products or dishes, check the weight capacity of your microwave. If a food item is very heavy, it can damage the turntable and the motor running it. It can also affect the magnetron and damage the entire unit completely. Check the manual before you cook or reheat food for the weight restrictions. Sometimes, it is found in the door of the microwave oven.
9. Have an expert fix it
If you think your microwave needs repairs, do not attempt to do it yourself. Microwaves have many parts and even if it is unplugged, it can still shock you for hours. There is also the fact you may end up damaging the machine further if you touched with the wrong component. When your microwave starts malfunctioning, get an expert to do it. Most microwave oven makers offer warranties with their appliances in case there are flaws. If the warranty has passed, you can still bring it to licensed service centers for repairs. You will be given an estimate on how much the repairs will take. If the damage is extensive, it may be best to just get a new one.
Microwave ovens are a lifesaver for many of us which is why we must use and care for our microwave oven properly. With the tips above, you can maximize the life of your microwave oven even beyond its life span. When it does break down after years of hard service, you can replace your microwave with a new one.