JENSEN, Utah (ABC4) – A lot of things can go right when using a microwave, like being able to re-experience your mom’s casserole from the night before, and being able to enjoy some hot cup soup…but a lot can also go wrong.
On February 15, the Jensen Fire Department teams up with State Farm and shares tips on achieving microwave safety.
“While microwave ovens offer quick and convenient cooking, they can also be dangerous when not used properly,” they share.
According to the department, nearly 90% of Americans have a microwave in their homes. With that being such a big percentage, it’s essential to know how to stay safe.
State Farm says that from 2007-2011, there have been about 7,100 microwave-related house fires.
Officials say there is nearly $31 million lost to microwave property damage annually.
“From 1990-2010 an average of 21 people per day were treated in emergency rooms for microwave-related injuries,” they inform.
According to statistics, spills were the most common cause of injury, the most common injuries were burns to the fingers and hands, and kids were more likely than adults to burn their face, head, and/or neck.
Do you know what the erupted hot water phenomena is? State Farms says this occurs when water, heated beyond 212 degrees in a clean cup or bowl, shows no signs of boiling but explodes if disturbed.
The Jensen Fire Department says the best way to reduce the risk of this is to use dishes with sloped sides, stir in sugar or soup mixtures before microwaving, and to leave a microwaveable spoon in liquids while heating to break up the surface tension.
Another tip the department shares concerns re-heating cold foods. To eliminate hot spots, they suggest rotating your dish throughout its heating periods. They also say it is best to stir your meal before chowing down.
“The steam inside microwave containers and popcorn bags can exceed 100 degrees. Use caution when cooking and handling these items,” they add.
Officials suggest using vented containers and letting them cool a couple of minutes before opening.
“Open containers away from your face,” they remind.
The department suggests using oven mitts and or potholders when opening your heated container.
When it comes to heating your meal, it is essential to use dishes that are actually microwaveable.
“Aren’t sure if your dishes are microwave-safe? Find out in four steps! Fill a measuring cup with one cup of water, place it in the microwave along with the dish, then microwave one minute on high,” shares the team. “If the dish feels warm, it isn’t microwave-safe.”
The company then goes on to share additional tips on microwaving.
“Pierce food in pouches or foods with tight skins or membranes to allow steam to escape, and never microwave an egg in its shell,” State Farm shares. “Minimize splashes and spills, the microwave should be within easy reach for all users. Your face should be higher than the microwave door.”
According to officials, when using a microwave, some materials can spark, which could lead to a fire. These include:
- Aluminum foil
- Metal Twist ties
- China with metallic paint
The Jensen Fire Department then goes on to remind others that you cannot keep a microwave forever, and there are actually signs that it is time to replace your microwave.
When your microwave has burnt, damaged or non-closing doors, damaged hinges, latch or door seals, long cooking times, buzzing or loud noises, burning odors while using and if your unit is over 10 years old, you definitely are in need of a new microwave.