5 ways to maintain your microwave

October 15, 2014

The microwave is there for you in quick-fix dinner rushes. Here are five things you can do to extend the life of this commonly used appliance.

5 ways to maintain your microwave

When it comes to appliances, microwaves are among the most easily disposed and replaced. After all, they’ve become so cheap that sometimes you save more money by buying a new microwave than fixing your old. That said, if you treat your microwave right, you should be able to keep yours alive for many years.

1. Treat it right

  • That means not putting things in your microwave that could damage your appliance—think tin foil or metal.
  • These can spark and heat up quickly, which of course could result in a kitchen fire. Ditto goes for your nicer pieces of China, which also may contain metal and set off a spark.

2. Clean it regularly

This sounds obvious, but taking a little elbow grease to your appliance can also extend the life of your microwave.

That means cleaning spills up shortly after they happen and hand washing or running your glass removable bases through the dishwasher. If something’s stuck on, you can try a few tricks:

  • Boil a cup of water in your microwave: the heat from the water will loosen up stuck-on stains.
  • You can do the same with half a lemon—microwave it for 20 to 30 seconds with some water and let it do the work.

Make sure to especially focus on wiping off the grime around the edge of the door and its opening to maintain the tight seal your microwave came with.

3. But be gentle!

At least in the products you take to your unit. Avoid abrasive scrubbers and powders. Instead use hot soapy water and a sponge or cloth to do the work.

4. Skip the smells

  • Can’t shake the smell of last week’s tilapia from your microwave? Use a combination of one tablespoon of baking soda in one cup of water to wipe down the inside of the microwave, then prop the door open and let dry.
  • Or mix in some lemon juice with water (one part juice to three parts water) and boil the mixture in the microwave for up to five minutes.
  • And again, wipe down afterwards and keep the door open to let dry.

5. Replace the filter

  • This applies to microwaves that sit over your stove range. Inside these units are charcoal filters that absorb particles and more.
  • Replace these filters at least every six months or however often your manufacturer recommends in your appliance guidelines.
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