15 Common Myths About Microwave Ovens


Microwave ovens are essential in many cooking areas, conveniently used to heat and cook food. Despite their widespread usage, there are several myths about microwaves, from radiation issues to cooking myths, causing confusion and possible misuse. Here are 15 common misconceptions about microwave ovens you should be aware of.

Photo by Vladyslav Cherkasenko – Unsplash

Microwaves make food radioactive

Microwaves release non-ionizing radiation, which lacks sufficient energy to make food radioactive. This form of radiation may move atoms inside a molecule but cannot remove electrons. Therefore, the molecular structure of dietary components remains unchanged.

Photo by Chemical Safety Facts

Microwave-safe plastic containers are consistently safe

Microwave-safe plastics are heat-resistant, but they can still leak toxins, especially if they are old, scratched, or used repeatedly. The chemicals of concern include phthalates and bisphenol-A (BPA), which pose health risks. To minimize the chance of contamination, it is best to microwave leftovers in glass containers with silicone lids.

Photo by Johnny McClung – Unsplash

Microwaves alter the DNA structure of water

Water molecules do not have DNA, so microwaves cannot alter their structure. Microwaves heat water by causing its molecules to vibrate rapidly, which generates heat through friction. However, the chemical makeup of the water remains unchanged.

Photo by Content Pixie – Unsplash

Microwaving water for tea is an excellent idea

While microwaving water is rapid and handy, it can cause overheating, which occurs when we heat water over its boiling point, but it does not boil. This might cause the water to explode suddenly when disturbed, resulting in burns. It is advisable to place a non-metallic object, like a wooden stir stick or a tea bag, in the water before microwaving​​​​.

Photo by Anna Pelzer – Unsplash

Microwaves make your veggies less nutritious

It is a common belief that microwaving vegetables reduces their nutritional value. This is not true, in fact, microwave heating helps to preserve nutrients. Boiling vegetables can cause nutritional loss because vitamins and minerals seep into the water. Microwaving uses less water and cooks faster, preserving more nutrients, especially water-soluble vitamins.

Photo by David Holifield – Unsplash

Microwaved cakes are always safe

While microwaved mug cakes are a quick and easy dessert choice, they can be hazardous if they contain eggs and are not cooked properly. Microwaves fail to penetrate evenly into the food, resulting in inconsistent cooking. Raw or undercooked eggs can contain bacteria such as salmonella, which can cause food poisoning.

Photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko – Unsplash

Microwaving your sponge makes it safe to use

Microwaving a moist sponge can destroy some bacteria, but it is not a guaranteed technique of sanitation. The heat produced by the microwave can kill many microbes, but it could fail to penetrate all areas of the sponge evenly, leaving other bacteria unharmed.

Photo by Kenny Eliason – Unsplash

Microwaves cook food from the inside out

Unlike common belief, microwaves do not cook food from the inside out. Microwaves can cook food to a certain depth, approximately 1 centimeter for meat, and then the heat flows inside. This can result in inconsistent cooking, as the outer layer gets cooked, and the interior remains raw and cold.

Photo by National Cancer Institute – Unsplash

Microwaves can make foods carcinogenic

It is commonly assumed that heating meals in a microwave will result in the production of carcinogenic chemicals. However, this is not the case. Microwaves lack the energy needed to break apart molecules. Hence, they cannot induce cancer-causing properties in foods.

Photo by Becca Tapert – Unsplash

Microwave ovens can heat up any container

A typical misconception is that all containers are safe to use in a microwave oven. However, not all materials are microwave-safe. Certain types of plastic can melt or emit toxic substances, and metal containers cause sparks or even fires.

Photo by Steven Fruitsmaak – Wikipedia

Microwaves are unsafe for people with pacemakers

The idea that microwaves are dangerous for those who have pacemakers is mainly outdated. The microwaves emitted from the oven are contained within the appliance and do not interfere with the pacemaker.

Photo by Devin Rajaram – Unsplash

Microwaves can cook food from frozen to ready-to-eat instantly

Another common myth is that microwaves can rapidly cook frozen food to make it ready to eat. Microwaves can defrost and cook food faster than traditional techniques. Proper defrosting and cooking are necessary to ensure that food is evenly cooked and reaches a safe internal temperature, preventing foodborne diseases.

Photo by Vishnu Mohanan – Unsplash

Standing too close to a microwave is risky

Modern microwaves are meant to restrict electromagnetic radiation, so it is safe to stand near them while they are in operation. The electromagnetic radiation used is non-ionizing and does not pose a substantial risk.

Photo by Nithya Ramanujam – Unsplash

Microwaves eliminate all moisture from food

Another misconception is that microwaving food eliminates all moisture, making it dry and harsh. While microwaving, like any other cooking method, can lead to moisture loss, it does not always dehydrate food. Several parameters, including the moisture content of the food, the power level of the microwave, and the cooking duration, determine the amount of moisture loss.

Photo by Nicolas Gras – Unsplash

You cannot use metal in a microwave

The assumption that you cannot use metal in a microwave is not entirely correct. While it is true that placing certain metallic containers in a microwave can cause sparks, which could harm the equipment or start a fire. For instance, certain microwaveable ready-meal trays have a thin metallic surface that is suitable for use in the microwave.


Leave a Reply