Microwaves have become absolutely necessary for most kitchens, thanks to their amazing functionality. You can reheat the food in a microwave-safe plate and return to what you were doing earlier without leaving any mess behind.
But, what if you notice rust build-up inside your microwave one fine day? What to do then? Do you continue using that microwave or replace it right away? Is rust in the microwave dangerous for your health?
These are the questions many users come across after using their microwaves for a certain amount of time. If you’re also unsure what to do when there’s rust inside your microwave, we have got you covered.
Read on to know what stimulated rust build-up inside your microwave and how to fix it!
Is It Safe to Use a Microwave With Rust Inside?
No, using a microwave with rust build-up inside it is never safe. These rust particles can enter your food, risking its safety and health. When a microwave’s radiation hits against the rusted surface and enters your food afterward, it can be highly toxic. Apart from the potential damage to your food, this rust build-up can also result in fire and sparks in the appliance, eventually damaging your kitchen and other appliances.
You might be tempted to ignore that thin layer of rust inside your microwave, but doing so can lead to several harms with time.
Firstly, using a rusted microwave will risk your food’s safety, something you’d surely like to avoid. And secondly, this rust can make a whole lot of mess inside your microwave when left uncleaned; you wouldn’t want that either.
Dangers of Using a Rusted Microwave
Rust inside a microwave is not an alien concept. No matter which brand’s microwave you use, it can rust over time and bring along multiple threats.
Here are the primary dangers of using a rusted microwave:
- Risked Food Safety
A microwave uses radiation to heat your food. This radiation quickly moves inside the enclosed chamber and processes your food in a short span.
But, if these rays have to bounce off a rusted surface before entering your food, they’re risky. Arcing is the term used when an appliance’s radiation hits another surface before reaching its destination.
Studies prove that rust inside a microwave can ruin your food’s safety and result in health conditions over time.
So if you regularly use the microwave for different cooking tasks, make sure it’s void of rust build-up.
- Sparks and Fire
Arcing inside a microwave can be very harmful because it results in sparks and fire.
You put your food inside the microwave as usual but see huge sparks rising inside it, which force you to shut it off. These sparks occur because of the uneven rust surface in the microwave and pose fire threats.
If you notice arcing in the microwave, quickly turn it off and move away from it until it cools down to avoid any unpleasant situation.
- Odd Smell Coming from the Food
If there’s a thin layer of rust in your microwave, you might not experience arcing or sparks, but it can still ruin your food’s aroma.
Your food might taste and smell weird if you heat it in a rusted microwave, which is why it’s better to take care of this problem before it gets out of hand.
- Dangerous Radiation Leakage
Once rust build-up starts in a microwave, it doesn’t stop there. It can move from the outermost metal cavity and slowly eat its way towards the inner layers and erode its core. Leaving the rust layer unattended can poke holes inside your microwave, leading to a compromised work surface.
Now, if you operate such a microwave, its radiation can leak outside the enclosed chamber and harm you. This hot radiation shouldn’t touch your skin because it’s known to cause skin burns and other harms to your health.
By looking at the potential threats associated with a rusted microwave, we can safely say that you shouldn’t do this. Using a rusted microwave is harmful to your health, food, and other kitchen appliances, so you’re better off!
What causes a microwave to rust inside?
Now that we have warned about using a rusted microwave, you might be wondering what causes this problem. If this is your first time dealing with the microwave rusting problem, here are a few reasons you should look into:
Moisture inside the Microwave
Moisture is the biggest reason for microwave rusting. When water and oxygen accumulate over a metallic surface, they kick start the process of oxidation, eventually leading to rust production.
Whether you warm water in a microwave or prepare something frozen, their moisture can get trapped in its folds and stimulate rusting.
Humid air is another factor causing rust production in a microwave. If you mostly keep the microwave dry but still notice rust development, moist air can be the culprit here.
Therefore, it’s advisable to prevent moisture accumulation inside the microwave and provide enough ventilation.
Sure, you don’t have time to clean the microwave after each use, but leaving it unattended for weeks is never smart.
Following a regular cleaning routine not only keeps your food hygienic it also prevents the microwave from rusting. Microwave manufacturers recommend you clean these appliances once a week and air them out to keep the moisture at bay.
If something spills inside your microwave, wipe it immediately instead of letting it be. When you ignore food spillovers, the microwave’s heat dries out the food particles and stimulates rusting.
A few factors that impact this appliance’s condition over time are ignoring a microwave’s ventilation space, using harsh cleaning pads, and using it non-stop.
Since microwaves are quite expensive and your food’s safety is associated with their condition, it’s smart to be careful with them.
Time and Frequency of Usage
If your microwave is quite old and you use it regularly, it will wear off. Some microwaves remain fine for up to 10 years and start showing signs of damage afterward, while others give in faster than them.
If you use the microwave multiple times a day, taking care of its condition is mandatory because otherwise, it’ll break out pretty fast.
Giving the microwave enough ventilation space and cleaning it after regular intervals are the two positive things to protect it.
Microwave Material Quality
No matter how clean your microwave is and how much you take care of its well-being, it’ll rust and break out if made from low-quality material.
We have heard of incidents where almost new microwaves’ paint starts chipping and leads to rusting. Similarly, poorly designed inner chambers and thin metallic surfaces cannot stand regular usage and show rust damage after a few rounds of cooking.
Should you use a microwave if it’s rusty inside?
As explained earlier, using a rusted microwave is risky, especially when the rust layer is thick and has pinholes. Since rust grows with time and factors like moisture accumulation etc., impact it, we never know when it gets toxic.
If your microwave’s hot plate and inner metal chamber have rust signs, repair them or replace them because ignoring them is risky.
However, it isn’t dangerous if the rust build-up is only on your microwave’s outer surface. You can continue using a microwave with rust build-up on its outside as long as it doesn’t reach in.
But once a microwave’s cooking surface receives the wrath of rust, you must get rid of it.
How to fix rust inside the microwave door?
Now that you know the reasons and harms associated with rust build-up in a microwave, it’s time to fix it. Unless you see a years-old microwave loaded with thick rust, you can fix it.
We’ll now list two methods you can use to fix rust inside a microwave door; you can choose whichever suits you.
- Use Salt and Baking Soda Paste
Baking soda and salt make a natural cleaning agent for different surfaces, including metal and glass. If your microwave’s door or inner chamber is full of rust, you can try this trick to get rid of it.
Here’s how you use salt and baking soda to remove rust from a microwave/oven:
- Unplug your microwave and move it away from the electrical outlet. Preferably bring it closer to the kitchen sink for easy cleaning.
- Mix two tablespoons of salt with two tablespoons of baking soda and water to make a thick paste.
- Open your microwave’s door and wipe it inside out with a damp cloth. Once the bigger chunks of food and grease are off, you can use the cleaning paste.
- Apply the salt-baking soda paste to your microwave’s rusted surface with a brush, and leave it for 15-20 minutes.
- Once the paste is dry, take a soft scouring pad and scrape it off the metallic surface.
- This step is likely to remove the stuck-on rust along with the microwave’s paint.
- Remove the remaining mess from your microwave and thoroughly wipe it with a damp towel before leaving it to air dry.
- The next day, take a microwave-safe paint and coat the eroded surfaces inside and outside your microwave.
Once you’re happy with the cleaning results, open your microwave’s door and leave it for a few days before the next use so that the paint settles in its place.
Note: Only use a microwave-safe paint and follow its instructions manual to avoid any problem.
- Use White Vinegar and Water Solution
If you see rust build-up on the points where applying a thick paste is hard, you can use a liquid cleaner instead.
Follow these easy steps to clean rust from your microwave’s door or heating element:
- Mix one part white vinegar in three parts water and stir this solution.
- Add this solution to a spray bottle and spray it on the rust spots inside your microwave.
- Leave the liquid on for 25-30 minutes, and wipe it with a soft cloth to take the rust off.
Note: The vinegar-water cleaner will only work if there’s a thin rust layer in your microwave, i.e., on its glass door. If you see pinholes in the rust layer, consider it a gone case.
How to prevent the oven from rusting?
Once you remove rust build-up from the microwave, repeating that process will surely be tiring. Therefore, it’s smart to follow a care regime that helps prevent rust build-up in your microwave without consuming much time.
Here are a few tips you can follow to prevent an oven or microwave from rusting:
- Regular Cleaning
Maintaining a good cleaning routine is the best thing you can do for a microwave. When you let food particulate, grease, and grime accumulate inside a microwave, they instigate rusting and get hard to clean over time.
Therefore, it’s in your best interest to wipe the microwave with a damp cloth daily or twice a week. Doing so will keep the microwave’s paint intact and hygienic for future use.
- Venting the Microwave/Oven
Since moisture is the primary reason for rust build-up in a microwave, keeping it at bay is mandatory. When you clean the microwave, open its door and keep it near a window for a while to dry the remaining moisture from its surface.
This tip will prevent rusting and reduce the lingering food smells coming from your microwave.
When is the right time to replace your oven?
No matter how careful you are about cleaning a cooking appliance, a time comes when you have to say goodbye to it. In the case of ovens and microwaves, you’ll see clear signs of damage signaling you to replace them.
Here are a few points to remember when deciding an oven’s fate:
- Faulty heating element
- Broken glass door
- Severe rust build-up
- A lingering smell or a weird noise coming from the oven
- Fumes rising from the oven
- 10 years or longer duration of usage
If your oven or microwave ticks these boxes, it’s time to replace them and make room for better ones!
Regular usage and careless handling can result in rust build-up inside your microwave. And since using a rusted microwave is unsafe, you should prevent this from happening.
Therefore, we have listed the primary reasons, care instructions, and solutions for microwave rusting. So, follow the tips we have shared above to keep your microwave spick and span!