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Consumer experts Choice share the microwave mistakes you should never make

Consumer experts share the microwave mistakes you should never make – so how many are YOU guilty of?

  • Consumer watchdog reveals the top mistakes people make with microwaves
  • The top eight mistakes include defrosting meat incorrectly and not cleaning
  • Other errors include putting the machine in the wrong spot in your kitchen


The top microwave mistakes you should never make have been revealed – including zapping food without a cover and failing to clean spills immediately.

Consumer watchdog Choice revealed the eight top mistakes you should avoid making and explained how the common errors could ruin your microwave or make you sick.

The first mistake many people make is putting the handy appliance in the wrong spot. 

In reality it doesn’t matter if the microwave is tucked away in the pantry or sitting on the bench taking up space.

One of the top mistakes people make when using a microwave is failing to cover their food (stock image)

What does matter is the amount of room around it, there should be ten centimetres around the sides and 20 centimetres on top to allow for enough airflow.

Failing to do this could be an expensive mistake as your microwave is likely to overheat and malfunction.

The second most common mistake is not covering food which can be messy, but can also cause your meal to heat unevenly leaving it cold in some spots and piping hot in others.

Not cleaning up messes is another common problem which can lead to your food not cooking properly.

‘Leaving food splatters in your microwave will slow down the cooking time as it cooks the residue as well as the intended food,’ Choice microwave expert Fiona Mair said.

Microwave users should also make sure they keep on top of grease and grime inside their machines for the same reason.

What are the eight microwave mistakes most people make? 

 1 – Use the wrong power setting

2 – Only use it to reheat and defrost

3 – Heat food in hazardous packaging

4 – Defrost meat incorrectly

5 –  Buying the wrong microwave

6 –  Not keeping it clean

7 – Not covering food

8 – Putting it in the wrong spot 

SOURCE: Choice 

Buying the wrong microwave is also a common mistake people make. It is important to research the kind of appliance you need and buy accordingly, Choice said.

Not defrosting meat properly can also be an issue, according to the report, and will leave you with partially cooked, partially frozen meat.

Using the microwave’s defrost setting, checking the meat and removing thawed sections and freezing food in smaller quantities is helpful here.

Using materials such as Styrofoam and plastic packaging in the microwave can also be hazardous.

These non-microwave safe pieces of packaging can leak chemicals into your food when heated. 

Using the wrong heat setting is also an issue - as not everything needs to be cooked on high (stock image)

Using the wrong heat setting is also an issue – as not everything needs to be cooked on high (stock image)

Other materials like paper bags and foil can cause a fire.

The seventh mistake most people make is not using the microwave enough, according to the experts who say it should be used for more than reheating leftovers.

‘The best advice I can give is read your microwave’s instruction manual. You will be amazed at what it can do to save you time in the kitchen,’ Fiona said. 

The experts also say using the wrong power setting is not advised – and simply putting your microwave on high and setting it for 30 seconds is ineffective. 

‘It’s best to use a lower power level when reheating foods; it may take longer but you’ll get a better result.’ And, if you’re doing something such as softening butter or ice-cream, or proving dough, a low setting is all you need,’ she said.

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