4 Microwave Maintenance Tips to Keep Your Oven Going Strong

Microwave oven

The microwave oven is a handy kitchen gadget. Er, appliance.

Sure, you can live without one, but would you want to? How would you reheat your morning coffee gone cold?

And what about those instant meals you’ve come to depend on? The quick oats? The afternoon packaged frozen dinner? The reheated leftovers from yesterday’s restaurant junket?

Life Before the Microwave Oven

Imagine we’ve stepped through a time warp to 1971, one year before Litton introduced the first microwave oven to the US market.

The only way to reheat those cold leftovers from last night is to:

  • Pan fry them.
  • Pop them in the oven and wait 40 minutes or so.

Both methods will generate considerable heat in the house, and since it’s 1971, your Southern California home doesn’t have air conditioning yet. Worse, it’s mid-August, and the forecast is for a high of 105 degrees F. Your bedroom has a western exposure.

Maybe now you have a better appreciation for that oft-neglected and sometimes disparaged kitchen appliance, the trusty microwave oven. And if you really do love your microwave, you’ll want to do everything possible to keep it in prime condition.

Show a Little Love to Your Microwave

The better your microwave runs, the longer it will last, the more money you’ll save, and the less waste you’ll create. Mother Earth thanks you for your stewardship.

Simple regular maintenance could spare you the nuisance of a broken-down machine, plus the cost of repair or possibly forking out for a new appliance and having it installed.

Three of the four tips we offer here require no particular expertise, just discipline and commitment.

For the fourth, you may have to call us at West Coast Chief Repair. Then again, you may not! Read on, and let’s find out.

1. Keep your microwave clean.

Yes, keeping your microwave clean is more than common courtesy and good kitchen hygiene.

Splattered or spilled food can absorb energy and burn or damage the microwave’s interior. Make a regular habit of cleaning your microwave to avoid these troubles.

Also, use the proper cleaning tools and products.

  • Warm, soapy water usually does the trick.
  • Wipe away dirt with a rag or soft cloth.
  • If things are caked on and stuck (as with the microwave at work), heat a bowl of water in your microwave. Steam from the boiling water will soften any fossilized food.

But the easiest way to keep your microwave clean is to wipe up spills and splatters immediately after use.

It’s easy enough to wipe down fresh spills. Cleaning encrusted food demands much more time and effort.

2. Protect your microwave with a surge protector.

As with any electronic device, electrical surges can damage your microwave oven.

Surges occur during storms, changes in the grid, or as the result of wind, fire, or accidents knocking power lines.

Don’t be caught by surprise!

Electrical surges can wreck your microwave’s circuit board and ruin the entire appliance.

Option B is to unplug your microwave when it’s not in use.

With option B, you may also notice a slight drop in your energy bill, and so you may decide to exercise this option with other appliances in your home.

Even when not in use, many appliances use phantom power. They’re sucking electrical juice and driving up your bill.

The bottom line? Protect your microwave from an irregular electricity supply to prolong its life. If you can’t remember or be bothered to unplug appliances, invest in a surge protector or two.

3. Be gentle with the microwave door.

Microwaves are essentially miniature Faraday cages.

A Faraday cage is an enclosure or shield that blocks electromagnetic waves (but you already learned that on the Smithsonian Channel).

The encasement of your microwave contains electromagnetic energy and prevents it from escaping into the kitchen, where it could do serious damage to you and your stuff.

Why the science lesson, you ask?

The door is a precision mechanism that ensures a tight seal.

In other words, it’s something you should be careful with because you don’t want to damage that seal and offer the electromagnetic waves an escape route.

Avoid closing the door with your elbow or forcing the door open while the microwave is still running. Close the door gently. Open it only when the microwave oven has come to a stop.

This will protect the latch mechanism and prevent leakage of electromagnetic waves from the unit.

4. Replace broken or worn parts immediately.

There are several simple parts of a microwave you can replace on your own:

  • The turntable
  • The door latch
  • The light bulb
  • The charcoal filter

If your oven stinks or smells greasy, it’s time to replace the charcoal filter. It’s usually in the grill area of the microwave; the location may vary according to the make and model of your appliance.

As for the repairs you shouldn’t attempt?

If your microwave acts up, won’t heat properly, or won’t even turn on (let’s assume you plugged it back in), call us West Coast Chief.


Following these simple maintenance tips will keep your microwave going strong for years to come. Remember, regular cleaning and care can prevent minor problems from turning into major headaches down the road. So take the time to give your microwave a little TLC today!



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