What are 5 rules for using a microwave oven? Explained

The 5 rules for using a microwave oven are: use microwave-safe containers, cover the food, avoid metal and aluminum foil, stir and rotate the food, and follow the instructions. These rules will help you to cook your food safely and evenly, and prevent any damage to your microwave oven. Let’s look at each rule in detail.

Use microwave-safe containers

Not all containers are suitable for microwave cooking. Some materials, such as plastic, paper, and glass, can melt, burn, or explode when exposed to high temperatures. To avoid this, use containers that are labeled as microwave-safe, such as ceramic, porcelain, or silicone. These containers are designed to withstand the heat and radiation of the microwave oven, and will not leach harmful chemicals into your food.

Cover the food

Covering the food with a lid, a plate, or a paper towel will help to trap the steam and moisture, and prevent the food from drying out or splattering. This will also help to cook the food faster and more evenly, as the heat will be distributed throughout the food. Make sure to leave a small gap or vent for the steam to escape, and avoid using plastic wrap, as it can melt or create a vacuum seal.

Avoid metal and aluminum foil

Metal and aluminum foil are not compatible with microwave ovens, as they can reflect the microwaves and cause sparks, fires, or damage to the oven. This can also affect the cooking time and quality of the food, as the microwaves will not be able to penetrate the metal or foil. Therefore, avoid using any metal utensils, dishes, or pans, and remove any metal clips, staples, or rings from the food packaging before microwaving.

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Stir and rotate the food

Microwave ovens do not heat the food uniformly, as some areas may receive more or less microwaves than others. This can result in hot spots and cold spots, which can affect the taste and texture of the food, and also pose a risk of foodborne illness. To prevent this, stir and rotate the food halfway through the cooking time, or use a turntable if your microwave oven has one. This will help to distribute the heat evenly and ensure that the food is cooked thoroughly.

Follow the instructions

Different foods require different cooking times and power levels, depending on their size, shape, and composition. To avoid overcooking or undercooking your food, follow the instructions on the food package, recipe, or microwave oven manual. If you are unsure, start with a lower power level and a shorter cooking time, and check the food frequently. You can also use a food thermometer to measure the internal temperature of the food, and make sure that it reaches the safe minimum level.


Microwave ovens are convenient and versatile appliances that can help you to prepare your food quickly and easily. However, they also have some limitations and risks that you need to be aware of. By following these 5 rules for using a microwave oven, you can ensure that your food is cooked safely and evenly, and that your microwave oven is maintained in good condition.