Microwaves offer efficiency that’s impossible to ignore. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore cleaning them! In fact, as easy as it is to heat up your leftovers or cook up some veggies, it’s pretty quick to wipe it down after every use. But there’s an even bigger reason to clean this kitchen appliance after every use than to keep it sparkling to the naked eye. And your health will thank you too!
According to a swab study completed by Kimberly Clark, which surveyed almost 5,000 locations in a variety of office settings, 48 percent of the microwave door handles tested had adenosine triphosphate (ATP) counts of 300 or higher. ATP is a molecule that provides the energy needed for living things. It’s also used to measure how dirty something is. An ATP count of 300 or higher represents a surface that’s at high risk of transmitting illness.
Further research found the presence of E. coli inside a swabbed microwave. Of the study, Dr. Julie Torruellas-Garcia, who analyzed the samples, said: “We use it [the microwave] to cook our food, but also to defrost meat. Raw meats carry bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella. Sometimes, the food splatters around the microwave and we don’t always clean it.”
Keeping food from spilling in your microwave may not be easy, but clean-up sure is. By wiping down your microwave (including the exterior handle) after each use, you stop a bacterial breeding ground in its tracks. To get the job done, you can simply use warm water and mild soap.
For a “deeper” clean, grab 1/2 cup of water, 1/2 cup of white vinegar, a microwave safe bowl and a damp sponge or microfiber cloth. Place the water and vinegar in the bowl, and microwave on high until the window steams up and the mixture boils. Let the microwave cool for a few minutes, then wipe down.