How does a microwave oven work?

In this brief article, we will provide you with the answer to the question: “How does a microwave oven work?”, discuss if microwave radiation can harm our health and what can happen when you put metal inside the microwave while baking. We will also discuss some tips to use the microwave oven safely and how to clean this equipment.

How does a microwave oven work?

Microwaves drive water molecules to revolve around themselves 2.45 billion times each second, following the magnetron’s 2.45 GHz frequency. This is electromagnetic radiation. 

This movement produces heat, which warms the meal. It is critical to understand that microwaves only heat water, fat, or sugar molecules. Because energy is not wasted heating the air, bowls, and plates in which the food is enclosed, this results in high energy efficiency.

Can microwave electromagnetic radiation cause damage to our health?  

The metallic inner box and the grill in the oven door, which appears like a screen and is adjacent to the glass, shelter the product, preventing microwave radiation from leaking from the oven. Another layer of protection is the technology that prevents the microwave oven from operating with the door open.

It is important to emphasize that the microwave generates radiation from electrical energy, having no radioactive material in its interior.

Besides that, microwaves radiation is non-ionizing, such as visible light and radio frequency (RF) radiation. Non-ionizing radiation does not have enough energy to knock electrons out of atoms, so it does not cause damage to cells in organic matter, like X-ray, an example of ionizing radiation.  

What happens if you put metal on the microwave?

We know that we can not put metal inside the microwave while baking, but a lot of us do not know what is the reason for this. When the microwave’s electromagnetic field collides with metal, it generates large electrical currents. The metal will overheat, and electrical charges will escape into the air, resulting in sparks that might harm the oven.

What are the tips for using the microwave oven safely?

Tip 1: Do not use metals

Metal objects should never be placed in the microwave. This, of course, is one of the most important tips while using a microwave oven. When waves collide with metallic items, sparks are produced, which can create fires and explosions in addition to causing damage to the equipment.

Tip 2: Be cautious with drinks

When heating water or other liquids in the microwave, be careful. When they are withdrawn from the device, they can boil and actually erupt out of the container, perhaps resulting in severe burns. When boiling liquids, always use closed containers.

Tip 3: Put on gloves

This is very important to avoid burns. Another reason is because we generally use glass containers, they might become wet from the heat vapors and become slippery, causing accidents.

Tip 4: Pay attention when installing your microwave oven

When installing your microwave, set it at a convenient height. It will be difficult to manage the containers, especially those carrying liquids if you set them too high.

Tip 5: Beware of potency

All microwave recipes provide information on cooking time and potency. Remember that wattages vary based on the brand and type of the device. To keep your dish from “burning,” keep an eye on it and check to see if everything is fine during the cooking process.

How to clean the microwave?

How to Clean a Microwave with Lemon?

Fill a refractory with 120ml of water; Cut the lemon in halves and strain the juice into the glass – combine the two squeezed halves

3 minutes on high power in the microwave. Wait 5 minutes before opening the microwave door – the steam from the lemon water aids with the removal of debris and food residues. Then simply brush a clean towel over everything to remove any excess dirt.

How to Clean a Microwave with Dishwasher Detergent?

In the event of lighter filth, the detergent can be used in the microwave cleaning procedure. The simplest method is to follow the instructions in the previous tutorials: place the water and detergent combination in a bowl and microwave it for 1 minute. Then just remove the refractory and use a sponge to wipe the interior.

What may be used to clean microwave burns?

The microwave might grow yellowed and scorched with time.This follow guide can help you to clean it:

Place 1/2 cup of alcohol vinegar and 1/2 cup of water in the microwave; heat the mixture for two minutes on high power. Continue to microwave the solution for 5 minutes.

Soak the sponge in water and squeeze away the excess; Use a moist cloth followed by a dry cloth to complete the cleaning process.


In this brief article, we provided you with the answer to the question: “How does a microwave oven work?”, discussed if microwave radiation can harm our health and what can happen when you put metal inside the microwave while baking. We also discussed some tips to use the microwave oven safely and how to clean this equipment.


Health, Center for Devices and Radiological. “Microwave Oven Radiation.” FDA, February 9, 2019.

Blog WebContinental. “Micro-ondas: Dicas de segurança,” December 13, 2013.

Commissioner, Office of the. “5 Tips for Using Your Microwave Oven Safely.” FDA, September 9, 2020.

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.