Technician working in a microwave to deal with a rust issue.

Great Beginner Tips To Deal With Rust In A Microwave?

Rust may be a good color to utilize to bring panache to muted-toned deco, to add flair to burned orange accented art, or to bring some oomph to any neutral color palette. Some rust I suppose can work for a vintage look however, rust really is like a weed that kills healthy plants over time. The weird analogy I know, but think about it. 

While rust itself isn’t necessarily harmful, just a sign that your appliance may be deteriorating. If left unchecked, rust could cause serious damage to your microwave and make it unsafe to use. Hence my analogy, a weed wears away a plant over time just as rust corrodes metal. So be sure to always take care of your ‘weeds’. So, read on for tips to deal with rust in a microwave

How do microwave ovens work?

Microwave ovens are a kitchen staple in many households [1], but how do they work? Microwave ovens use electromagnetic radiation to heat food. The microwaves cause the water molecules in the food to vibrate, which creates friction and heat. The microwaves are produced by a magnetron (not Megatron, it will not transform into a killer robot ha-ha), which is a tube that contains electrons.

When the electrons collide with the metal walls of the tube, they create electromagnetic waves. These waves are then sent into the oven chamber, where they bounce around until they are absorbed by the food [2]. In addition to heating food, microwave ovens can also be used to cook or defrost it. However, microwave ovens should not be used to cook or reheat meat, as this can lead to bacteria growth.

With proper care and usage, microwave ovens can be a safe and convenient way to prepare food.

How does rust form in a microwave?

Rust generally forms when there’s a reaction between iron and oxygen in the presence of water [3]. You can see this process happening when iron pipes corrode or when metal objects turn reddish-brown in color. When water molecules come into contact with iron, they start to break down the metal. This process is known as corrosion.

The water molecules oxidize the iron, which gives rust its red or brown color. Over time, this process will continue until the metal object is completely consumed by rust. When it comes to microwaves, rust generally forms on the door seal and the surface of the microwave itself. The moisture from cooking can condense on these surfaces and interact with any residual iron particles. This interaction will eventually lead to rust starting to form.

In some cases, people have even found rust inside their microwaves. This is usually the result of using metal utensils or cooking containers that are not microwave-safe. When these items are placed in the microwave, they can cause small sparks that can interact with moisture, leading to rust formation.

Okay, that is enough of the technical stuff, what does it mean for you and me mere mortals? Rust on the exterior surface of a microwave is not necessarily bad, however, when that rust spreads and penetrates the interior of the microwave then it could pose harm [4].

Inside of a microwave showing the early formation of rust.

Tips to deal with rust in a microwave

1. Disconnect the microwave from the plug socket

Always unplug your appliances when doing any form of maintenance on them. Also, where your microwave is connected currently, may not be the most practical place to perform this procedure. Once unplugged, place the microwave in a position that will expose the rusted area in an unobstructed manner. 

2. Commence with the preparation works

It is advisable to use cleaning materials that are not too abrasive. The idea is to treat the rust inside the microwave, not to aggravate it. Using a damp cloth, wipe and remove all food and liquid debris from the microwave. Another important point is – do not use any cleaning chemicals at this point as they may react with the rust, making it more difficult to remediate or treat the issue. 

3. Apply a rust-removing agent

There are a few rust removal agents that you can use for your microwave. Just make sure to follow the instructions carefully and take all the necessary precautions. Alternatively, you could try some of these homemade agents as well:

  • Undiluted white vinegar – Vinegar is a popular choice for many rust removal projects because it is so inexpensive and easy to find. Just soak a rust-covered area in vinegar for 24 hours and then scrub it with a non-abrasive scourer. The acid in the vinegar will eat away at the rust, making it easy to remove or treat at least.
Baking soda and vinegar in bottles with a half a lemon in front.
  • Baking soda paste – Baking soda is not as effective as undiluted vinegar, and from experience, baking soda works well with lightly rusted surfaces and thin metal types. So, if your rust is minor, then proceed to apply a baking soda paste to the affected area for an hour or so. Wipe it off with a non-abrasive scourer until the area is smooth and free from rust.

Note: if the area is too rusted or has holes the size of pinheads, then it would be best to get rid of the microwave. If your microwave is fairly new (less than a year old) and has started to rust, then you should enquire from the manufacturer, as it may be possible that the inside of the microwave was not properly protected. 

4. Clean and apply the final protection layer

Give the inside and outside areas of the microwave a good wipe down, making sure you have removed all the traces of loose rust or debris. Allow the affected areas to breathe and wait till the microwave has dried out completely. 

Now, apply microwave-safe paint to the exposed patches to ensure that the entire area is blended and looking good as new. Follow the product instructions and make sure that the paint has dried completely, before using the microwave again. 

A lady showing a sign that she is happy applying tips to deal with rust in a microwave.

How are you finding these tips to deal with rust in a microwave oven? Do let us know in the comments.

FAQs: Dealing with rust in a microwave oven

How do I prevent my microwave from rusting?

Here are a few prevention tips to deal with rust in a microwave before it appears:

1. Keep the inside and outside of your microwave clean. Wipe up spills immediately and clean the exterior regularly with a damp cloth.

2. Don’t use harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaning pads on the interior or exterior of your microwave. These can damage the finish and cause rusting.

3. If your microwave does rust, don’t panic. Just clean it off with a mixture of water and vinegar. Apply the mixture to a soft cloth and scrub gently until the rust is gone. You may need to do this a few times to get rid of all the rust.

4. Once the rust is gone, dry the area well with a soft cloth. Then apply a thin layer of cooking oil to help prevent rust from forming again.

A microwave is a marvel in terms of kitchen functionality however, it is important to know your microwave’s pros & cons.

Rust in microwave oven – is it dangerous?

You may have noticed some rust in your microwave oven and are wondering if it’s dangerous. The answer isn’t as simple as yes or no. While ingesting rust isn’t toxic, and inhaling it poses no known health risks, it can still be harmful in certain situations.

For example, if the rust is coming from the heating coils, it could be contaminating your food. Rust can also build up on the door seal, preventing it from sealing properly.

If you’re concerned about rust in your microwave, it’s best to consult a qualified technician for advice.

Which microwave does not rust?

While all microwaves will eventually rust even convection microwave ovens, there are some that are more resistant than others. Stainless steel microwaves are the best at resisting rust, followed by those with a porcelain interior.

If you live in an area with high humidity, you may also want to consider investing in a dehumidifier to help keep your microwave dry. Rust is more than just a cosmetic issue – it can also lead to electrical problems and even fires.

So if you’re looking for a microwave that will stand the test of time, make sure to choose one that won’t rust easily.

What can I put in my microwave to prevent rust?

An unhappy woman who cannot understand why her new microwave has started to rust.

I have a confession to make; I abused my microwave. I am one of those people who does everything in the microwave. Popcorn, frozen anything, leftovers to warming takeout – you name it, I nuke it 🙂 And as a result, my once shiny appliance tends to become dull and covered in rust spots. If you’re dealing with the same problem, don’t despair-there are a few things you can put in your microwave to prevent rust.

One option is to place a dryer sheet on the turntable, the sheet will absorb any moisture that gets into the microwave. It helps because as mentioned above rust needs moisture to oxidize.

Another option you can try is placing a lemon slice on a plate and microwaving it for two minutes then leaving it to steam for another 5 minutes before wiping your microwave dry. The citric acid in the lemon will help to clean and deodorize (smells amazing!) the surface of your appliance.

If you’re dealing with a rusty microwave, don’t panic! There are a few things you can do to fix the problem. By following the simple tips to deal with rust in a microwave that is mentioned further in up this article, you can keep your appliance looking like new for years to come.

Why is the paint bubbling in microwave?

If you’ve ever noticed paint bubbling in your microwave, you may have wondered why this happens. It turns out that paint bubbling is a result of microwaves exciting the molecules in the paint (sounds like a tragic love story, right?). This causes the molecules to vibrate and expand, resulting in the formation of bubbles.

While this may seem harmless, it can actually cause damage to the paint and the microwave. The bubbles can cause the paint to flake off or rust and they can also block the microwaves from entering the food. As a result, it’s important to be careful when using microwaves with painted surfaces.

Before you go….

If your microwave is starting to show its age, don’t despair. With a little elbow grease and these tips to deal with rust in a microwave, you can have it looking shiny and new in no time. If all else fails, remember that rust is only cosmetic and won’t affect the performance of your appliance.

Whatever you do, don’t panic – with a little TLC, even the rustiest microwaves can be brought back to their former glory.

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Charlene Gallant

Charlene is a lover of good food. She enjoys nothing more than cooking up a storm in the kitchen and sharing her favourite recipes with her readers. She also enjoys reading a good book.

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