April 20, 2007 06:00 ET Provides Consumer Tips for Microwave Ovens

Why Keeping the Inside Clean Saves Energy, Prolongs Life

CANTON, MI -- (MARKET WIRE) -- April 20, 2007 --Office workers have all seen it: the neglected microwave oven that contains the remnants of many lunch explosions. Microwave ovens cook fast, are convenient and are relatively inexpensive -- which means they're often taken for granted and not treated as well as other appliances. Can they be repaired if they fail? What about replacing broken parts?

If a microwave oven stops working, Chris Hall, president of, recommends that consumers not dismantle them: "There are some high-voltage components inside the unit so we don't advise the average consumer to attempt internal repairs. But years of fielding consumer questions about microwave ovens means that we can offer some important use and safety tips, as well as provide those appliance parts that can be replaced."

Common microwave oven problems

Here are some areas can need attention, and some easy fixes:

--  Broken door handles. A common casualty in the
    appliance ER: disconnected door handles and snapped door latches -- the
    result of door slamming and jerking. Never operate a microwave if the door
    will not close properly.
    What to do: If the door handle, latches, hinges or the frame that surrounds
    the microwave oven are broken, they can easily be replaced. After any door
    repairs, check to make sure the door aligns properly with the microwave
--  Was it chili, soup or a hotdog? Today's powerful microwaves can result
    in some messy food explosions inside the oven. It's important to keep the
    interior of a microwave clean because particles of food that remain inside
    the unit actually absorb energy each time the oven is used, resulting in
    hot-spots inside the unit. It's particularly important to keep the plastic
    panel inside the microwave clean (it's normally located on the ceiling or
    What to do: Wash off any food splatter from the plastic panel to prevent
    damage and improve efficiency.
--  Units over stoves require extra care. Many households today have
    microwaves that are mounted over the cooktop, providing the dual function
    of microwave oven and venting of heat, steam and smoke from the stove
    beneath. Nowadays, with glass cooktops increasingly popular, it's a common
    occurrence for a hot container to be dropped as its being removed from the
    microwave and to shatter the glass cooktop. Watch out! Luckily, also sells replacement cooktops.

Top microwave maintenance tips

1. Microwave cleaner. Clean the inside of your microwave frequently. Food particles and splatters absorb some of the microwave energy while the unit is operating and may cause burns and other damage to the microwave. You can clean the interior with soap and water or some diluted vinegar to help remove food odors. Commercial microwave oven cleaners are also available.

2. It matters what the food is placed on. Microwaves use special components to ensure food is cooked evenly. Broken trays, dishes and turntables should be replaced.

3. Running on empty. Never operate a microwave oven without food or liquid inside it. Microwave ovens heat by bombarding the food or liquid in the oven with high-frequency microwave energy. If there's no food or liquid in the oven to absorb the microwave energy, it can feed back to the microwave itself, permanently damaging the internal components. provides tools and parts for all brands of microwave ovens, along with some additional maintenance and cleaning tips here:

About® was founded in 1999 with the idea that armed with the right advice, tools and parts, savvy consumers can extend the life of their appliances, save money, and conserve the environment. Consumers can visit for free appliance-repair help, or call a customer service representative at (800) 269-2609 for help locating specific parts.

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