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General use and cooking articles

Dispel the most popular myths about the dangers of microwaves

Dispel the most popular myths about the dangers of microwaves. These articles do crop up very often. This is quite good although I have had to go through and edit it a bit.

Today they can be found in 95% of households, and we have become accustomed to warming up, reheating or cooking almost any meal without needing the oven or hob. It is convenient, however, there are some myths that just keep bouncing around about how harmful microwave ovens are. Lets dispel those here and now. We've been selling and repairing microwave ovens for over 30 years so we have some experience in their design and use.

How does a microwave work ?

Every microwave oven has a generator of electromagnetic waves called a magnetron. These micro waves cause water or liquid molecules in the oven to oscillate or vibrate, the resulting friction of the molecules against each other produces heat, which is enough to raise the temperature, much the same as rubbing your hands together will make them warm. The most common conductors of this heat are water, fat and sugar. One or more of these are contained in almost everything we want to cook which makes the microwave oven so useful.

Myth 1. Dangerous radiation

Despite the fact that the word "radiation” conjures up dread for many people, the radiation used in the microwave is non ionising radiation, the only thing it can do is cause polarized molecules to vibrate, and as a result produce heat. It is no different to radio and mobile phone signals and despite the myths surrounding those - (a different subject), microwaves are contained inside the oven cavity. It is different from radioactive radiation, which leads to the disintegration of molecules and atoms. Microwave radiation also leaves the structure of the molecules unchanged, so it is quite safe.

Myth 2. You cannot be near a working microwave

Microwave radiation has poor penetrating power and are easily shielded by metal. That is why the walls of microwave ovens are usually made of metal. In this situation the main source of "microwave leakage” is around the door of the microwave oven, so it makes sense to ensure that it is securely closed. For this reason all microwave ovens automatically turn off when the door is opened and cant be started unless the door is latched closed so that the risk of exposure is minimal.

Microwave leakage from an intact microwave oven is so small that it would almost be impossible to measure. We, as microwave technicians check for leakage after every repair. Microwave ovens have so many safety devices that we rarely find any leakage unless there is an obvious fault on the oven. Customers concerns are more often based around other aspects of the running microwave, electrical noise created by the components inside, steam or condensation being produced by the food cooking or general mechanical rattles and noises.

Myth 3. Microwaves damages the food

The only thing a microwave can do with food is to heat it. Therefore, the only changes that can occur are associated with the processes occurring during heating of food. When you use the microwave, they are no different from those that occur when cooking or frying.

It is known that heat treatment reduces the content of vitamins and other nutrients: fresh fruits and vegetables healthier than cooked. However, the microwave has a small advantage because the food in it is cooked faster and vitamins are retained better. Studies have shown that when cooking in a microwave oven better retains most water-soluble vitamins (such as B1, B2, folic acid). This is because in microwave the food is cooked "dry”, without immersion in boiling water which "washes out” some of the vitamins.

There is no reason to think that using a microwave can harm you. However, it makes sense to remember a few simple precautions that will help you safely use your microwave.


Do not use cheap plastic containers that are not designed for microwave use ( chinese takeaway or butter tubs). When heated, they may release harmful substances (such as BPA's). It is best to use microwave safe specific containers or glass (pyrex).

Be careful. The food or drink you are heating will get hot. Thats what you want it to do. Expect to need oven gloves if you have been cooking for a while. The microwave itself produces a lot of heat so may well become very hot to the touch.

Created On  30 May 2017 16:59 in General use and cooking articles  -  Permalink

Guest Check out now available

We have just added the option of Guest checkout to our checkout pages. This requires our customers to enter the minimum amount of information to place an order. It will speed up the order process for kitchenwareonline customers by allowing an order to go through with just the delivery name and address and contact email required. if a customer is definitely only going to order once it may save some time. Certainly with full registration ( which only actually requires the addition of a password) we can retain your order history and deal with any issues arising from previous orders quicker. 

As it happens, to date, we haven't been able to make use of any customer data for marketing purposes anyway so there it was unlikely customers would be affected by spam mails from us although we have always had the option when registering not be kept up to date (put on a mailing list).

We hope of course that guest checkout will make Kitchenwareonline even quicker and easier to use for everyone.

Created On  15 May 2017 17:05 in General use and cooking articlesProduct information  -  Permalink

Kitchenwareonline now SSL secure

We are pleased to announce that we now have an SSL certificate for Kitchenwareonline.com.

Although we already have a huge amount of security in place provided by Actinic who built and host our website, we have added to your peace of mind by adding an SSL certificate.

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. This ensures that the link between your browser and our website on Actinics server is a secure connection, that the link between our information on the site and any information you see or enter is not compromised.

This is qualified when you visit our site by the annotation at the start of the address bar in green with a green padlock. Google is helping its customers (anyone who browses using google chrome) by showing whether a site is secure by showing this information at the start of every web address. - You can see this above now. Experts think that up to two thirds of websites currently do not have this SSL and therefore potentially not be as secure as they could be.

This is not quite the same as the certificates that websites show, that they are secure for taking payments. We have chosen not to try and invest in making the site secure enough to take payments. This is hugely complicated and expensive. Instead we use a payment gateway. This means that when you are ready to commit to make a payment for an order on our website you will be redirected to an extremely secure site (or payment gateway). In our case we use Sagepay. Sagepay in turn run all of the security checks and process your payment for us. They in turn pass you back to our shop and behind the scenes tell us that they have received your payment on our behalf and to go ahead and process your order. When you choose your payment method you can choose Sagepay or Paypal who of course have their own security methods, but again, process payments for us.

For us this is great because we don't have to worry about any of your payment details and the security aspect of storing those. We have nothing to do with your payment details, they are all dealt with by the payment gateway who in turn go to great lengths to keep your details secure.

We hope this brief explanation offers further confidence for our customers. We will continue to take advice from Actinic and from Google on the best way to offer the best service for all of our customers.

Created On  12 Apr 2017 10:16 in Technical and repair articlesGeneral use and cooking articles  -  Permalink

Heating plates in the microwave

Just recently I have had a few phone calls from customers who have damaged their microwave by using it to warm plates.

In a nutshell, don't use your microwave to warm plates.

Very briefly, microwave ovens work by emitting microwave energy into the oven. This in turn agitates water molecules in the food or drink in the oven. The friction of those molecules creates heat and - hey presto - hot food is the result.

Plates have very few if any water molecules in or on them, therefore if you only put plates in the oven, the microwaves will bounce around the oven looking for something to absorb them. Eventually, something else in the oven will get warm. it might be the plastic roller ring, the mica waveguide cover or any plastic parts of the inner door.

It may be that you have been doing this for a while with no problem, this could be due to a number of factors such as the quality or type of plate. Some cookware may have moisture inside which more readily absorbs the microwaves, whereas some cookware will be completely invisible to microwaves (this wont get warm at all).

On a few occasions problems have occurred where the microwave is a replacement microwave and is either much more powerful than the last or through its design is less tolerant of microwave energy bouncing around inside.

Either way, if the microwave is used for heating plates eventually some damage will occur. The plates could break. The microwave oven might even end up cooking itself ultimately which will of course result in costly repairs or replacement.

If you really want to use your microwave to heat plates try putting a bowl of water on top of the plates so that most of the energy will be absorbed or if your microwave is a combi oven warm the plates with the grill of convection instead. It may take 5 minutes instead of 1 minute but wont affect the microwave in any way.

Created On  27 Feb 2017 15:35 in General use and cooking articles  -  Permalink

Using aluminium foil containers in the Microwave Oven

We are regularly asked about the use of foil containers in the microwave. Many shops supply frozen or chilled prepacked meals that can be reheated or cooked either in a conventional oven or in a microwave oven.

They can, but with great caution unless familiar.

Aluminium is a metal so cannot be penetrated by microwave energy. This means that any microwaves are only absorbed through the top (open) part of the container to a depth of only about 3 cms. The aluminium effectively shields the sides and base of the of the food from overheating. This can be very useful when making delicate sauces.

Because aluminium is an excellent conductor of heat ( that’s why a lot of conventional cookware is made of aluminium) any heat in potential hot spots will be transferred around the container so more even heating can be achieved.

By far the greater benefits are:

That food can be cooked in the container rather than it needing to be transferred to a non metallic container.

Food toppings can be finished under the grill or browned as part of a combination oven cooking cycle.

foil trays

foil trays

In order to achieve best results and at the same time avoid damaging the microwave, these simple guidelines should be followed carefully.

Use only shallow foil containers, no deeper than 3 cms.

Use singly in the centre of the microwave glass tray to avoid getting too close to the oven sides.

Do not use foil or foil lined lids (if the food is completely encased in aluminium it wont heat at all.)

If there are no special instructions  for cooking in foil trays increase cook time by 10%.

Do not use bent or damaged foil trays. Clean and dispose (recycle) them.

Do use normal precautions and stir microwaved food and ensure that it is piping hot before serving.
Created On  27 Feb 2017 15:17 in General use and cooking articles  -  Permalink

Is this dish safe for use in my microwave?

This is one area where we find a lot of confusion: what sorts of plates, bowls and dishes can be used in a microwave without harming them?
Most cookware or tableware these days will be marked as microwave safe; but beware of anything with a gold or silver coloured trim or patterning, these won't damage the microwave but you can get some spectacular "fireworks" from the shiny trim (and damage the utensil too).

Here's a link to a useful guide on how to tell if a utensil is microwave safe: http://www.fitnessandfreebies.com/food/cooking/dish.html
Created On  9 Jun 2014 14:40 in General use and cooking articles  -  Permalink