Dear Home-Ec 101,
There has always been a bit of rust spots along the bottom of the micro door, but just now I noticed it’s suddenly become quite extensive. I wiped it, shut the door & reopened it, and rust dust was spreading around. Barring the question of microwave safety in general, is it still safe to use? I only use it for reheating the occasional steak or cup of coffee, or steaming a package of green beans. Which does, by the way, create a LOT of steam, which may be why it’s gotten so rusty.
P.S. You can see it clearly in the picture.
I’ve written previously about how microwaves work, they act as boxes that keep the microwaves in a confined area. IF the rust were to reach a point where it compromised the integrity of the door, there would be a potential for microwaves to escape. Now, don’t freak out, they aren’t going to chase you down the hall, out the door, and down the street, but it is something you don’t necessarily want to expose yourself to.
The Michigan State University Extension says:
If there are signs of rusting inside the oven, have the oven repaired.
Cosmetic surface rust is not a safety issue, but don’t ignore it either.
I did a quick search for appliance parts and it does not seem as though the door is replaceable, however I may be mistaken. I would call your local appliance repair store to be sure. Since I tend to run on the very conservative side, I would begin looking for a replacement microwave.
To prevent rust from occurring in your replacement microwave, leave the door ajar after cooking or cleaning to allow the moisture a chance to escape. Wiping down the door and cavity walls of the unit with a dry towel would also help prevent the problem. But just knowing how hard it is for some people to cover their food while using the microwave, I can see how most would balk at the idea of ANOTHER extra step.
Submit your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.