There’s a widely-held belief that the microwaves in microwave ovens kill germs. This isn’t really true, and it has consequences for cleaning the microwave, which you should do as often as you would with any other appliance that comes into contact with food. It’s not actually microwave energy that kills germs, but – like other cooking methods – heat. The heat comes from the water in the food, which microwaves heat up. If meat, say, isn’t cooked enough, even salmonella can survive the time in the microwave and cause illness when you eat the food.
If your microwave has gone a while since it was last cleaned, food residues and particles from cooking splatters or vapours tend to stick around inside. Because these residues no longer contain any water, they aren’t heated when the microwave is used – so they aren’t sterile either, as you can imagine. Germs like salmonella or listeria can be alive and well in your microwave, and end up contaminating even properly-cooked food.
Getting microwaves clean with chemicals and home-made remedies is problematic
It can take quite a bit of effort to remove stubborn dirt from a microwave. Many home-grown techniques exist and claim to give a hygienic result in a fraction of the time. Most are based on the idea of adding either lemon juice or vinegar to a cup of water. You then put the cup in the microwave and heat on full power for about two minutes. The water starts to boil, producing steam which condenses on the inside of the microwave. This warm water and the added lemon juice or vinegar are supposed to dissolve stubborn dirt and disinfect the affected areas.
However, there’s a misconception here, which could have serious consequences for your health: the condensation simply won’t be hot enough to kill germs. It immediately cools to the temperature of the microwave when it makes contact with the inside walls. This might be enough to loosen some of the less persistent dirt, but you’ll still need to go over it with a sponge or a cloth. And when you do, you’ll also spread the germs all over the inside of the microwave.
Despite being completely inadequate, this method is so popular that you can even buy specially-made containers shaped like funny characters to put the water in instead of a cup or a bowl. These “microwave cleaners” might make a nice present, but they don’t do anything for hygiene in the microwave.
Alternatively, you can buy chemical cleaners specifically for microwaves to ensure cleanliness and hygiene. Depending on the ingredients, some of them do work, but at great cost to the environment – and potentially to your health. Of course, household cleaners undergo tests on their effectiveness and safety before they’re sold, so from this perspective, nobody needs to worry about being exposed to danger by the manufacturers.
However, the actual use of these cleaners can cause health problems for sensitive people or people with allergies. Cleaning agents are always tested in standardised laboratory conditions to make sure they’re safe around humans – but, naturally, on the assumption that they won’t be ingested. But the everyday use of these cleaners frequently leads to situations, often without you realising, that could be called incorrect usage – though in reality, they’re just part of daily life in cleaning the kitchen, bathroom, and living areas.
When you wipe or spray chemical cleaners onto the inside of the microwave, they have to be completely removed once they’ve had time to act. But wiping by hand with a cloth or a sponge doesn’t guarantee complete removal – especially in the hustle and bustle of most people’s kitchens. As a result, traces of the cleaning agent remain in the microwave and dry out there – apart from with volatile, easily-evaporated substances, which get into the air even during the cleaning process.
If you then use the microwave, the traces of chemical dissolve in the condensation that forms on the inside. They can now end up getting onto the food, and from there into your body. Do you really want to overlook the fact that although the amount of cleaner is very small, you’re exposing yourself to it very frequently – and if you use chemicals a lot, throughout the house too?
Steam, but doing it right: cleaning microwaves without chemicals
The simplest alternative, which completely sterilises your microwave while saving you time and effort, is to dry steam clean it, because the high temperature of dry steam both removes all kinds of dirt and disinfects at the same time. If you add a vacuum function to a dry steam cleaner, you get a cleaning machine that takes away the steam and the loosened dirt straight away – no wiping up required!
We have just such a machine in our range – the Noel Mondo. The Noel Mondo combines a dry steam cleaner, a vacuum cleaner and even an air cleaner to make a universal cleaning machine for the whole home. You can clean your microwave in minutes like this: fit the steam wand – one of the attachments that comes with the Noel Mondo – to the combined steam and vacuum hose. The steam wand turns the Noel Mondo’s ergonomic handgrip into a powerful cleaning device, enabling you to effortlessly reach surfaces and corners in your microwave. From the handgrip, you can switch on the vacuum function as well and go over all the surfaces and corners to be cleaned. At a temperature of 147°C, the dry steam dissolves even stubborn dirt straight away, and germs don’t stand a chance.
At the same time, the Noel Mondo vacuums up the steam and the dirt and passes it into the hygienic water dust filter. This is just one part of the Noel Mondo’s powerful filtration system, which includes a particulates filter too. Your microwave is cleaned in no time and the inside is left completely clean and dry. Getting rid of the water from the filter after use is simple – just pour it away! It really is that quick and easy to clean your microwave with just the power of water, and no chemicals.
Hygiene throughout the house
The Noel Mondo shows its full abilities wherever you use it in the home. Its accessories arm it for any cleaning battle, even where a cloth, a scrubbing brush, or a normal vacuum would be defeated. Getting your kitchen completely germ-free is only one of the Noel Mondo’s strengths. It’s just as thorough and saves you just as much work in the bathroom, even giving you complete limescale removal without using any chemicals. In all living areas, it enables you to get difficult cleaning jobs done in a single speedy step. For example, you can get even the most persistent stains out of carpets and upholstery just by switching the steam on for a moment while you vacuum. You can master any cleaning task with the Noel Mondo, without any chemicals, cloths or effort.