Microwave Door: 7 Question Answered

Categorized as Microwave Repair and Troubleshooting
opening microwave door

We all know that one of the cardinal sins when it comes to microwaving is opening the door while the food is cooking. But why? What happens if you do? And is there any way to prevent your food from getting cold if you need to open the door? I’ll answer these questions and more below.

1. What Is The Function of The Grating On The Door of a Microwave Oven?

When you open your microwave door, you may be surprised to find that there is a metal grate on the inside of the door.

This grate is used to reflect microwaves back into the oven so that they don’t escape. Without it, microwaves could potentially be able to pass all the way through the glass door, exposing you to harmful radiation.

The holes in the grate are small enough that the microwaves can’t pass through them, but visible light can. This is why you can see into the oven while the food is cooking through those little holes.

To keep the grate in good condition, it’s essential to give it a good cleaning every once in a while. If too much food residue builds up on the grate, it can keep the grate from properly reflecting off of the microwaves.

As a result, the microwaves could pass all the way through the door seal, exposing you to radiation.

2. Is It Safe To Open a Microwave While It’s Running?

The safety shut-off in microwaves is a crucial feature that helps to prevent accidents. If the door is opened while the microwave is running, a series of circuit interrupts inside the unit are activated and cause the microwave oven to shut down.

Once the power is cut, the microwaves stop bouncing around almost immediately. In fact, they dissipate very quickly, within a microsecond. So I can tell you from a pure safety point of view, it is relatively safe to open the door while the microwave is running.

We do see this quite a lot in high-use kitchen environments, like restaurants, where operators do not wait for the microwave ovens to complete their cycle. They do this to quicken their turnover of items.

The risk, however, is that if you open the door while the microwave is running, you are destructively interrupting the power circuit. This can cause damage to your microwave oven over time, albeit it may take years to render the unit inoperable.

While such practice may be justifiable in high-use kitchen circumstances, I would not recommend it in a home setting. For you, it’s a better idea to use the “off” button. This will prolong the life of your microwave oven.

3. Do You Leave The Microwave Oven Door Open or Closed When Not In Use?

Leaving the microwave oven door open when not in use is not recommended because, on many microwaves, the light will stay on while the door is open. This shortens the life of the light.

If you’ve just cooked something, it’s okay to leave the door open for a short time so that the steam can dissipate. Then simply wipe down the inside and close the door.

Don’t neglect to wipe down the inside of the microwave oven after each use. Even if it may seem trivial, the accumulation of spilled food and liquid will eventually cause rust stains on the door and the interior of the microwave oven.

4. What Would Happen If You Ran A Microwave Oven With The Door Open?

Do you know what would happen if you run a microwave oven with the door open? Chances are, you have an opinion on the matter. This topic has become a debate in many forums, as people argue about the potential dangers of doing so.

Some say that it’s perfectly safe to run a microwave with the door open, as long as you’re not standing too close to it. Others believe that there is a real danger of being injured by the powerful microwaves emitted by the oven. So which is it? Is it safe to run a microwave with the door open or not?

After scouring different websites, forums, and other resources, I found that most people agree that running a microwave oven with the door open is not safe.

The main danger of running a microwave oven with the door open is that the microwaves will escape from the oven and turn your whole kitchen into a cooking zone, which would be very dangerous to anyone standing in close proximity to it.

But the danger is not like most people think it is.

You won’t mutate or incur genetic damage from exposure to microwaves. The oven emits radiation at a not ionizing frequency, meaning that the energy levels are not high enough to damage your DNA.

That being said, the danger of running a microwave oven with the door open is not nil.

Even though you might not die from the radiation, the microwaves that are being released by the oven can cause serious damage to your body, which may not be immediately felt, but it will manifest as a painful internal burn after repeated exposure.

And since you can’t rub ointment on your inner muscles, you can imagine how painful it would be.

But the danger is not just limited to you.

Any pets or children standing in the beam will suffer more as they have lower body mass than adults and therefore may receive more radiation per pound of body weight.

5. Door or Open/Close Door Keeps Appearing in the Display

Many people seem to have this problem with their microwave ovens. The door or open/close door keeps appearing in the display even after you close the door of your microwave oven.

The first thing you should do if your microwave oven is displaying the door or open/close door message is to open the door, close it, and start the cycle again.

If the message is still displayed, then you want to check for the following:

  • Check and clean any soil build up around the door.
  • Make sure that no packing material is blocking the door lock system.
  • Check that the cooking rack is placed in the correct position and not interfering with the door closing.
  • Finally, check if the microwave oven is placed on a flat and level surface that will not block the door from opening or closing.

6. Why Is There Steam Coming Out Of Microwave Door?

As you cook food in your microwave, it’s normal to see steam or vapor coming from around the door. The manufacturer has purposely designed the microwave door this way so that steam can escape to prevent overheating of the unit.

It’s also normal to see some condensation between the door panels, especially when cooking high moisture content foods like vegetables, soups, and stews. This is why manufacturers recommend letting the door stand open for approximately fifteen minutes to help the moisture dissipate.

Otherwise, you may get a build-up of condensation on the outside of the door and cabinet which could lead to rusting and water damage.

However, remember that the condensation should dissipate in about ten to fifteen minutes. If it doesn’t, that may indicate a problem with the microwave.

7. How to Fix a Loose Door on Your Microwave?

Repairing the loose, hanging microwave door is fairly simple if you know what you’re doing. The following instructions apply to most microwaves, but you may want to double-check with your owner’s manual or contact the manufacturer before you try it.

You can easily repair a loose microwave door using a pop rivet tool and 1/8” or 3mm rivets. First, you need to unplug the microwave and place it on a large work table.

Second, remove the door from the microwave.

Inside the corner of the door, you will find a metal pop tab that holds the door onto the hinge pins. Use a 1-inch putty knife or butter knife to pry the tab off from the bottom crack. Once it’s off, the entire door can be lifted off.

Third, you need to line up the little holes in the bracket with the little holes in the microwave face.

After that, take the pop rivet tool and insert it into one hole on the top and another hole on the bottom. Squeeze it until the rivet pops off then put the door back on. Finally, re-attach the anti-door lift tab.

By Rosie Elliott

I’m Rosie. I’m a professional chef with experience in Western, Mediterranean, and Italian cuisine. I’ve been cooking for over 15 years, and I have two daughters that keep me busy!