Can Microwaves kill bacteria? [Update 2023]

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The microwave oven is an amazing invention that is designed to save time during cooking or heating meal. Well, it helps to cook, defrost, heat, reheat, and grill your food. Microwaves are so effective in the reheating process if you used them correctly. But a common question that is asked by many microwave users is can microwaves kill bacteria?

So, the short answer is, no. Microwaves are designed to generate waves of radiation that create heat to absorb molecules inside the meal. This help to cook your meal quickly. But this heat generated kills the bacteria within the food. Well, there are a lot of things to learn about this topic.

Does microwaves kill bacteria?

Microwaves kill bacteria

Basically, the microwave has a component that is called a magnetron that generates radio wave energy. And these waves bounce back and forth off the container until to reach the food and the food absorbs these waves generating heating while this heat cooks your food.

Basically, waves cannot enter more than 2 cm into food. So microwaving depends on the size, shape, and nature of the meal that you want to reheat. Well, it is clear that microwaves cannot actually kill bacteria.

Because it creates heat that kills bacteria in foods. But keep in mind that when you microwave foods and they may cook unevenly because of irregular shapes or thickness, then waves can’t kill bacteria from raw or remaining parts of your food.

If we talk about a solid frozen meal and liquids then Liquids will heat up much faster as compared to solid foods. Even microwaves may cook unevenly and leave cold spots in frozen meals where harmful bacteria can survive even after heating. You can only kill the bacteria by properly heating. So you have to microwave your meal correctly so that the heat can kill the bacteria inside your food.

There are so many people who think that a microwave is designed to cook from the inside out. But we say, a microwave cooks from the outside. In this way, the surface cooks before the core of the food does. So the cold spots can be left where bacteria can survive during the microwaving.

So when this is your use the defrost function of the microwave oven Then the surface will cook while the inside core remains cold. However, we can say that bacteria can only be killed by proper heating. That means the heating and cooking of foods need proper temperature and the correct amount of time.

Can the microwaves kill bacteria from a dirty compartment?

Microwaves kill bacteria

Basically, the walls of the microwave do not get heated during microwaving. So the microwave cannot kill bacteria from a dirt compartment. Sometimes when you microwave food, the dirt of the dirt compartment splatters falling into the food you are reheating. And this dirt might have bacteria because bacteria need an ideal ambient temperature, nutrient source, and moisture to grow and survive.

So the microwave oven does tend to dry out the food splatters easily. Well, you can decrease its risk by doing something like that, the foods should be covered before reheating, your Liquids should place in shallow containers and the meal should be fully defrosted before reheating.

If you want to kill bacteria from there then you need to keep your microwave clean. You can use white vinegar or any cleanser to clean your microwave. So you can clean out any food splatters in the compartment by wiping them off.


Basically, Microwave ovens generate radio frequency waves that absorb the water molecules in the food to vibrate. This vibration makes friction which makes the heat which allows the object to heat up to a temperature that can kill germs. Well, that’s all you need to know about “Can microwaves kill bacteria? We hope this article will help you a lot in this case!

Sania Imtiaz

Hi, My name is Sania Imtiaz and I’m from Pakistan. I’m a housewife. And I Love cooking. And I’m a believer in making life peacefully with FOOD. I’m doing cocking from the last 10 years and I’m sharing all my knowledge related to cooking on I’m sharing all my experience on this site related to cooking products.

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