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Any food or health-related hazards from rust inside microwave?

By Free2Bme February 3, 2009 - 1:46pm
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We bought a relatively new home (2001), and for some reason, the built-in microwave has rust in the back corners.

Besides from sounding gross, I'm wondering if there is any possible health risks with heating food up in this microwave?

The food does not directly touch the rust, but I'm not sure exactly how microwaves work and if the rust can become airborne. Does anyone know? Also, I'm not sure what the cause of the rust is; I've never had a microwave do this before (so, possibly the cause of the rust may be more significant than the rust itself?)


Add a Comment16 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I like how after two pages of comments no one answered the original question If rust gets on her food If It becomes a health Issue..........

March 22, 2016 - 6:08pm
EmpowHER Guest

I got GE to give us a voucher to cover most of the cost of a new microwave because of rust on ours in the second year.

October 3, 2015 - 11:38am
EmpowHER Guest

My microwave developed rust after I used steam packets of veggies every night. I didn't think to air it out. It is probably cheaper to buy a new microwave.

October 30, 2014 - 4:35pm
EmpowHER Guest

how much rust is too much? mine is along the entire back of the chamber, along the distance of the turntable circle and some on the door frame.?

May 17, 2014 - 7:09am
EmpowHER Guest

is the rust airborne???? is it harmful to health if door of microwave has rust?f

March 18, 2013 - 8:12am
EmpowHER Guest

It mostly happens with turntable microwaves from the wheels wearing the enamel down over time which could lead to paint flaking, rust, etc. Also if food gets down onto the turntable track, it can even progress the rust issue further.

February 22, 2013 - 2:49am
EmpowHER Guest

thanks for the info, have nagging tenant bothered about a small rust spot, now know what to look for.

May 7, 2012 - 5:47pm
EmpowHER Guest

My apartment complex is trying to charge me damaging this 5 year old microwave because it has rust where the turntable goes around. They said I didn't maintain it properly. I am very unhappy about this but I see rust in the microwave is sort of common. The unit I have is an inexpensive whirlpool and I never used it for anything more than heating water for tea and popping corn. I did not cook meals in it -- I use the oven for that. It never got dirty but I wiped it out regularly.

October 14, 2011 - 9:01am
EmpowHER Guest

{content removed from Moderator}

Repairing a rusty panel
PROBLEM: Your microwave oven has developed some rust on interior surfaces.
Rust that develops on a panel inside the cabinet of a microwave oven can eat through the panel and lead to radiation leakage. It should be repaired as soon as possible. Do the following:

Unplug the unit.
Wipe the damaged surface with a soft rag to remove loose flakes of rust.
If the rust is under a glass shelf, remove be shelf. If the shelf is held by sealer, use a razor blade or utility knife to slice through the sealer. After the shelf has been removed, clean off any strips of sealer that remain.
Buy a spray can of enamel paint for your make of microwave oven from a dealer who sells your type of oven. Also buy a tube of RTV [room temperature vulcanizing) sealer if the unit has a glass shelf.
Following directions on the can of paint, refinish the damage. Let the paint dry.
Install the glass shelf. Then, following directions on the tube of sealer, apply a bead around the edges of the shelf.
Before using the oven, let the sealer cure for the length of time specified in the instructions on the sealer tube.

(I would recommend an epoxy enamel commonly referred to as "appliance paint" sold at most home improvement centers. Also, determine how much rust there is. Strongly recommend a light sanding then the use of a "rust reformer" prior to the epoxy enamel. You don't want the rust to continue oxidizing under the paint.)

January 22, 2011 - 4:35am
EmpowHER Guest

very helpful answers! I'm going to check my mom's micro tomorrow with the "run it on empty" test! In her microwave's case, the rusty area is under the glass plate that turns. I think the enamel was worn off by the little wheels under the plate...Maybe also too much cleaning! (I don't have THAT problem at home!)
Thank you again!

February 17, 2010 - 11:23am
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