7 New Ways to Use Your Microwave


When I was in middle school, a friend of mine put her CD in the microwave and turned it on high. You can imagine what happened — the CD sparked and gave us quite a light show. (Don't try this at home, you can find a video on YouTube that will give you the show without the smoke.)

But there are some strange uses for microwaves that won't end in explosions! And I'm here to share with you some genius ideas for this often under-utilized appliance.

1. Clean Sponges

We've all read how sponges are basically the dirtiest things in our homes. But you can disinfect sponges easily by zapping them in your microwave. Simply wet your sponge, then cook on high for two minutes. Repeat this process as often as you cook, so basically every day. Note that if your sponge contains metal in any form — skip this idea. (See also: 10 Things Healthy People Should Not Have in Their Homes)

2. Revitalize Bread

So, at my first desk job, there was this guy who was obsessed with giving life to his stale bread. His favorite method? Using the office microwave. First, wrap bread in a damp cloth or paper towel. Place it on a microwave safe dish, then microwave on high for ten seconds. Repeat as necessary. From day-old to bakery worthy — sort of.

3. Peel Garlic

My CSA garlic is particularly hearty and difficult to peel because it's so fresh. So, I searched around for ways to make this process easier and came across CHOW's garlic-peeling method using the microwave. Place your bulb inside and cook on high for 20 seconds. Then enjoy how easily the cloves slip out of their skins for chopping.

4. Proof Dough

I bake almost all the bread we eat from scratch, so learning how to proof dough in our microwave has been amazing. The benefit here is cutting down rise times to get from mixing to eating faster. Start by bringing a cup of water to boil on high (around one minute). Then place your dough inside for 35-45 minutes, check the temperature and humidity of the box, and repeat the whole process until your dough has risen enough.

5. Bake Dessert

Microwave baking is such instant gratification. And there are a number of recipes on the web that allow you to bake cakes, brownies, cookies, and more treats in just a few minutes. Check out our roundup of 10 Incredible Microwave Desserts that will transform your baking routine.

6. Cook Eggs

The whole idea of microwaving eggs can seem a little scary. But once you try it, you'll love having this skill at your disposal. I used to bring eggs with me to work and scramble a few to have with lunch. Combine two eggs with two tablespoons of milk in a mug. Microwave on high for 30-45 seconds, stir, and then heat 30-45 seconds more — until eggs are set. Enjoy!

7. Dry Herbs

I recently picked up all my seeds for my spring garden. I bought a lot of herbs, so I can't wait to start drying and freezing them. You can actually dry herbs in your microwave oven. The process is simple: Place a few clean and dry herb branches in your microwave between two paper towels. Heat on high for two to three minutes. Let cool and store in an airtight container.

What amazing things have you done in your microwave?

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Guest's picture

I learnt the eggs method years ago when ordering a breakfast sandwich at a small deli, it works surprisingly well and the eggs turned out amazing. I've been using that ever since.

You can also use microwaves to boil water. I know it sounds oddly simplistic and something that everyone knows but I think a lot of people take it for granted.