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Microwave Etiquette in the Workplace

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When you spend long hours at the office, you'll likely take advantage of the break-room microwave. Whether heating up water for a cup of tea or heating up leftovers for lunch, using some courtesy will earn you the goodwill of your colleagues. Microwave etiquette may not be written in stone, but treating the appliance as you would the oven in your own home is usually all that is necessary.

Clean Up After Yourself

Rule number one when using the office microwave: clean up your messes immediately. No one likes to open the door to the microwave only to discover someone’s lunch spilled all over the inside. If you have an accident in the microwave or your lunch blows up, take a few minutes and wipe down the oven.

Cover Your Food

Covering your food as it cooks is a good way to prevent food splatters and a mess inside the microwave. Make sure you leave the lid or cover of your food slightly ajar to allow steam to escape while you’re cooking as well. Use a paper towel if you don’t have a lid to cover your plate or bowl.

Wait Your Turn in Line

During busy lunch times in your workplace break room, a line naturally forms around the microwave ovens. Never take someone’s food out of the microwave while it is still cooking. Even if you are in a hurry to get back to your desk or you only have to heat something for 30 seconds, wait your turn.

Avoid Smelly Foods

Avoid heating foods with strong odors. Foods such as fish have a tendency to linger in the break-room air. Heavily spiced foods can leave a lingering odor as well. Add your spices after heating your food to avoid stinking up the lunchroom.

Stay With Your Food

Stay with your food while it is heating in the microwave. This is an especially good habit to have if there is a line of people waiting for the oven. If you are waiting for a microwave and someone has left his food unattended in the oven, after it's finished cooking, feel free to remove it and set it carefully on the counter. Leaving food unattended in the microwave requires everyone waiting for a turn to wait for the missing owner to return and remove his or her food.


Luanne Kelchner works out of Daytona Beach, Florida and has been freelance writing full time since 2008. Her ghostwriting work has covered a variety of topics but mainly focuses on health and home improvement articles. Kelchner has a degree from Southern New Hampshire University in English language and literature.