Kitchen Safety

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Knife Safety

Here are some tricks that will help you keep from being hurt when you work with your kitchen knives and the other sharp edges around the kitchen..

Broken Glass

  • Any kind of broken glass is incredibly sharp and dangerous. Clean it carefully up, and make sure you don't leave pieces of it in the sponge for the next guy who grabs the sponge to find. Don't just toss broken glass in the trash bag to bite the guy who picks up the bag, wrap it in old newspaper or something, and if there is a lot of it, warn all concerned. Don't ever break glass on purpose and toss it in the trash bag you are going to throw over your hip, as did my old dishwasher, S. Chavez.


    The single most important prevention measure is to read and follow the directions. The directions associated with the operation of the microwave oven and the specific directions associated with heating prepared or packaged foods are equally important. Use a pot holder or appropriate utensil to remove lids and coverings from heated containers to prevent steam or contact burns. This also is necessary when removing items that may have been heated or extended periods of time - the container may be hot. Be sure children are old enough to understand the safe use of the microwave oven before allowing them to heat foods. Children under the age of seven may not be able to read and follow directions and are at a higher risk potential than older children. Their height is also an important factor. Some manufacturers do not recommend that their products be heated in a microwave oven. Be sure you follow their recommendations. (For example, some baby foods are not to be heated in a microwave. And jelly-filled donuts can be a major source of mouth burns.) Use caution when handling and cutting thick pieces of meat after heating, especially meats with considerable fat. Spattering of hot fat and meat juices may occur.

    Environmental Control

    Puncture plastic pouches and plastic wrap covering before heating. This will reduce the risk of a vapor pressure build up and prevent steam burns. Put a cut in potato skins or other vegetables to reduce the risk of "bursting" when you cut into it after it is heated. Eggs should be removed from the shell before being cooked in the microwave oven. The egg in a shell may explode causing both mechanical and thermal injuries. Identify containers, dishes and utensils that are safe for use in the microwave oven. Some items are not "microwave safe" and may become very hot or even burst when heated in the microwave oven. When using smooth vessels for heating liquids, place a plastic spoon in the vessel during the heating process. This will prevent the "super heated" phenomenon that may result in liquid spattering and scald burns. Check for the presence of metal when reheating some "fast food" items. Aluminum foil, staples in bags, twist-ties, etc. may become very hot and ignite combustible containers. Children who are permitted to operate the microwave oven should be tall enough to be able to safely remove items from the oven. One major risk is facial burns, which occur among children whose height puts their face at the level of the heating chamber of the microwave oven.

    Design Intervention

    Check with the dealer or manufacturer to determine if the microwave oven you choose can be installed where you wish to install it. Proper ventilation and control of moisture exposure may be important considerations for many microwave ovens. Purchase only microwave ovens that have a "fail safe" mechanism, which will shut off the power when the door is opened or will prevent the door from opening when the oven is operating.

    Clean Your Sponges

    It is of paramount importance to clean your sponges properly. The solution to cross contamination is to have a small bowl containing 1 ounce of bleach in a quart of water. Whenever you are done cleaning an area, soak the sponge in the solution and let it air dry. The combination of the bleach and the dryness will kill all dangerous bacteria. Make sure to change the solution once a day.

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