How to Check Microwaves for Leaks

Concerned about the safety of your microwave? Microwave ovens should be inspected periodically for radiation leakage, especially if the microwave shows signs of wear or damage. Dropped or damaged microwaves should be disposed of and replaced with new units. Visual inspection and routine maintenance only takes seconds to perform, but adds years to the life of your microwave.

Microwaves provide a fast, convenient method of cooking.
  1. Physically inspect your microwave. Open the door and look at the seal surrounding the door. Remove any debris or food particles from the microwave and the seal by regularly wiping them down with a soapy dishcloth. Close the door and look for any spaces or loosened seals at the contact points. Inspect the door and trim for any bulges, gaps or rattling. Wipe the microwave's exterior and ventilation ports. Inspect for dust or debris that could block airflow to the microwave.
  2. FDA approved microwave leakage meters can detect radiation leaks, but are extremely expensive. Non-FDA approved meters designed for the home can be purchased for less than $10, but are not always reliable. To use a home unit, turn the unit on and wave the wand slowly around the microwave door and vent ports. The meter's needle will indicate if a leak is present. If a leak is suspected or indicated, take the microwave to an authorized appliance repair center. Do not depend on a non-FDA approved meter to detect accurate levels of radiation.
  3. Radiation leaks are dangerous and require immediate attention from an authorized repairman. Discontinue use of any microwave suspected of radiation leakage until the unit has been thoroughly inspected and repaired. Check your local yellow pages or search the Internet to find an authorized appliance repair center in your area.


  • FDA approved radiation meters costs hundreds of dollars. The less-costly option of accurately determining a radiation leak would be to either take the microwave in for service or to replace the microwave with an inexpensive version.


  • Do not attempt to perform home repairs on appliances due to the risk of shock.

About the Author

Tammy Bailey began writing while typing and revising procedural manuals for a bank corporation. Her clerical work eventually lead to a QS9000 writing project for an automotive parts manufacturer. Bailey's articles have been featured on numerous websites, covering topics in Southern living and cooking, holiday ideas, party and event planning, relationship issues and surviving corporate life.

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