Is it safe to use a shared microwave?

2
Katarina Mollo MEd, RDN, LDN
There is a concern that if someone heats up something that contains gluten, that a person with celiac disease may no longer use the microwave thereafter even if the microwave is thoroughly cleaned out. Is this true?

Answer


It should be fine to use a shared microwave as long as you do not cook gluten-containing items together with gluten-free ones and the surfaces touching the food such as the turntable are clean. Gluten may be cleaned away with warm water, dish soap and a clean rag, sponge or brush. A study found that washing with soap and water will remove gluten from dishes and surfaces (1).

If there is a concern with a shared microwave you can always put the gluten-free food on a clean plate and use a clean microwave cover over it. However, it should be fine to use a shared microwave as long as the surfaces touching the foods are clean.

To avoid cross-contact from gluten in the microwave:

  • Do not cook gluten-containing and gluten-free foods together at the same time in the microwave.
  • Make sure the microwave is clean, especially the turntable or any other surface that comes in contact with the food.
  • Gluten is easily removed from surfaces and turntables using dish soap, warm water and a clean sponge.
  • If using a microwave cover, make sure it has been washed.

Reference

  1. Weisbrod VM, Silvester JA, Raber C, McMahon J, Coburn SS, Kerzner B. Preparation of Gluten-Free Foods Alongside Gluten-Containing Food May Not Always Be as Risky for Celiac Patients as Diet Guides Suggest. Gastroenterology. 2020;158(1):273‐275. doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2019.09.007

Published February 6, 2023.

Note: This information is provided by NCA and Katarina Mollo, MEd, RDN, LDN, NCA's Director of Education. This information is meant for educational purposes and is not intended to substitute for personalized medical advice or replace any medical advice provided directly to you by your health care provider. No liability is assumed by the NCA or Katarina Mollo, MEd, RDN, LDN by providing this information.

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