Microwave Water: Safe from Bacteria or Not?

“Water is life,” goes a popular English saying. I don’t think a day can end without using water in several ways. For example, if not washing, you can use it for drinking. When considered for use in drinking or washing wounds, the water must be free from harmful bacteria.

Yes, microwaving water can kill bacteria, but it depends on reaching a high enough temperature and maintaining it for a sufficient period. To effectively kill most bacteria, water needs to be brought to a boil, which in a microwave, means heating it until it’s visibly boiling for at least one to two minutes, depending on the microwave’s power and the volume of water.

This process can sterilize the water similarly to boiling it on a stove. However, it’s crucial to ensure even heating, as microwaves can heat liquids unevenly, potentially leaving some bacteria alive in cooler spots.

You can boil water on a stovetop. If you are in a rush, you may want to know if microwaving water kills bacteria. To learn this and many more, stay tuned.

Can you sterilize water in the microwave?

For the sake of survival, our bodies require a lot of nutrients. One of the most important ones is water. In fact, scientists state that 60 percent of the body is made of water, and you should consume at least two liters of water a day for your body but not contaminated water. That water should be sterile to ensure you do not suffer from waterborne diseases.

The truth is that unless you tell by the color, you cannot know if the water you want to use is safe for drinking. Hence, having a way you can make it sterile is a plus. One of the machines you can use to clean your water is a distiller.

The common method a lot of people use to sterilize water is using a water distiller. If you don’t have this device, you want to know if you can sterilize water in a microwave.

Gladly, you can use a microwave to sterilize water. But be aware that it will not be as thorough as UV light sterilization or stovetop boiling.

If you choose to use a microwave to sterilize water, it is advisable to use a microwave-safe container. Also, heat it at full power for 2-3 minutes. When the heating is up, allow the water to cool before drinking.

In case you want to heat your water quickly, you need to set the microwave to run for 90 seconds.

Why microwaves do not kill harmful bacteria as well as boiling?

According to experts, micros do not kill harmful bacteria. Instead, they recommend boiling. There are two reasons for this.

Unlike microwaves, water has the capacity to emit heat to bacteria from several directions. Because water is moving, the bacteria’s heating frequency tends to change constantly. On the other hand, radio waves can only be applied from discrete directions.

The right thing that can be considered to make microwaves better is by having reflection and varying materials on the walls. Boiling and oven are considered the best because micros heat bacteria from varying angles by reflection/mirror.

Typically, there are two micros types: vertical ones and wide ones. Professionals claim that the vertical ones are the most effective. They can send signals more extensively from the bottom. On the other hand, the wide micros send signals from one direction: right or left. It is easier to apply the reflection technique to the vertical micros.

How long to boil water in microwave to sterilize?

The reason you are sterilizing your water determines how much time you will allow it to boil in your microwave. Besides, you need to follow the directions on your microwave.

In general, some microwaves feature a water-boiling cycle. But, if yours does not have, consider boiling water in a microwave-safe container for two to three minutes on high.

On the other hand, if you want to sterilize water in a microwave for drinking, the CDC advises us to boil water for at least a minute at altitudes greater than 2000 meters. Otherwise, boil your water for 5 minutes in the microwave if it is meant to be used for cleaning a wound. When there is less air pressure, your water will boil at a lower temperature.

Note that boiling water kills bacteria and not harmful chemicals. For safety, allow your boiled water to cool before use.

How to sterilize water in microwave?

As you well know, it is easier to use a microwave, and considered one of the easiest and quickest appliances you can have in your kitchen. You will have the same experience if you choose to sterilize water with this device. Use the steps below to sterilize like a pro.

  1. Fill a microwave-safe bowl with clean water.
  2. Heat the water in the microwave oven for 2-3 minutes.
  3. When the time is up, remove the container from the microwave.
  4. Stir the water molecules gently with a spoon until the hot spots are mixed with the cool water spots.
  5. Reheat your water for 30 seconds if you don’t get hot water.
  6. Redo the process at 30-45 minutes intervals until the water is hot.

When using your microwave to sterilize water, you need to be aware of some important things. They include the following.

  • You have to pay attention to the power of the microwave unit you are using and amounts of water. If you are boiling a large amount of water, be assured that it will take longer than when boiling less water.
  • Also, the container material you will use matters. This is because some materials can cause boiling water to splatter or make achieving a rolling boil difficult.
  • It is faster to heat water at room temperature than cold water. Therefore, it is advisable to use tap water.
  • Your microwave’s efficiency might vary. Hence, try another oven if it takes longer to make your water.