Oftentimes, people forget to wash the microwave turntable, even though it’s been in there for years at a time. Perhaps they’re trying to retain the flavor of a thousand ghost burritos, but you really should wash that thing. The only question is, can you put it in the dishwasher?
The microwave plate is made of toughened food-grade glass that is safe to place in a dishwasher. Make sure you allow it to cool completely before placing it in the bottom dishrack.
In this guide, I’ll explain how you can go about caring for the microwave turntable, including how to properly clean it in a dishwasher.
Is the Microwave Plate Dishwasher Safe?
You might have heard at one point in your life that the microwave turntable, also known as the rotating plate, is not dishwasher safe. Thankfully, that’s not always the case. In fact, most modern microwave models will let you know that the turntable is 100% dishwasher safe.
The rotating plate is made of toughened glass that has been treated to be safe for food. That means you can microwave your burritos directly on it without a microwave-safe plate or a paper sleeve.
That said, if you want the rotating plate to remain clean for longer, you should consider placing a barrier, like parchment paper and paper plates, between your food and the microwave plate.
How to Wash a Microwave Plate in a Dishwasher
Washing the turntable in a dishwasher is pretty straightforward. All you really have to do is load it in the bottommost dishrack where you would load any ordinary plate or platter.
However, since microwave plates can measure up to 16.5 inches or larger, depending on the microwave model, you should load them in a specific part of your dishwasher.
That place is on the side, where there is less of a chance that the plate will prevent the spray arms from blasting pressurized water toward every square inch of your dishes.
So, you might want to consider washing the microwave plate in the dishwasher and separately from cutting boards and other large-size dishwasher-safe objects.
One thing people might be afraid of is extreme temperature changes in the dishwasher. This isn’t a problem for toughened glass, especially something that is made to handle microwave rays.
That said, you should still keep other objects, like plates and bowls, a few inches away from the microwave plate—just in case there’s movement during the wash and rinse cycles.
Also, please remember that you should never attempt to wash a microwave plate immediately after using it. The treated glass is, indeed, durable, but hot-to-cold temperature changes actually cause it to shatter.
So, allow the turntable to come down to room temperature before attempting to wash it in the dishwasher or even by hand.
How to Wash a Microwave Plate by Hand
Washing the microwave plate by hand is even easier than doing it in a dishwasher. As long as you remember to let it cool, you shouldn’t have any trouble scrubbing off solid debris and restoring its shine.
Here are the steps you should follow when washing a microwave plate by hand:
- Allow the plate to cool down. Wait at least 30 minutes for the plate to come down to room temperature.
- Remove the plate from the microwave. Carefully lift the plate up to take it off the roller mechanism inside the microwave.
- Scrub the surface of the plate with a soapy sponge. Make sure to scrub and wash both sides since melted food remnants may have found a way onto the underside of the plate.
- If the microwave plate is stained, apply some baking soda onto the surface of the plate. Using the rough side of the sponge, gently massage the baking soda all over the plate until the stains fade.
- Rinse the plate and allow it to dry. In the meantime, you can spend a few moments washing the interior of your microwave. Use a moistened microfiber cloth to remove any large bits of debris before going in with a moistened sponge to loosen and remove whatever is left.
Please note that you should never use a steel sponge on a microwave plate. The steel could scratch the glass, and over time, it could cause the plate to become stained more easily. Also, the steel can undo any treatment given to the surface of the plate, thereby making it prone to cracking under extreme temperature changes.
Can I Use a Microwave Without the Rotating Plate?
Many people will offer anecdotal stories about how their microwaves function perfectly without the rotating table. In fact, I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve done it a couple of times without anything bad happening.
However, that’s not what the manufacturer intends for their microwaves, and they most certainly know best. The purpose of the rotating plate is to allow your food to cook more evenly. So, if there are any cold spots in your microwave, the turning of the table will ensure that every part of the food receives microwaves.
With all that said, you can try microwaving your food without the rotating plate. The rollers will continue to spin, so you might want to position your food away from them. Also, don’t attempt to microwave liquids without the rotating plate. If the rollers touch the base of the bowl, you’ll pretty much have to eat your soup from the base of your microwave.
How Long Do Microwave Turntables Last?
Most microwave manufacturers will offer at least a one-year warranty for the microwave but not the microwave turntable. As such, we can deduce that the plate isn’t meant to last forever. But how many years can you squeeze out of the turntable?
In my experience, you can use the stock microwave turntable for several years without issue. You don’t even have to clean it once every week or so, which is what some microwave instruction manuals insist you do.
However, if you drop anything on the rotating plate, or if you drop it on the rollers when trying to reinsert it in the microwave, make sure you keep a close eye on it. The moment it shatters, you’ll know you need a replacement.
What If My Microwave Turntable Doesn’t Rotate?
The most common cause of a non-rotating rotating plate is dirty rollers. Remove the turntable and inspect the rollers to ensure that there aren’t solid bits of debris preventing them from spinning.
Another cause is the underside of the rotating plate might be slippery. You’ll have to remove the rotating plate and wash it using the method I described above. Or you can place it inside your dishwasher and put it through a full wash cycle.
In extreme cases, the motor that drives the rollers might be broken. You’ll have to have it inspected by a professional to make sure that’s the case. If it is, you will have to replace the motor or the microwave entirely.
Why Are There Microwaves Without Turntables?
Did you know that there are microwaves without turntables? They are called flatbed microwaves, and they use a slightly different way of heating up your food than traditional turntable models.
Instead of rotating a plate, a flatbed microwave will have a rotating antenna located underneath its base. This antenna emits microwaves that heat up your food from all angles, ensuring even heat distribution and fewer, less prominent cold spots.
But the biggest advantage flatbed microwaves have is in terms of maintenance. You won’t have to remove a rotating table and wash it every so often. Instead, you only have to wipe down the inside of your microwave, which you would have to do with a turntable microwave anyway.