How to find out if your microwave is leaking radiation

Most of us use microwaves every day. Even if you don’t like cooking anything in them, you probably reheat food in one or warm up your cup of tea using your microwave. Did you realise that your microwave is leaking?


Don’t worry

Before you read this through and check this out for yourself with your microwave, it’s important to realise that even if the microwave is leaking, it’s not dangerous. Microwaves use long-wave radiation to make the water in your food vibrate. This energy changes to heat to warm the food up but your food only gets zapped with radiation when the device’s door is locked shut. The problem with older machines is that they wear out of course so leakages can occur.

Mobile phones

To test how much radiation is being lost from your microwave, you’ll need to use a mobile phone. These devices also emit radiation. It’s on the same spectrum as microwaves but the waves are longer. The facts that we’re working on were established in a YouTube video recorded by Physics Girl. Her experiment is set out below.


You’ll need a mobile phone to work out if your microwave’s protective casing is at fault. All you need to do is place your phone into the microwave and then call it. If the protective seal is in place properly, the phone shouldn’t get a signal. Your microwave is set out with a Faraday cage. This is basically a mesh to block out electromagnetic wavelengths. Physics Girl suggests that a microwave operates at 2.45 gigahertz, while mobile phone signals operate between 0.85GHz and 1.9GHz. Using a signal receiver, she’s shown that a small amounts of radiation do leak from radiators. As we’ve said before, the amount leaked is not dangerous to humans.

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