All-purpose appliance

The amazing microwave, able to pop popcorn in minutes, kill deadly bacteria, and start house fires. According to the Guardian a man set fire to his kitchen after following directions he heard on a news program.

Scientists at the University of Florida soaked sponges in untreated dirty wastewater filled with a potpourri of bacteria and other viruses and then nuked the sponges in the microwave. After two minutes in the microwave on high power, 99 per cent of the parasites were killed. Apparently, this man threw his washcloth in the microwave and was able to eliminate all pathogens and kitchen appliances too! The man’s kitchen caught on fire after he attempted to rid his washcloth of bacteria. The article mentions that it is better to use wet washcloths or sponges. I don’t know if this man used a wet washcloth, but he probably didn’t soak it in “untreated wastewater containing .. fecal bacteria, viruses, [and]protozoan parasites… ” which might have been the problem. He didn’t have enough bacteria and viruses in it!

Okay, to his defense, I have put my kitchen sponges in the microwave to kill bacteria. I usually only put them in for 45 seconds or so and they are soaked with water (normal food-cruddy dish water–no fecal matter that I am aware of). After about 45 seconds those sponges are hot,  so after about two minutes, they could ignite. I usually keep an eye on the microwave to make sure they don’t catch on fire. I guess I am crazy, I think about those dangers. He, on the other hand, probably put it on high for two minutes and finished watching the cricket game (for Americans, cricket is a game they play in the UK— similar to baseball but completely different). Or, maybe, he thought if two minutes work, wouldn’t five minutes be better? It’s easier than putting it in the laundry.

So, what can we learn from this today?
1. The microwave isn’t just for popcorn.
2. Pyromaniacs can set fires in kitchens while they kill bacteria.
3. Never leave washcloths and sponges in the microwave on high for two minutes unattended.
4. Men in the UK watch cricket when they microwave wash cloths.

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