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Did you know that your microwave is more than just a simple leftover reheater?

A couple weeks ago I heard about a study which showed that nuking a grungy sponge for 2 minutes was effective at sterilizing it. This was quickly followed by reports of a number of small fires involving dry sponges. Lesson learned: wet your grubby sponges before superheating them.

There are a number of interesting things to do with the household microwave. Of course, there are a number of materials which will spark or ignite, but my personal favorite is David Reid’s method for casting small amounts of soft metals like bronse, silver, and gold. On the less dangerous side, there’s also the strange and unexpected growth phenomena of marshmallows or bars of soap, though I’m not sure what this is good for besides entertaining the kids with Peep battles.

Finally, you can do a lot of conventional things with a microwave as well. The guardian recently released a top 10 list on the subject. There are hacks for softening citrus fruits for juicing, heating up plates for serving, and sterilizing potting soil before planting seedlings.

What’s your favorite microwave hack? Let us know in the comments!