When one looks at the modern kitchen, it’s hard to imagine that most appliances did not exist a century ago. The kitchen appliance industry boomed during the 1950s and the 60s. This can be attributed to the smart technologies of thermoelectricity and refrigeration.
With each iteration, it seems like today there is an appliance for almost everything – from mincing garlic and chopping vegetables uniformly to hard-boiling eggs perfectly. Among the kitchen appliances that changed the face of the world include the electric stove, convection oven, refrigerator, dishwasher, and blender.
The global domestic kitchen appliances market is growing at a CAGR of 4.6%. Consumers are buying different appliances to prepare healthier, quicker, and tastier meals. However, there are always some hidden costs involved. Technology brings with it the danger of malfunctioning.
This article will discuss the dark side of the modern kitchen. Let’s look at three appliances that appear innocent but must be used with caution.
The Trusty Dishwasher
Every average American household uses a host of utensils, cookware, and serveware sets. Washing all of these manually can be a mammoth task, especially when they’re the aftermath of a hearty holiday meal with friends and family.
To make the cleaning process easier, the dishwasher became widely available by the 1970s. This appliance gently rinses and cleans utensils with the right amount of detergent solution. While most kitchenware is dishwasher-friendly, those made of cast iron, copper, and aluminum should not be placed inside.
Also, most households run the dishwasher a couple of times a week, mainly on days when there are too many utensils to wash by hand. Using the dishwasher every day may impact the appliance’s longevity and consume large volumes of water.
Despite being highly useful, this appliance can become harmful to health and life. It uses electricity and water – a lethal combination indeed. Recently, there was a case where a dishwasher-induced fire broke out in Huntsville. Thankfully, the family of six and their three dogs immediately evacuated the property and dialed 911.
Firefighters were able to control the fire, but there was significant property damage. It is recommended that the heating element of the appliance is allowed a couple of hours to cool down before another washing cycle. Moreover, it is never advisable to leave the dishwasher running overnight or when no one is around to monitor it.
The last thing one wants is to return from a stroll only to find the dishes done but the house ablaze.
The Humble Pressure Cooker
A pressure cooker is among the most common appliances found in the modern kitchen. It is as old as 1935 when it was originally used by mountain climbers. Today, this electric cooking pot is preferred for cutting down cooking time, even for hard-to-cook ingredients.
People use it for simmering, braising, and boiling foods. In some cases, it may be used to stir-fry ingredients before the boiling process starts. However, that is not advisable unless the instruction manual specifically permits stir-frying.
Despite being a hardy kitchen appliance, the pressure cooker can be dangerous. For instance – unchecked manufacturing defects can lead to a pressure cooker explosion. This may cause severe burns due to the explosion itself or the splashing of hot liquids.
As per TorHoerman Law, the most common design defects are associated with the pressure cooker’s wiring, gaskets, vents, seals, and digital indication. Once the damage has taken place, the victim can sue the manufacturer to receive compensation. However, many cases in recent years have led to fatalities.
The best way to stay safe is to use the appliance with caution. This includes –
- Checking the seals, vents, valves, and rubber gaskets for any food blockages
- Ensuring the liquid levels inside are not too high or too low
- Keeping the cooker clean at all times as per the manufacturer’s instructions
- Following the established rules for releasing pressure
- Wearing oven mitts while handling the cooker
The Must-Have Refrigerator
Back in 2015, the DailyMail published an article on why the refrigerator may be the most dangerous appliance of all. If you haven’t read it and have owned a refrigerator for decades, it may sound a bit exaggerated.
After all, what could go wrong with an appliance merely used to keep food items unspoiled for extended periods right? Thousands of cases of refrigerator-induced fires are reported each year, some powerful enough to burn the entire house down.
The main problem with fridge-related fires is that they may occur spontaneously. This is because most manufacturers still use a highly flammable plastic backing. So, don’t be fooled by the metal doors and handles. Not only does the plastic backing offer little insulation, but it also emits toxic gases in case of a fire.
Another fact that makes refrigerators dangerous is the need to keep them on at all times. The fire may suddenly break out in the wee hours and engulf everything in its wake. One must avoid safety hazards associated with this appliance by –
- Keeping the coils thoroughly clean
- Gently removing lint and dust every day
- Cleaning underneath and behind the refrigerator as well
- Being extra careful with the appliance’s cord in case of shifting it
With the ultrasonic pace of the world, the modern consumer lives by the rule of ‘the more, the better.’ In line with that, a typical home requires numerous kitchen appliances for comfort, convenience, and easy meal-prepping.
However, safety must be paramount. If any appliance has reached the sunset of its life, there is no point in squeezing out the last penny. Many mishaps are the result of using that appliance ‘one last time’ before replacing it. Following important kitchen safety rules will enable us to experience the true benefits of technology.