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Tips for Using the Microwave for Special Staining Procedures

Microwave ovens and guidelines for their usage vary among laboratories. However, the following tips are useful for all technicians using the microwave for special staining procedures:

  • Microwave ovens heat solutions unevenly from the inside out. If possible, stirrers should be used while heating solutions. If stirrers are not available, the solution should be pipetted to mix the solution and even out the distribution of heat.
  • The temperature at which solutions and tissue are placed in the microwave affects the length of heating time. More time is needed to reach a specific temperature for refrigerated materials than for room temperature materials.
  • Containers used in a microwave oven should be open, vented, or loosely covered to prevent pressurization.