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Is it true that if I microwave the used cookbooks I buy on Amazon I will kill the germs and not accidentally catch some kind of disease?

asked by ENunn almost 5 years ago
10 answers 3377 views

While Peter no longer works for Food52 he still thinks up ways to make the website better.

added almost 5 years ago

I don't know if it will kill germs, but I'm not sure why a used cookbook would have any more germs than one you pick up in a bookstore.

After all, a used one has likely been handled by 1 person. One from a bookstore could have been picked up by dozens of people. As the number of people who handle it goes up, the odds of one of the being sick go up.

If you DO microwave the book, don't do it for too long -- you don't want to soften any glue that's in the binding.


pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added almost 5 years ago

Look at this way. Buying books from Amazon is a far worse disease. One which might kill you . Why not support a local retailer?

added almost 5 years ago

Pierino: you show me a local book retailer in Palm Desert that is not a giant retailer responsible for killing off all the tiny independent book stores I'll eat my own garbage. People who sell used books on Amazon are the new independent sellers.

added almost 5 years ago

I have read articles that say microwaves kill bacteria in sponges and they must be put in the microwave wet, not dry. Don't know if it will transfer to paper and books. I am with Peter S. on this one.


pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added almost 5 years ago

This is where Pierino get's on his soap box about Amazon; they are a community killer. One of the things that Bezos and his lobbyists are doing is resisting paying state sales tax. Two battle ground states have been Arizona and South Carolina. Your next door neighbor retailer is required to collect state tax. Amazon's argument is that you, the purchaser are supposed to report it (like you are going to do that). Some hoe handle legislator in SC actually said that's how it oughta work---depriving his own state of millions of dollars in revenue so that Amazon would put up a warehouse there.

One of my best friends in Arizona (not that I have many) spent a day lobbying on behalf of her business and the other retailers in the state to get a blank look from the legislator. You would think that $65m in revenue in a state with 14% unemployment might draw a response.

And if you trust the "book reviews" on Amazon then I have this big ole box of Ginzu knives in the trunk of my car. Meet you behind the Circle K.

added almost 5 years ago

We are fortunate to have a local treasure trove of a used book store, very independent, and if it's crawling with dead germs I don't care. There are also book sales from local libraries and organizations like AAUW. Otherwise, I like to 'shop' at Better World Books online. This is a business which sells library discards and books from other sources, and also has listings from independent used booksellers all over the US. Their proceeds help support literacy groups all over the world; shipping is free (included in the price).... As a former independent natural foods retailer, I know well how important it is to preserve our local resources, and I try to spend judiciously -- for the community and the planet.


Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

added almost 5 years ago

That's funny, ENunn!! Reminds me of the George Costanza bookstore episode on Seinfeld. I always get my books and dvd's from the library - I wonder how many germs are in those babies??

Good luck and happy sanitizing! :)

added almost 5 years ago

I'd probably just wipe the book with an anti bacterial wipe...never know if there are any staples or small metal objects inside the book which may short the microwave!

added over 4 years ago

Rather than panicking yourself about microbial infection transferral via a book
(highly unlikely anyhow, not the ideal incubating environment what with minimal nutrients, poor temperature range, and time between transferral contacts. Ahem),
why not follow the gold standard used in hospitals, laboratories and clinics, and just wash your hands regularly?
Touch the book, find the recipe, prop it up to reference as you cook, and then wash your hands.....like you would anyway before you started any food prep. No?