We love microwaves because they make meal time a breeze. But there are some everyday items that should never go in this popular kitchen appliance, despite how innocent they may seem. Here’s everything you need to know to you stay safe while using the handy microwave.
Old Mugs and Teacups
Making a microwave mug cake in an old teacup might make for a cute Instagram post, but some mugs and teacups made before the 1960s can contain lead and other harmful heavy metals that leach into food upon heating. Always use new kitchenware in the microwave to avoid exposing yourself to potential toxic risks.
Microwaving as a method of defrosting meat often means part of the meat cooks while other parts do not. This creates uneven and unpleasant texture and can lead to bacteria growth. The safest and tastiest way to defrost meat is to defrost it in the fridge overnight, or to warm it up under running water.
Frozen Breast Milk
Microwave heat can warm breast milk unevenly, creating unexpected scalding temperatures for babies’ mouths. Research has also found that microwave heat can kill some proteins found in breast milk if it gets too hot. For best results, place a container of breast milk in warm water until it comes to room temperature.
China With Metallic Trim
Even small amounts of metallic trim can react in the microwave. Save your china for special occasions, and only use dishes without metallic trim when using the microwave to heat something up.
Much like plastic, Styrofoam can release harmful chemicals into your food when heated. Always transfer leftovers onto a microwave-safe dish to heat them up instead.
Even small amounts of metal, like on Chinese takeout containers, can cause fires. To be safe, always transfer takeout to a microwave-safe dish before heating.
Stainless steel mugs can damage your microwave by blocking heat. If your travel mug is plastic, be sure to check to see if it’s marked as microwave safe. If not, always transfer coffee or tea to a microwave-safe ceramic mug.
Plastic Containers and Tupperware
Many plastics contain chemicals like BPA that can leach into food when heated. A study published in Environmental Health Perspectives found 95 percent of 450 plastic products — including baby bottles and products labeled “BPA-free” — released estrogen-like chemicals after they were heated.
The magnetron is what generates microwaves, and aluminum foil blocks the it from getting absorbed by the food, resulting in cold food, a broken microwave and possibly even a fire.
When there’s no food or liquid to absorb, microwaves end up absorbing their own microwaves. Not only is this likely to damage your appliance, but it can also start a fire.
Uncovered Red Sauce
Always use a cover when microwaving red sauce to prevent a baked-on mess that could take hours of scrubbing to clean up.
When water is heated in a microwave for too long it can prevent bubbles from forming, which are beneficial to cooling the liquid down. When you finally reach for the cup to move it, heat could rise and cause the boiling water to erupt and burn you. If you must heat water in the microwave, do so in short, gradual intervals to ensure the water is hot enough without posing a safety risk.
Grapes explode in the microwave due to them being the right size and shape to act as an antenna that focuses power and heat in its middle. The skin joining a grape heats up, vaporizes and then bursts into flames.
Seemingly innocent, paper bags should never be microwaved as they can release toxins and erupt in flames when heated by a microwave’s intense heat.