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10 Things You Should Never Put in a Microwave

10 Things You Should Never Put in a Microwave

Working from home for just coming on about a year, my whole workflow and day has changed and I found myself never going hungry as I have now taken the responsibility on stocking the new cafeteria and lunch/break room (yes, it is my kitchen). After constantly running back and forth to my 1.4 cu. ft. 1000W Sharp Black Carousel Countertop Microwave Oven to prepare quick meals in between meetings and on breaks, I sometimes think back of some common microwave mistakes and mishaps that have happened due to my own negligence or me not knowing proper microwave safety protocols.

After thinking back to the scare, or sometimes laughter, of times where I either put something in the microwave that I was not supposed to I decided that compiling a list of 10 things you should never put in the microwave for our readers would be the perfect way to increase your awareness. Through these tips, I highly recommend you keep them in the back of your head and maybe even think about the things you keep in your kitchen. Personally, I am always using the microwave and have made many efforts to only use microwave-safe products.

Do you have any products that aren’t on this list? Feel free to add them by connecting with us on social on using #SharpHome on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

 

Chinese food container

Take-Out Containers

There is nothing I love more than a lazy night on the couch with your favorite movie on and some yummy Chinese food. In fact, it is taking everything to not jump off my keyboard, put sweatpants on, and use the remote to stream my favorite movie. At least I know have plans for tonight, right?

When idealizing my favorite night, one of my favorite foods to order is noodles and sometimes I can eat a bit more than the traditional serving size so I make sure to get more than one, and sometimes save the rest for later (perhaps while I am blogging).

One thing I always do as soon I as I prepare to save it for later is to transfer it out of the traditional take-out containers. Most of the time, the handle that is being used is made from metal and according to “Clark” can easily start a fire.

 

Alexa Microwave popcorn

Non-Microwave Popcorn

As you probably know by now between some of my past articles and personal interests, I am a huge movie buff and love nothing more than just to grab a bowl of popcorn and kick back, relax, and enjoy a film. What is even cooler is that my 1.1 cu. ft. 1000W Sharp Stainless Steel Smart Carousel Countertop Microwave Oven (SMC1139FS) comes with Orville Redenbacher’s® Certified Popcorn Preset Tuned for Optimal Popping Results. All I must do is go “Alexa, make me popcorn” and then there she goes!
Throughout society, we have always learned that you just place a bag of popcorn in a microwave and then poof, you are good to go. However, after reading “Money Talk News” I have come to find out that not all popcorn bags are deemed safe and suitable for a microwave. It is extremely important to check the box or individually bag of popcorn and look for the appropriate messaging that ensures you can place it in the microwave. Otherwise, it may be just a brown paper bag and could potentially catch on fire.

 

Silverware

Silverware

If you have not seen the running trend throughout this article, but we can conclude that placing a medal in the microwave is an absolute no due to the potential harm it can cause to your microwave, your kitchen or home, and most importantly, you! When preparing to place foods in the microwave, we tend to use silverware to mix up or transfer them to microwave-safe containers. Coming to mind after reading this informative article from “The Takeout“, is me mixing the spaghetti when I heat the leftovers up.

While it is totally normal to mix it, it is very important that you do not leave the spoon, fork, knives, or any utensil in the bowl or container when it comes time to prep. This sounds easier than it is, but you may be surprised how easy leaving it can be. Overall, just make sure that you double-check whenever preparing something in the microwave, and most importantly, enjoy your meal!

 

Kid holding a brown paper bag

Brown Paper Bags

This item interfering with a microwave oven hits a little too close to home for me. Every day for as long as I could remember during elementary school, my mother would pack me lunch in a brown paper bag. Therefore, I always knew where they were. Another thing you should know about this story is that I love nachos.

One time after school, I really wanted nachos, so I placed a bunch of chips in a brown paper bag and placed it in the microwave. While they were not in there for long, once my mother saw that I placed them in the microwave, she ran and took them out. At that point, I learned that brown paper bags have no place in the microwave.

After reflecting upon this story and a bit more research I have come to learn from “Life Hacker” and the “US Department of Agriculture” that placing brown paper bags could cause it to flame and emit toxic fumes due to the intense heart interacting with the materials. Bottom line, if you don’t want to burn your house on fire keep brown paper bags and microwaves separate.

 

Styrofoam container

Styrofoam Containers

I think many, if not most people I know have questioned whether Styrofoam containers are microwave-safe and if they are deemed okay to safely place in the microwave. Almost every time I go out to eat, and when I was a waiter, anytime I interacted with leftovers or wrapped up food that was not finished I always brought them home in Styrofoam containers. The important thing to take away is no, it is not okay to use them to reheat or prepare food in a microwave.

According to “Interesting Engineering” Styrofoam contains plastic, which is a big no-no for a microwave, but also contains toxic chemicals in the container. When melted or heated, the release of these chemicals can go into your food or beverage and infect it. I’m not sure about you, but personally, I feel a bit more comfortable just transferring everything to a microwave-safe dish.

 

Guy holding a stainless steel coffee mug

Travel Mugs

After coming home to quarantine, I have made the realization after two days that my father is addicted to travel coffee mugs and loves to purchase one at every destination we go to, or any time they are on the end-cap at the store. In fact, we now have two shelves above the coffee machine dedicated to these travel mugs.

This article from the Huff Post taught me that whether you think so or not, travel mugs are not deemed microwave safe due to the stainless steel. It will not be effective due to the stainless steel blocking the heat, therefore causing the microwave not to work. In fact, there is a chance it could damage your microwave.

And by the way, I made sure to text my dad to tell him before writing this.

 

Aluminum Foil

Aluminum Foil

Everyone has a process when it comes to wrapping up leftovers after dinner. If you are a member of my house, you will quickly learn that we just pull out the aluminum foil and quickly place it over the plate we are trying to save for later. While this is a great concept to use over microwave-safe plates, however, it is very important that you do not place it in the microwave as it could be extremely harmful.

Don’t believe me? Take it from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), who deem it as potentially dangerous. The reflection causes the heat not to warm the food and shield it from getting warm, while in the meantime the heat could potentially spark causing a fire. Instead, always inspect the food and make sure there are no small pieces in the microwave or on the plate before you press the button on the microwave.

 

Happy Birthday paper plates

Seasonal and Celebratory Paper Plates

This tip came from someone on my immediate workgroup team and I had no idea this could even cause an issue until they told me. Ever buy those paper plates that are designed for the season at the supermarket or local dollar store? I am talking about the ones that say, ‘Happy Birthday’ or ‘Class of 2021’ and everything in between. While these festive plates really help ring in the celebration with you and your loved ones, adding to the aesthetic of the event, it is important that you steer away from putting these types of plates in the microwave.

To increase durability and keep them low cost, some of the plated contain aluminum or metal that is not deemed microwave safe. While you may think that you are simply just reheating your food, placing plates like these (where you are not 100% sure of the materials used) can cause severe damage to your microwave or even start an unsafe fire. Personally, I still buy the plates, but make sure to transfer all the foods in microwave-safe plates/containers before reheating them.

 

Pasta with red sauce

Red Sauce

If you ever meet me, in the first five minutes you will come to learn that I love all things pasta, and everything related to it. Being my favorite meal of all time, especially with a red sauce, knowing the ins and out of how to prepare it is second-hand knowledge at this point. I would love to share it with you!

Here is a huge, and messy tip! Whenever you have a sauce that you want to heat up that you made the night before or want to prepare some red sauce to compensate with some freshly boiled pasta, PUT A LID ON IT! According to the Huff Post, placing the red sauce in the microwave without a lid can get really messy, causing it to get everywhere due to the ingredients.

Instead, make sure that when the sauce is alone that you have a microwave-safe lid on it.

 

Person closing a microwave oven

Nothing At All

This one may come as quite strange; therefore, it is the perfect way to wrap up this list of things you can’t place in the microwave. If you can’t think about what it is, I guess you are sort of right because the answer is nothing.

According to “The Spruce”, one of the worst things to place in your microwave is actually nothing at all. When microwaves turn and are being used, the heat has no place to be absorbed. While the heat is typically absorbed by the food would have nowhere to go, potentially causing an explosion.

You may be thinking, “what kind of person may turn on their microwave with nothing inside of it”, it can be a common mistake to turn it on and forgot to put something in it, or you may think about trying it out as soon as you get it and want to see if it works.

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