25 items you shouldn’t put in the microwave

What items should you keep out of the microwave?

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With the invention of the microwave came a lot of convenience for people worldwide. It is a great way to reheat food quickly and easily without having to wait for a stove or oven to heat up and waiting forever for your food to cook. Most people use a microwave everyday simply because it is so easy to use and they do not have the time to cook every night.


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You can basically cook anything in a microwave and reheat leftover meals. However, putting certain things in the microwave can be potentially dangerous. Kitchen fires are caused by many different appliances but one appliance that starts many are microwaves. Around 430 deaths per year are caused by cooking fires so it is important to know how they can be avoided.

While the microwave has brought a lot of ease and comfort into our lives, there a certain things that are pretty much off limits to put in the microwave. Unless you are looking to blow up your microwave or something even worse, you probably should not put these things in your microwave. Throwing these items in the microwave could lead to unwanted consequences such as exposing yourself to chemicals, make someone sick, or even start a fire!

We have created a list of items including foods and other items that should stay as far away from your microwave as possible. While you will no doubt know certain items on this list that you should not microwave such as plastic, there are items that will definitely surprise you. If you want to know what you should never put in a microwave and how to stay safe in your kitchen, keep reading.

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Eggs

Cooking hard boiled eggs in the microwave has become a popular internet trend recently. While this sounds like a convenient and easy way to make an egg without having to wait for water to boil, it is definitely not worth the risk. A microwave works by emitting radio waves that are channeled directly onto the food. This causes a large amount of steam to come out of the egg which can make the egg explode.

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Styrofoam containers

Most people know that putting plastic in the microwave is a big no no. But what many people do not know is that styrofoam contains plastic. When you put a styrofoam container in the microwave it might look like it’s melting or change shape. This is because putting styrofoam in the microwave can release toxic chemicals that can be potentially harmful to you if they make their way into the food that is in the container.

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Nothing

We’re not joking here. While it may seem weird, running a microwave with nothing in it can be potentially dangerous. The radio waves that are emitted when a microwave runs with nothing in it are absorbed into the microwave itself. The microwave is not meant to run without anything inside of it and it is not able to handle all of the waves. This can lead to the machine self-destructing or potentially starting a fire.

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Hot peppers

This is an interesting food that should not be microwaved. There is a chemical in hot peppers called capsaicin, which is what makes the pepper spicy. After you microwave a hot pepper, the vapor that is released can potentially burn your throat or eyes. Hot peppers can also explode in the microwave or even catch fire. So if you don’t want your hot peppers to be really hot, keep them out of your microwave.

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Fruit

While we do not really know anyone that would enjoy having their food microwaved, it is not recommended to try. It is well-known that putting grapes in the microwave will cause them to explode which could result in a fire. Another member of the grape family that you should not microwave are raisins. Grapes and raisins emit plasma when microwaved which can cause fruits to smoke and even break you microwave.

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Aluminum foil

Aluminum foil is an item that has a more obvious reason for not being microwaved. Aluminum foil is a metal and like every other metal, it has the potential to catch fire in the microwave. Microwaves are often lined with metal which is useful for heating food but when it heats metal, it reflects heat instead of absorbing it. Instead of risking our microwave or safety, it is better to reheat or cook food by using a container that is microwave-safe.

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China

China is a definite no no for the microwave especially if there are metal accents such as gold bands as decoration. Much like aluminum foil, putting these metal accents in the microwave can have dangerous consequences. It can result in your dishes being ruined or creating sparks or fire. Checking for a microwave-safe label on the bottom of your dishes is a great way to ensure that you don’t start a fire.

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Breast milk

Many new moms are busy and freeze their breast milk in order to keep up with a hectic lifestyle. While it is fine to let the breastmilk thaw after it is taken out of the freezer, putting it in the microwave to warm it up is not such a good idea. When put in the microwave, milk does not heat evenly which can create very hot parts that can potentially harm a baby. The best way to heat a bottle of milk is by running it under hot tap water.

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Chinese take-out containers

While these containers are very convenient to throw in the microwave, it is not a good idea. Although the containers themselves are made from cardboard, the handles on the boxes are usually made from metal. While they are very small, they still run the risk of catching fire when heated. The best thing to do is to transfer your Chinese take-out onto microwave safe plates.

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Frozen meat

It can sometimes be very inconvenient to thaw frozen meat as it takes quite a bit of time depending on how much meat you are thawing. Many people may use their microwave to speed up this process, however, it can have negative results. Thawing frozen meat in a microwave can cause bacteria to grow in the meat which can result in foodborne illness. The reason for this is that if the meat has different thicknesses, not all of it will absorb heat at the same rate.

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Water

If you put water in the microwave without anything else in it to diffuse the energy from the microwave, like tea or coffee, the water will ‘superheat’. This means that the water is not boiled but it is extremely hot. If something is added to the water when it is taken out of the microwave, it has the potential to explode. We suggest using a kettle or boiling water on a pot to heat it up.

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Yogurt or butter containers

Yogurt containers or butter containers that are being used for other purposes should not be put in the microwave. While these type of containers might be convenient to re-use, they are intended for one-time-use. Since these containers contain plastic, they are likely to release harmful chemicals into your food when microwaved. It is best to use containers intended for the microwave or to transfer you food onto dish ware to heat your food.

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Bread

While microwaving bread won’t start a fire or ruin your microwave, it will certainly make your bread unappetising. Putting bread in the microwave makes the texture of the bread chewy and too moist. If you experience this, simply putting your bread in an oven for a couple of minutes will make it return to the desired texture. Sometimes it is better to take a little extra time in warming up your food in order to ensure that it tastes good.

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Sauce with no lid

It is very important to make sure that all the sauces you intend to microwave are covered before you heat them. Sauces have the reputation for exploding in the microwave with no lid. This creates a huge mess that you will probably not want to deal with. Covering your sauce with a lid or even a paper towel will help you avoid this unwanted mess.

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Travel mugs

Many travel mugs are made out of stainless steel which is definitely not microwave safe. The stainless steel material will block whatever is in your travel mug from heating as well as potentially causing damage to your microwave. The better option is putting your drink into a microwave safe mug or thermos which will also allow your drink to actually be heated.

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Processed meat

While most of us would never think that microwaving a hot dog would be a problem, it is actually not a great idea. Hot dogs are full of preservatives, which when microwaved, can lead to the production of cholesterol oxidation products. These have been linked to heart disease according to a study conducted in India. Processed meat is not the healthiest food to being with and microwaving it has the potential to make it even more unhealthy.

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Leafy greens

While these may seem completely reasonable to microwave, according to some experts, microwaving kale or other leafy greens can spark. A professor of from the University of Colorado who teaches electrical engineering, says that there is a possibility that some vegetables will spark when microwaved. So if you are trying to make a healthy dinner, it might be best to just stick to cooking your vegetables on the stove or in the oven.

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Oil

While this exercise is not dangerous at all, heating cooking oils will not produce the results you want. Cooking oils are surprisingly not liquids but rather fats. This means that heating oils like olive or canola oil will not really do much. There is not actually any liquid in them to heat so the will not get as warm as one would expect.

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Uncooked rice

While most people will not be microwaving uncooked rice anytime soon, it is good to know that it should not be microwaved. According to the food standards agency in the U.K., rice can house dangerous bacteria. Putting rice in the microwave will not kill the bacteria which can potentially lead to food poisoning. It is much better to just boil your rice in water to stay on the safe side.

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Leftover potatoes

This food might seem safe to put in the microwave and in most cases it is. However, according to the Woman’s Day website, you should be cautious when it comes to reheating potatoes. They claim that if you if you let your potatoes cool all the way down before putting them in the fridge and then throw them in the microwave, they are susceptible to botulism. It cannot be killed when the potatoes are reheated which could make you very ill.

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Frozen fruit

Putting your frozen fruit in the microwave may sound like an odd thing to do, but many people do just that in order to defrost the fruit quickly. However this could have negative consequences as some of the beneficial properties have the potential to be converted into dangerous carcinogen. This can lead to unwanted immunological effects. It is best just to defrost frozen fruit overnight in the fridge or in smaller portions so it defrosts more quickly.

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Leftover mushrooms

Much like leftover potatoes, mushrooms can make you sick if you do not store them properly before you reheat them. Mushrooms are incredibly susceptible to microorganisms which could lead to a stomach ache or food poisoning if they are not reheated correctly. If you do not want to get sick, putting you mushrooms in the fridge after you cooked them is the best way to ensure your health.

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Food that was preheated multiple times

According to the FDA, if you keeping reheating food that has been in your fridge for over four days, the quality of the food goes down every time you heat it up and it cools down. After a few days in the fridge or being microwaved a couple of times, the best thing to do is throw the food away. While it might seem like a waste, it is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your health.

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Old mugs

Some mugs that were made prior to the 60s were known to be glazed with certain materials that have the potential to give off radiation according to ‘Smithsonian.com’. Some mugs even contain heavy metals or lead. So if you found an old mug in your grandmother’s cupboard or at a garage sale, you might not want to put it in the microwave.

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French fries

While they are not dangerous to microwave, French fries lose their taste and texture when reheated. They tend to get soggy and just generally are not as good and when you first made or bought them. One way to solve this is by frying your leftover fries in hot oil. After the fries are cooked and return to their original texture, the oil can be removed with a paper towel.

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