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27 foods and items that should never be put in the microwave

27 foods and items that should never be put in the microwave

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 there – unless you are looking to blow it up. So we have created a helpful list of 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, there are certain things that might surprise you…

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.

Eggs

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. If that doesn’t make you queasy enough, just try to remember how much better an egg tastes when it slides right off of a steaming frying pan.

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.

Styrofoam containers

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. Danger can sometimes come in unexpected places – you never know what’s happening with the toxic chemicals you can’t see.

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.

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Nothing

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.

Hot peppers

This is a food most people don’t know should never 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.

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Hot peppers

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.

Fruit

While we do not really know anyone that would enjoy having their fruit microwaved, it is not recommended to try. It is well-known for example putting grapes in the microwave will cause them to explode, which could result in a fire.

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Fruit

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.

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.

Aluminum foil

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.

China

China is a definite no no for the microwave, especially if there are metal accents such as gold bands decorated on those delicate tea cups and plates. Much like aluminum foil, putting these metal accents in the microwave can have dangerous consequences.

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China

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.

Human milk

Many new moms are busy and freeze their milk in order to keep up with the hectic lifestyle that comes with a new baby. While it is fine to let the milk thaw after it is taken out of the freezer, putting it in the microwave to warm it up is not such a good idea.

Human milk

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.

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.

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Chinese take-out containers

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. Or just eat it semi-cold. Chinese take-out is delicious at any temperature!

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.

Frozen meat

Thawing frozen meat in a microwave can cause bacteria to grow in the meat which can result in foodborne illnesses (more commonly known as food poisoning). The reason for this is that if the meat has different thicknesses, not all of it will absorb heat at the same rate.

Water

If you put a cup of water in the microwave without anything else in it to diffuse the energy from the microwave, like tea or coffee, the water will ‘superheat’.

Water

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 make that nice cp of coffee or tea in the morning.

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.

Yogurt or butter containers

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.

Bread

While microwaving bread won’t start a fire or ruin your microwave, it will certainly make your bread unappetizing. Putting bread in the microwave makes the texture of the bread chewy and too moist.

Bread

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.

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.

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Sauce 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, so you can enjoy your soup instead of cleaning the microwave for half an hour.

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.

Travel mugs

The better option is putting your drink into a microwave safe mug or thermos which will also allow your drink to actually be heated. Today there are also an increasing number of microwave safe mugs, just make sure to read the care instructions to find out.

Hot dogs

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.

Hot dogs

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.

Leafy greens

While these may seem completely reasonable to microwave, according to some experts, microwaving kale or other leafy greens can create a spark.

Leafy greens

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.

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, and therefore react in surprising ways to microwave heat.

Oil

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. Better use the oils of your choice either raw as part of salad dressings, or to cook foods in a frying pan or oven.

Uncooked rice

While most people will not be microwaving uncooked rice anytime soon, it is good to know that it should definitely never be microwaved – not even as a funny home experiment just to see what will happen.

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Uncooked rice

According to the food standards agency in the U.K., rice can actually  house very dangerous bacteria. And putting rice in the microwave will not kill that bacteria, which can then potentially lead to food poisoning. It is much better to just boil your rice in water the traditional way, to stay on the safe side.

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.

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Leftover 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.

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 to then use it in pie, eat it with some yoghurt or in a shake.

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Frozen fruit

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.

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.

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Leftover mushrooms

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. Or simply fry up a new batch every time, it doesn’t take more than a few minutes and tastes a lot better freshly cooked than microwaved.

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.

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Food that was preheated multiple times

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. If you have a big batch of leftovers, best to store in portion sizes and put most in the freezer.

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’.

Old mugs

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. Better treasure it and use it for your weekend morning coffee, the one you take your time to make the real way (without a microwave involved).

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.

French fries

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. But the best thing to do is, of course, to always eat freshly fried French fries!

Your clothes

A lot of people use their microwaves to dry their clothes. It’s not as crazy as it sounds at first. Think about it – in the absence of an actual clothes dryer, it would be the next best thing, right? After all, microwaves heat things, and “heat” equals “dry.”

Your clothes

Well, the truth in this case is a little more complex. Yes, in theory your microwave can dry your favorite T-shirt. Maybe. Here’s the thing – micowaves damage fabric the same way a strong, caustic detergent does. If you’re not careful, it can break down both natural and synthetic fibers, not to mention that any metal buttons or studs could catch fire.

Regular paper bags

“Hang on,” we hear some cynic in the back saying, “I nuke popcorn in paper bags all the time and it’s super tasty!” Be that as it may, popcorn fiend, we suggest you take a look inside those bags. See that shiny lining? It’s not giving the kernels something to look at.

Regular paper bags

The lining is made up of susceptors, which are made to absorb the electromagnetic energy produced by the microwave and convert it to heat. Do not try doing the same thing with a plain brown bag or anything similar. Without those susceptors, paper bags are liable to release toxins and fumes when nuked, or even catch fire.

Tomato sauce

College students, or just everyday people finding it hard to make ends meet, know the value of pasta. It’s cheap, it’s easy to prepare and it’s very filling. However, be very careful if you want to take a shortcut when heating your pasta’s tomato sauce.

Tomato sauce

The sauce is too thick to allow the heat and steam to reliably escape, meaning it builds up until it potentially explodes inside your microwave, making a mess. Worse still, it might get trapped in “pockets” and then explode when you take it out and stir it, causing stained clothes or possibly serious injury.

Containers with ‘microwave safe’ labels

No need to panic but yes, it’s true – that “microwave safe” label doesn’t mean anything more or less than that it’s possible to heat the containers in the microwave without either damaging them or it. But… that’s not saying much, is it?

Containers with ‘microwave safe’ labels

Think about it this way: the container might be fine, and the microwave might be fine, but what if it heated it up so much that it’s now impossible to touch without getting burned? That’s entirely possible, so be very careful when handling them.

Ink/gel pens

You might not even be aware of this, but perfectly good pens might get clogged up, or their ink might dry out a little, but there’s no need to throw them away.

Ink/gel pens

In actuality, heating them up a bit might just loosen the ink enough to allow the ball to roll again – and the pen to become usable. However, either use a lighter or some hot water to heat up the pen. If you pop that bad boy in the microwave, the ink will be roasted and the pen will be ruined irrevocably.

Kitchen sponges

Ironically enough, sometimes the filthiest thing in our kitchen may just be the sponges we use to clean them. People are aware of this, and figure zapping them in the microwave for a bit should get rid of those pesky bacteria and microorganisms.

Kitchen sponges

Not only is that not true, but it’s also dangerous. First off, the heat will not get rid of all the bacteria, and secondly, over time it might even become resistant to heat altogether. If you want to clean your sponge, which we recommend, use anti-bacterial cleaner or bleach instead.

Croissants

Is there a better way to start the morning with a fluffy, yummy, and delicious croissant? If there is, we certainly don’t know it. Or what about an airy Danish, to go along with your cup of joe? Bliss. Pure bliss.

Croissants

But if either of those, or other puff pastries you might have lying around, are less than fresh, do yourself a favor and don’t heat them up in a microwave. They’re so tasty because of the better used to make them. When heated in a microwave, the butter melts, causing the pastry to collapse and leaving you with a gross, greasy mess. Just pop them in an oven.

Fish

Listen, unless you live on a deserted island that somehow has electrical access, do not under any circumstances heat fish up in a microwave. Let’s put aside for a moment everything else – the smell alone will likely put you off fish, and possibly food in general, for life.

Fish

As for the taste and texture, they’re honestly not much better than the smell. On top of that, certain fish may explode in the microwave – which might spare you having to eat them, which is a plus, but you’ll still have to clean up the resulting mess.

Pizza

Show of hands – who here hasn’t nuked leftover pizza in a moment of culinary desperation mixed with laziness? Sure, everyone knows you should put them in the oven to reheat them instead, but… honestly, who has the energy?

Pizza

Sometimes, throwing them in and nuking them for a couple of minutes is all we have energy for. However, microwaved pizza becomes either chewy or tooth-shattering. In all honesty, it’s probably better to just eat it cold. If you insist, put a mug of water along with it, either next to or underneath the pizza.

Chicken

Don’t get us wrong here – it’s perfectly possible to cook chicken in the microwave, if you know what you’re doing. The part after the “if,” though? That’s where the emphasis is. The problem with microwaved chicken, as with many other microwaved foods, is that it doesn’t cook evenly.

Chicken

What that means is that you may end up with chicken that’s fully cooked on the outside but completely raw on the inside. And raw chicken could potentially lead to contracting salmonella and other things you really don’t want to get. Our advice? Cook it in an oven. It’ll take longer, but you won’t catch any life-threatening diseases.

Chips

Areas with high humidity frequently lead to soggy snacks, sometimes within minutes of opening them. This sad fact of life doesn’t mean that you should try to dry out your chips in the microwave, however!

Chips

Not only will this burn the chips and give them a chemical aftertaste, but if you’re heating them in their original bag, the foil lining on the inside is sure to start sparking and potentially cause a fire to break out. If that isn’t bad enough, the plastic can also melt and release noxious fumes.

Butter

Several recipes call for warm butter, but if you keep yours in the fridge, you may be inspired to take a shortcut and instead nuke the pad to quickly ready it. Don’t!

Butter

Not only is butter a fat, which means that it doesn’t melt in quite the way you’d expect, but it can also store up a surprising amount of heat and then explode into sizzling goo once moved. Either set this room-temperature safe dairy out the night before, or keep it under a covered dish on your counter.

Potholders

Sure, they’re designed to withstand a lot of heat so that your hands don’t have to, but most potholders aren’t designed to be used in the microwave. Not only do they usually have silicon rubber pads, which are a burn hazard that’ll definitely leave your microwave stinky, but even the cloth ones can catch on fire if exposed to shortwave radiation.

Potholders

Besides, if you have potholders you should be reheating and preparing your meals on a stovetop or in the oven anyway, instead of in the microwave!

Coffee

You probably know the pain of waking up, pouring yourself a morning cup of Joe, and then getting so tied up in other things that by the time you return to your brew, it’s become ice cold. Sure, the microwave is right there and you’re still in a hurry, but don’t reheat your coffee in there!

Coffee

Not only will this give your coffee a burnt taste, but you’ll also be reactivating the acidity of the beans, leaving you with a bitter, rancid tasting coffee.

Chocolate

Ah, whether it’s gourmet baker’s chocolate or just candy from the store, there are fewer delights quite as sweet as chocolate is. But if your cookie recipe calls for melted chocolate, or if you’re looking to make some homemade candy of your own, you might be tempted to skip the copper pots and boiling water and just nuke the treat.

Chocolate

This will not only scorch the chocolate and make it nastily bitter, but may also superheat it and cause it to burst once you take it out.

Cake

There’s really nothing quite as delightful as biting into a slice of freshly baked cake. You may be inspired to recreate that sensation by microwaving your dessert to reheat it, but please don’t! Baking is chemistry, which means delicate balances and formulas are needed to get your snack just right.

Cake

Heating it again afterwards will just dry it out like a piece of stale bread, scorch any frosting added, and leave you with a burnt, disgusting mess to throw away.

Bleach

Okay, first of all, why? Sure, you might be thinking that your bright whites come cleanest when you put the dryer on the highest heat setting and douse it with bleach, but nuking a tub of bleach to save a step is a recipe for disaster!

Bleach

Not only is the chemical flammable so you may end up with a dangerous explosion on your hands, but the fumes are already noxious enough as is, adding heat will only make it worse and ramp up the toxicity.

Baby Bottles

Sure, keeping your baby’s drink container sterile and clean is important, but even if your bottle says dishwasher safe, that doesn’t mean you should microwave it. There are many things that can easily go awry.

Baby Bottles

The rubber tips can melt down and destroy the bottle, or the plastic bottle itself may release chemicals and soften up. Worst of all, you might overheat the contents, and end up serving your poor child a scorching mouthful! Stick to soap and hot water, and always remember to check the temperature first.

Pet Food

Warm food is a rare treat for most domesticated animals, but nowadays modern products aim to remedy that with easy-prepare gourmet pet meals. Whether you’re just starting out or trying your own approach, using the microwave is a giant no go.

Pet Food

Not only do you risk burning your pets’ sensitive tongues, but you could destroy the careful metabolic balance of the food by exposing it to heat. And of course, if the can is metal, you’ll be just as startled as your four-legged friends when the microwave suddenly explodes.

Toothbrushes

Maybe you don’t want to have to throw away and replace your toothbrush, or maybe a friend borrowed it and you want to make sure it is clean. Either way, sticking your brush into the microwave to zap the germs away is a terrible idea.

Toothbrushes

Not only will the soft plastic bristles melt down into hard goo, but if they have any internal components those will be fried, as well. It is much safer and cleaner to just use hot water and a tiny dab of antibacterial soap.