Heating food with a microwave oven is convenient. It is a fast and simple way to get your meals ready. But not all containers are safe for use in a microwave oven.
Manufacturers will usually put a label to indicate the containers as "microwave safe". If the container does not have this label, it should not be used in the microwave oven.
Improper use of containers inside the microwave oven may cause fire hazards, explosions, and also potentially affect your health.
How to Tell if a Container is Microwave Safe?
One way to tell if the container is safe for microwave usage is to put it to test, here's how:
- Place the empty container that you want to test inside the microwave.
- Place a microwave-safe cup with water inside the first empty container.
- Heat on high for one minute, then carefully test the temperature of the empty container.
If the container is hot, it's not safe to use in the microwave. Slightly warm or cool glass is microwave safe.
It is also important to take note that any containers that come with metal rims, finishes, and linings should be avoided in the microwave oven. Metals can cause sparks and fire hazards when exposed to microwaves.
What Containers Are Microwaves Safe?
Glass Containers and Bowls
Glassware is usually microwave safe as long as they don't come with any metal rims or metal finishes. Always check if it is marked as microwave safe if you are unsure.
Glass containers that have chipped edges should also be avoided as they may cause uneven heat distributions and crack inside the oven.
Ceramic and Porcelain
Stoneware like ceramics and porcelain are generally safe for microwave usage. However, you must also avoid any containers that have metal finishes and edges.
Most plastic containers that are safe for microwave usage will have a label. If you cannot find a label indicating that, you really shouldn't use it in the microwave oven.
Some plastic contains hormone-disrupting compounds that may cause harm. When heated, it may leach compounds like Bisphenol-A (BPA) which has been linked to conditions like thyroid disorders and cancer, into your food.
The Bottom Line
Microwave ovens provide quick and convenient ways for us to prepare food. But they are only safe if the food container used is specifically designed for exposure to heat.
Be sure to always transfer food stored in take-out containers, plastic cold-storage containers, or trays to a microwave-safe container before cooking or reheating.