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ask lifehacker Cooking Food Health Household kitchen microwaves Safety

What Should and Shouldn’t I Microwave?


Photo: Shutterstock

Microwaves are either a total kitchen life-saver or dangerous radiation machines, depending on who you ask. In reality, they are great for certain purposes, but not for others. Here’s how to figure out what to microwave and what to skip.

Dear Lifehacker,
I heard it’s dangerous to microwave food in plastic containers or plastic wrap because of scary food-contaminating chemicals. Is that true? What other things are safe or unsafe to use in the microwave?

Signed,
Nervous Nuking

Dear Nervous,
The microwave is a powerful appliance, and with that power comes great potential for harm—things like sparks or explosions and, yes, possible chemicals leaching into your foods. Don’t worry, though, your microwave most likely won’t kill you. Just heed these recommendations for safe microwave cooking.

Containers

More often than not, you’re going to need to put your foods and drinks in something to microwave them. Here are the materials that work best as containers and the ones to avoid.

Do:

Don’t:

Debatable:

Food and drinks

Interestingly enough, even microwaving certain foods can be hazardous to your health or cause accidents, although overall microwaving food is great and can even help certain foods retain more nutrients.

Do:

Don’t:

Caution:

Other objects

You probably already know most metals shouldn’t be put in the microwave unless you want sparks and a light show. The list of other things you shouldn’t put in the microwave is pretty long, but there are also some unusual, non-destructive ways to use your microwave.

Do:

Don’t:

Debatable:

Enjoy,
Lifehacker

This story was originally published on 2/27/14 and was updated on 10/9/19 to provide more thorough and current information.



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