13 Things You Should Not Put Into A Microwave Oven

Last Updated on 23 January, 2023 by Sourav Roy

Being cautious whilst using an oven may seem like an obvious thing to do. However, you’d be surprised to know how many people end up dealing with kitchen fires along with a myriad of other disasters because of the things they put into their microwaves. Don’t let yourself be in their shoes- it goes a long way for your safety to know items that can spell disasters when put into an oven. As always, I’ve got your back. In this post, I’ll talk about things not to put into a microwave oven.


Things Not To Put Into A Microwave Oven

Things You Should Not Put Into A Microwave Oven

As long as you heed what I say, you won’t have to worry about getting hurt, and you can cook up super tasty recipes in peace. Now, let’s get started.


1. Aluminium Foil

Aluminum Foil on Microwave Oven

Aluminium foil is metal. If you reheat any food wrapped in aluminium, there’s a huge chance that sparks will fly, and the experience certainly won’t be pleasant. Things like these catch fire easily because of the microwave’s metal interior.

Why, you ask? Well, oven interiors are designed to reflect microwaves. This results in the production of electromagnetic energy that heats the items inside. When the foil is put into the microwave oven, the microwaves also bounce on and off it, due to its composition. This causes it to start burning. Most of the time, something like that can damage the oven. However, there’s also a good chance the fire might spread and grow into something even more dangerous.


2. Paper Bag

Paper Bag on Microwave Oven

Paper bags are generally made to be safe for microwave use. They’re made of susceptors, a form of metallised film that’s designed to consume microwaves. However, the ones found across India aren’t ones that you’d want to put into your oven. Shops and restaurants often cheap out and use regular paper bags.

These bags don’t have susceptors. So, when they get heated, they produce harmful toxins and fumes. That alone is bad on its own, but if the oven heats fast enough, the bag can literally catch fire. Your food will be ruined, and potentially your oven or kitchen might get the same fate as well.


3. Plastic Items

plastic items on microwave oven

Keep out those plastic grocery bags out of your microwave. Do the same for plastic containers, too. That’s because when plastic gets heated up, it releases two certain chemicals. For one, it releases Bisphenol A (BPA), which is used to make plastic’s transparent. It also releases phthalates, which are chemicals used to increase the durability of plastics. BPA and phthalates are “endocrine disrupters”; they’re like human hormones, but not in any good way. I’d highly recommend putting your stuff onto something safer before reheating.

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4. Eggs

This one’s a classic. Putting eggs into a microwave won’t end well at all for you. That’s because of how high microwave temperatures can get. At one point, steam will start gathering inside the shell, and it’ll blow up eventually. Before you blink thrice, the insides of your oven will be covered by egg.


5. Styrofoam Containers

Styrofoam Containers in microwave oven

You might want to put in cups or bowls made out of styrofoam for some quick reheating. However, I’d highly advise against trying that. That sounds convenient and useful for when you’re in a hurry. However, styrofoam is a type of plastic as well. Heating it will probably make the foam melt, coating the food inside with chemicals.

Not to mention, if the foam does melt, you’ll have to pick up the food from the bottom of the microwave since it’ll just slip out of the container. Certain containers can be microwaved if they’re labelled microwave-safe, though.


6. Travel Mugs

Travel Mugs in microwave oven

You might be in a rush sometimes and want to get a quick reheat for your drink, which you’ve kept in your favourite travel mug. But putting the mug into an oven won’t do anything for you. Travel mugs are normally made of stainless steel, which won’t even let you reheat your beverage as it blocks out most of the heat. If it’s a plastic mug, that might work- as long as the mug is marked “microwave-safe” in the bottom, that is.


7. Raw Meat

raw meat in microwave

You can defrost raw meat in an oven, yeah, but then you’ll have to spend a long time cleaning up your oven or eat your meals while they stink of blood and raw flesh. Even if you manage to clean the oven, you’ll still deal with more consequences later on. If heat isn’t distributed properly during the defrost process, there’s a high chance that bacteria can grow and spread on the meat.

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8. Grapes

Grapes in A Microwave Oven

It’s fun to experiment with an oven and all, but grapes are not the right thing to try. They’ll explode like eggs, and they can even catch fire. Your oven is definitely going to get damaged, and you might even be left with a full-fledged fire to deal with.


9. Uncovered Sauces

Uncovered Sauces in A Microwave Oven

Sauces won’t explode on you like certain other foods on this list, but they’ll definitely cause a mess. When you put them to heat in your oven without a cover, they’ll immediately start bubbling. They can even go straight to the point where they will boil over and spill out into your oven if left unattended, filling it with smoke. You probably don’t want that either. While you’re at it, you probably should cover everything you put inside the oven unless it’s explicitly unsafe to do so.


10. Hot Peppers

Hot Peppers in A Microwave Oven

When you’re in the mood for burning your tongue with some hot peppers, you definitely shouldn’t put them into an oven to heat. You’ll burn the insides of your oven, too, as they tend to catch on fire. It doesn’t end there either- they can also release chemicals that burn your eyes.

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11. Take-out Containers

Take-out Containers in A Microwave Oven

If you got something from a restaurant and want to heat it up in your oven before eating, do so on a microwave-safe plate or bowl. Containers are either usually made of styrofoam or at least have bits of metal in them, which can still cause problems.


12. Laundry

dry your clothes in an oven

No, I’m not kidding. People actually try this- a quick search on Google will bring up dozens of results. Even if you’re desperately in need of drying and need an alternative because your dryer doesn’t work, never attempt to dry your clothes in an oven. There’s definitely a risk of fire, depending on the fabric of whatever you put in. If that alone doesn’t worry you, your clothes will also come out stinking of leftover food if you successfully dry them through this “esoteric” method.


13. Nothing

running empty oven

When you turn on your oven and are about to put something in, but get distracted by something and forget to do so, then the oven might go ka-boom on you. When the oven’s running with something actually inside, the microwaves have a place to go to. But with nothing inside, they’ll just bounce about in the interior and eventually get absorbed back into the oven again, causing damage to it.

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That goes for my list of things not to put in a microwave oven. As I said before, I agree that it’s fun to experiment with an oven, but do avoid going overboard. It’s still an electronic appliance in the end and can malfunction or cause a fire if not used correctly. With that in mind, be careful with the things you put into it and enjoy your food!

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