8 Things You Should Never Put in the Microwave

The microwave is a very strange appliance

A scalding glass of water can explode in your face when microwaved, which makes for a very bad time.

We may think we know everything there is to know about microwaves, but we really don’t. It cooks foods fast and hot, and there are dangers lurking around every corner. We’ve rounded eight things that you shouldn’t even think about microwaving.

8 Things You Should Never Put in the Microwave (Slideshow)

The microwave oven became a household item in the 1970s, even though they were first put on the market in the 1950s (the earliest microwaves would have cost upwards of $11,000 in today’s dollars). By 1986, about a quarter of all U.S. households had a microwave, and that number is well past 90 percent today. But how exactly does it work?

In a word, radiation. Microwave radiation, to be exact, hence the name. Microwaves generate this electromagnetic radiation and then bombard food with it, speeding up the water and fat molecules and then heating it up via the friction between these molecules as they crash into each other. It’s all very scientific, but at the end of the day it heats food up like nothing else on earth, and is a bit of a technological marvel.

Certain things, like foods that are high in fat and water, react just fine to being bombarded with microwaves, and tend to heat quickly and evenly. But certain other objects, like metal, act like antennas and—as anyone who’s seen American Hustle knows—can ignite into a raging fire almost instantly. 

So read on to learn about eight items that you should never put in the microwave—and what happens when you do.

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hey they totally forgot to SAY do not put dogs or any animal in one


Horrible article. You never even mentioned styrofoam. Do not ever reheat yesterday's restaurant leftovers in the styrofoam take out box. Dangerous chemicals are transferred into the food that you are eating.


A metal spoon in a glass of water? Wouldn't that spoon get incredibly hot?!


I never did find the eight things.


They're on the slide show :)

Marvin Pratt's picture

Microwaveguru should have written the article. And I truly believe even the casual regular user of a microwave would quickly recognize that this article is very wrong on over 50% of the items listed. Many of the statements contain merely sensationalist phrases (eg: supercharged plasma) that give no technical value at all. It seems in most instances mentioned, no thought was given to using the microwave for an appropriate amount of time, i.e. seconds, instead of minutes. Most things can be done well in a microwave as many books out there explain. And anything can be made into a mess in a standard oven, stovetop, or microwave if common sense is ignored and attention to what you are doing is lacking. It would have been much, much more useful to explain how to properly do each of these things instead of sharing ruined amateur experiences and over sensationalizing them. My daughter-in-law regularly thaws ice cream in the microwave so it's easier to scoop, so I tried it; it works great! I only takes about 20 seconds for a full half gallon carton in a powerful 1000W+ microwave. Smaller amounts should be done for less time, of course. Articles that are attention getting but mostly false are not very useful. Detailed, serious, technically accurate articles that truly educate are of much better service to everyone.

DRG's picture

I am no scientist like the other guy but having common sense will tell you this is an awful article. I wont bother to repeat "microwaveguru" but I will add to it. For one, melting plastic is not the only reason to not use certain plastics in the microwave, lots of studies show they can leach potentially harmful chemicals into the food, even if they don't melt. Also, microwaving sponges is a FANTASTIC way to kill the germs (and it wont smell that bad unless its so dirty that it should have been thrown out last week), just google "microwave sponges" and you will see several MEDICAL studies that prove it works. And one more thing... **NEWSFLASH**... "American Hustle" is a work of FICTION and if you use Hollywood as factual evidence you should be forced to return to grade school to complete your education.


You are wrong about a number of things. Yes, microwaves are a form of electromagnetic radiation - so it ordinary light that we see, and all its colors. Further, there is more energy in ordinary light than there is in microwaves. I'm a microwave scientist with over 50 years experience working with microwaves. I also teach microwave science/technology courses, an]m widely published * honored in my field. You certainly can heat water in a microwave oven - put a spoon it it (yes, a metal spoon) to keep it from erupting. Bread can me microwaved to warm it for a few seconds without it becoming hard or chewy. Re: the American Hustle scene with the microwave oven, everything about it was wrong _ I was interviewed by National Geographic about the scene - it appears on their blog. Metal in a microwave oven WON'T cause an explosion, nor a fire unless the metal sparks (rare) and there is something like paper, that can burn, touching it. The author she quotes, Paul Brodeur, as saying microwave
ovens destroy the nutrients in foods wrote an angry letter to the Huffington Post declaring the he never said that, but did say the opposite.

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