For the younger generation, life before microwave ovens seems unthinkable. Even those of us who experienced B.M. (before microwaves) and A.M. (after microwaves) can’t remember how we managed without one. Here’s a list of the deadliest foods to your health and safety that you should never put in the microwave.

Never Put These Items In A Microwave

Things You Should Never Put In A Microwave

Foods

ItemsDescription
Eggs Cooking eggs in the microwave is quick and convenient. But they are not as tasty as freshly boiled eggs. When using a microwave, the radio waves enter the egg directly. This causes steam to be released from the egg. An exploding egg and a rather messy, smelly clean-up could be your only reward for trying to save the time it takes for water to boil before cooking.
Frozen FruitPutting fruit in the microwave oven is never a good idea, but frozen fruit could be even worse. It may be a simple way to defrost fruit, but it can have harmful consequences. The microwaving process converts some of the fruit’s healthiest properties into carcinogens that compromise the immune system. Make a reminder to take fruit out of the freezer and allow it to defrost at its own pace.
Raw riceThe odds of you microwaving uncooked rice may be very slim, but it’s useful to know just how risky it is. Rice can be the hosts of certain bacteria. Conventional cooking in boiling water destroys these bacteria, whereas microwaving may not. This has the potential to lead to food poisoning, which can be fatal in extreme cases. Rice is meant to be boiled, and while this may be time-consuming, it’s by far your best option.
BreadMicrowaving bread to defrost or warm it up is safe for the microwave oven. But the process seems to remove all the flavor and texture from the bread, leaving it tasteless and soggy. That takes all the enjoyment away from the consumer. Put the bread in the oven to warm it up, as this keeps it crispy and tasty. It’s worth the wait.
ChickenIt may be convenient to cook your chicken in the microwave. It will save you time and energy and let you get on with other tasks around the house. The problem with chicken is that it does not cook evenly in a microwave. So, you may find yourself with chicken that’s well cooked on the outside and completely raw on the inside. Cook your chicken dishes in the oven and avoid the dangers of raw chicken.
French FriesFrench fries reheated in the microwave lose all their texture, going from crispy to soggy. Much of their flavor is also lost in the process. That doesn’t mean they can’t be microwaved. They will not do any damage to your microwave oven or health, but most would agree they are best served as soon as they have been cooked.
Processed meat The tomato sauce we use on pasta is very thick. This consistency makes it less ideal for microwaving. The reason is that the radio waves from the microwave have a difficult time making the particles of the sauce move in order to warm them up. As a result, warming pasta sauce in the microwave is accompanied by the popping sound of it splattering all over the microwave (including the roof), leaving you with a tedious clean-up job.
Hot peppersHot peppers contain capsaicin. This is what gives the peppers their spicy flavor. It is very good for treating a variety of ailments. But when capsaicin is microwaved, it emits a vapor that will leave your eyes, nose and mouth stinging when you are exposed to it. Peppers are also known to explode in the microwave, leaving a sticky mess in their wake.
GrapesAny fruit placed in a microwave oven is not a good idea. If you want to make stewed fruit, it’s best to stick to the conventional preparation method. Grapes are particularly prone to exploding in the microwave. Together with their dehydrated cousins — raisins — grapes release plasma when microwaved, causing them to emit smoke. This can break your microwave at worst. At best, they’ll leave you with a sticky clean-up to deal with.
Leafy Greens It might sound perfectly logical to microwave your kale and other leafy greens. However, they can create sparks when microwaved. This happens due to the peculiar way of functioning of microwaves. Sparks can lead to flames, and flames can lead to disaster. In any case, leafy greens prepared in the oven or on the stove have a far better flavor than those that are microwaved, which are often left limp and tasteless. For the best results with leafy greens, consider a vegetable steamer.
YogurtYou might wonder why anyone would want to microwave yogurt in the first place. Perhaps you want to warm it up for a child in which case it’s better to soak the container in hot water for a few minutes. Putting it in the microwave will kill all the useful bacteria. It will also cause the content to curdle and the whey to separate out so it will not taste the same. Microwaving it may be safe, but if all the good bacteria is killed, one of its main benefits is lost.
Raw PeanutsRaw peanuts can be roasted in a microwave, but you have to remove the shells first. Put your shelled peanuts in a glass container and add some small slivers of butter. Place them in the microwave for two minutes and then stir them. Microwave for two more minutes and stir. After about 10 minutes, they are roasted. Doing it this way is safe but trying to microwave them in the shells is a disaster.
Biscuits/cookiesAfter more than 10 or so seconds in a microwave, enough moisture leaves the cookies that they become a hard, chewy challenge. This is because the gluten, starch, and sugar react when heated and then cooled. It’s actually the cooling process that causes the reaction and makes the cookies hard. Don’t put your cookies in the microwave after taking them out of the freezer – a very short time in the oven will make them taste fresh.
HerbsIf you think your microwave oven is going to help you dry out the herbs you’ve grown in your garden so that you can package and use them, think again. Herbs don’t contain a lot of liquids anyway, and once the liquid content is gone, you’ve created a fire hazard. It is advisable to stick to the conventional methods for drying your herbs if you want all your hard work in the garden to pay off.
Frozen Meat We’ve all occasionally forgotten to take the meat we need for tonight’s dinner out of the freezer. As we cast our eyes around the kitchen, we see the lifesaver standing right before us: our trusty microwave oven. But using your microwave to defrost meat is not advisable because it stimulates the growth of bacteria in the meat, which can lead to food poisoning and other illnesses.
Hummus Although cooking your hummus in the microwave may be faster than cooking it using other methods it isn’t always the best way. Microwaved hummus does hold more nutrients according to a study done at the Virginia State University, but this also makes it lose its protein content. Their findings showed that soaked hummus that was prepared in the microwave held 21.8 grams out of the 100 grams of protein it had. On the other hand, the same hummus got pressure cooked, and it contained 25.8 grams of protein.
Bananas Putting your bananas in the microwave may not always be safe because they’re capable of catching fire and creating light explosions. We say bananas can catch fire because someone posted on a question-and-answer website asking for an explanation to why this happened in his kitchen. The most feasible answer he received was that store-bought fruit usually has a waxy outer covering that could’ve encouraged the threads on the edge of the banana to set alight. Bananas are slightly radioactive. Microwave ovens are also radioactive on their own and now knowing that bananas can catch fire in there I’m sure we wouldn’t want to create Chernobyl miniatures in our kitchens.
Corn If you like your corn soft and juicy, cooking it in the microwave won’t be a great idea. Corn that’s been cooked in the microwave will always taste dry when compared to corn that’s been boiled on the stove. Even though some people may argue that you could boil your corn in the microwave, doing so will come at a cost. To boil your corn in the microwave, radio waves are created in it that will heat your water by making it vibrate. When this vibration occurs, some of the water will spill inside the microwave. However, if you’d insist, you may use a similar approach as steaming carrots in a microwave to boil your corn.
Butter The microwave isn’t a reliable choice when it comes to softening your butter because it stands at a higher chance of getting heated unevenly. This is because when your microwave is producing heat, there are some spots in it that get a higher concentration of it. This could make your butter hard in some places and soft in others. Sometimes your butter may even melt in certain areas because of this, and if your microwave oven doesn’t have a turntable, your butter will be at greater risk.
CheeseCheese, when melted in the microwave, can get rubbery and that won’t make it look or taste delicious. Although scientists say that time and heat plays an important role in how your cheese gets melted in the microwave, they’ve also acknowledged that melting it in optimum conditions doesn’t make this method foolproof. That is because the hot air you’d get in a regular oven is non-existent in the microwave, unless it’s a convection microwave. This hot air is what creates a “crust” on your cheese that prevents moisture from being on its surface and thus to save it from getting rubbery.
Onions There a lot of microwaved onion recipes found online nowadays but does preparing your onions using this method always makes them turn out good? Unfortunately, this method isn’t always the best way to get your onions cooked. Someone wrote on a question-and-answer website that she had put her onions in the microwave and the onions turned out soft and flavorless. She further said that even if you put your onions in the microwave for a long time, they won’t get crispy, they’d just dry and become a fire hazard.
Jelly Some people may think that heating our jelly in the microwave to change its shape would be the fastest way to do so. These people are right, the jelly will get heated faster, but it won’t end there, it will also be at a higher risk of heating unevenly. Another thing that could happen is that your jelly could get heated faster than you thought and become useless by melting. The worst case scenario could be what was said by the Weston A. Price organization’s findings that claimed that you could get liver or kidney disease from microwave prepared jelly.
Leftover Potatoes Potatoes seem to be the most benign of vegetables, but after they have been cooked and cooled, reheating them can have far-reaching consequences. When you cook potatoes, you let the leftovers cool down completely and then refrigerate them. When those leftover potatoes are taken from the fridge and microwaved, they can trigger a case of botulism. Reheating the potatoes cannot kill botulism. Left untreated, botulism is a serious disease that can be potentially fatal.
Leftover MushroomsIf not stored properly, mushrooms can make you very sick if you put them in the microwave to reheat them. Mushrooms are a breeding ground for tiny microorganisms, and when they are reheated, this can lead to food poisoning. It is best to refrigerate mushrooms after they’ve been cooked and cooled down. This is the best way to ensure that they don’t make you sick.
Chinese Food ContainersWhen your Chinese takeout gets cold, you’d think the easiest thing to do would be to put it in the microwave to heat it up. Don’t do it.  Chinese takeout containers have little metal handles on them. They might be small, but the presence of metal in a microwave oven — no matter how much or how little — can cause a fire or the destruction of your microwave.
Already Reheated FoodEvery time you reheat food and refrigerate it after it has cooled down, the quality of the food deteriorates and it is susceptible to bacteria. Serve up only the amount of food you wish to heat and leave the rest in the fridge. After a few days in the fridge, get rid of food before it spoils. If throwing food away seems like a waste, make a conscious effort to give it to someone in need.

Liquids

Items Description
Water If you feel you need to heat water up in the microwave, beware. It’s hard to understand why one would do so when one has a kettle or can boil water on the stove. Not only that, it can be dangerous. A microwave can heat the water beyond its boiling point. When you take it out of the microwave and add something to it, it can explode and burn you.
Red Pasta SauceThe tomato sauce we use on pasta is very thick. This consistency makes it less ideal for microwaving. The reason is that the radio waves from the microwave have a difficult time making the particles of the sauce move in order to warm them up. As a result, warming pasta sauce in the microwave is accompanied by the popping sound of it splattering all over the microwave (including the roof), leaving you with a tedious clean-up job.
Breast Milk Many moms of newborns and small babies are trying to juggle the responsibilities of motherhood with running a home and having a career. They tend to express (pump) breast milk and freeze it so that it is on hand if someone else needs to feed their baby. There is nothing wrong with this, provided the frozen breast milk never gets anywhere near a microwave oven. The microwave does not heat the milk evenly, leaving “hot pockets” that can burn the baby’s mouth.
Oils Cooking oil such as sunflower oil and olive oil should not be put in the microwave oven. They will not warm up properly, as they are made up of fats — not liquids. Exposing them to the radio waves emitted by a microwave oven won’t have any real effect on them at all. If you need hot oil as part of a recipe, it’s quicker and more efficient to warm it up on the stovetop.
Beer If you like the idea of warm beer, take one out of the fridge and let it warm to room temperature. Don’t microwave it. There are several reasons to avoid microwaving beer. Beer often comes in aluminum cans. Aluminum is a metal which should never be microwaved. If you microwave a bottle of beer with the lid on, the pressure will cause an explosion. If you microwave an open bottle or glass of beer, it will froth up all over.
Alcohol Warming alcohol in the microwave is not a good idea. So, give up the idea of cheating and making mulled wine by microwaving it instead of warming it conventionally. Alcohol’s boiling temperature is lower than that of water. Therefore, it will come to the boil far quicker than water. If you leave it in the microwave too long, it can catch fire.  After all, alcohol is flammable. The higher the alcohol content, the greater the risk of it catching alight.
Vodka Heating your vodka in the microwave could lead to two possible scenarios. The first scenario would be that your microwave could heat your vodka unevenly because alcohol starts evaporating at 172 degrees Fahrenheit. Vodka also has water, and this water evaporates at 212 degrees F. This could make your vodka weak and taste terrible if you put it on a low temperature in your microwave. The other scenario would be that your microwave could make your vodka “heat” evenly and turn most of it into steam.
Coffee Reheating your leftover coffee in the microwave might seem like the most prudent thing to do to get a quick “fix” of coffee. Leaders in the coffee industry all agree on that putting your cup of coffee in the microwave will damage its taste. The reasons to why this happen to your coffee are that it starts to change at a microscopic level because of variables like oxygen and other aromas around it. Now when you reheat your coffee, everything that’s been changing it during the hours will get heated with it and make it taste worse.
TeaWhether you’re thinking about reheating your cup of tea or you’re contemplating on whether you should boil water in the microwave for your next cup, think again. Firstly, reheating your tea will make it get brewed further than it already is and this will make it taste stale. Heating water for your tea in the microwave won’t make it boil because heat doesn’t get distributed fairly in it. Boiling your water in the microwave is very difficult because you’ll have to find the perfect spot and have good timing to achieve the ideal 212 degrees F needed to boil tea water.
Tomato Sauce The safest way to heat your tomato sauce is on a stovetop and not in your microwave unless you like explosions happening in your kitchen. What will make your tomato sauce explode is that it has high water content and the solids content is low. Water that’s in your tomato sauce when heated in your microwave will get turned into steam, but the solid parts of it will get denser because of the sauce losing its water. Eventually, the sauce will have the solids covering the water and this liquid will force its way out, causing an explosion.

Cookware And Containers

ItemsDescription
Fine ChinaDon’t put Grandma’s china milk jug in the microwave to warm the milk for your guests’ coffee. Most contain some type of metal component to give them a pleasing aesthetic effect. These metal accents should not be in the microwave. The metal parts can be damaged, which won’t please Grandma. The sparks caused by the microwave can also cause a fire. The general rule is that if it was made before microwaves, it should stay out of microwaves.
StyrofoamStyrofoam is designed for single use. It also contains plastics. That’s why if you microwave it, its shape and constitution may change. As that is happening in the microwave oven, the Styrofoam is releasing harmful chemicals that are in contact with the food they hold. When you eat that food, those chemicals get into your system and can make you sick. Just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they’re not there.
Microwave Unsafe ContainersMany mugs that were made before or during the 1960s should never be used in the microwave oven. Many of them are glazed with a substance that gives off radiation if it comes into contact with the radio waves emitted by a microwave. Older mugs may also contain metal or lead, which can cause a fire in your microwave. Use these mugs for cups of coffee or as ornaments, but don’t let them near your microwave.
One-time Use PlasticsYogurt containers and butter tubs that are not designed for reuse should not be placed in a microwave oven. They have not been treated with the same processes as reusable plastics. As a result, they can release harmful chemicals when exposed to the heat of a microwave oven. If you need to microwave items that are in non-reusable plastic containers, transfer them to microwave-friendly containers first.
Travel Mugs You should never put your travel mug in the microwave oven. They are generally made from stainless steel. Stainless steel will repel the radio waves the microwave oven emits. When this happens, the contents of your travel mug won’t warm up. The radio waves bouncing around the microwave oven will also cause damage to your appliance.
Paper BagsIf you want to heat something up in your microwave oven that is inside a paper bag, remove the item from the bag before putting it in the microwave. The radio waves emitted by the microwave oven can cause the paper to catch fire, which can in turn cause your microwave to catch fire and be destroyed. This will force you to replace it or do without one.
Plastic Storage Containers If you keep your leftovers in plastic storage containers in the fridge, look at them before putting them in the microwave. You need to know if they are suitable for microwaving and won’t cause you or your family any harm. Many containers have an indication that they are microwave-friendly. This symbol is termed as a ‘microwave-safe symbol‘. If you’re not sure, consult the manufacturer’s website. If you’re still not sure, err on the side of caution and don’t use these containers in your microwave.
Cracker Glass Or Ceramic If you use a mug that is has a crack in it in the microwave oven, it may explode. The weakness in the crack will not be able to withstand the heat created inside the microwave. The same applies to cracked plates and bowls. Check your glassware and ceramics regularly. Even a hairline crack can cause chaos in the microwave. You might not catch every crack, as some are so fine you won’t see them.  But try in any event.

Others

ItemsDescription
Sharp Objects Even if a sharp object is non-metal, it should not find its way into your microwave. Something as simple and harmless as a toothpick is a potential hazard in a microwave oven. The twist-tie you rely on as a convenience is a double no-no, as it also contains metal in the middle. Sharp objects, regardless of whether they are metal or not, can cause sparks to fly in a microwave oven.
Uncovered containers of sauceIf you plan to microwave some sauce to warm it up before serving a meal, make sure your container is sealed. Open sauce containers have been known to explode in the microwave oven. This will leave you with an extensive clean-up job, which can be avoided by putting a lid on the container you’re using. Act in haste, repent at leisure. Take the time to cover your sauce container to avoid hours of cleaning.
Cling filmUsing plastic wrap to cover containers of food instead of using the lid is not a problem as long as you remove it before you put it in your microwave oven. Since it’s made of plastic, cling film may release harmful chemicals such as benzene, toluene and xylene during the microwaving process. These then come into contact with your food or are breathed in while you’re handling the bowl.
Aluminium Foil Aluminum is a metal. Like any metal, aluminum foil does not belong in your microwave oven. When metal is used in a microwave, it does not absorb the heat the microwave is emitting through the radio waves. It indeed reflects the heat. This can cause sparks to fly. You’re either going to be extinguishing a fire or replacing your microwave, making it a better idea to put your food into microwave-friendly containers.
Kitchen Sponges Surprisingly, a lot of people use the microwave oven to clean their kitchen sponges, believing that the high temperature will kill all bacteria and microorganisms that can make you ill. This is simply not true. Some bacteria are likely to remain behind and grow in the sponge. Over time, the bacteria may become more resistant to the heat in the microwave oven. Instead, use anti-bacterial cleaner or bleach to keep your sponges clean.
Ice If you’ve tried to melt ice in a microwave, you will have discovered that it is an extremely slow, almost impossible process. It’s only possible when the ice cube has a surface layer of water. A microwave does not have the same effect on an ice cube as it does on an equal mass of water. There are many scientific reasons as to why ice is inhibited from melting in a microwave – all far too complex to explain here.
Soap If you want a bar of soap softened or melted to help you with your cleaning, don’t put it in your microwave unless you’ve got a lot of time to spare to clean up the mess. Soap melts quickly and will create a huge mess in your microwave oven. Worse still, it solidifies as soon as it cools, leaving you with a microwave full of soap that you have to carefully scrape off the lining.
Ink/Gel Pen If you ever have a pen that won’t write because its clogged up with dry ink, applying some heat can make it work. Hold the tip of the pen to a lighter or use some hot water. You only heat the end, and not too much. It has to be just enough to make loosen the ink and allow the metal ball to roll. If you heat it in a microwave, you will roast the ink and ruin the pen forever.
Socks Do not be tempted on a cold morning to pop your socks into the microwave because you want them warm and toasty when you put them on. As your clothes do not contain any moisture, the microwave has nothing to pull energy from. It is therefore too dry for the microwave, which can cause a fire to break out. Use your dryer if you need to warm up your clothes.
CDsPutting a CD or any other disk in a microwave oven is a really bad idea. The aluminum coating on the disk acts as a radiation antenna for the radio waves the microwave emits. You’ll be treated to fireworks display as plasma and sparks begin to show. One of those sparks can cause the microwave to catch fire. While it looks cool when you do it, you might want to stick to watching videos of CDs in the microwave on YouTube.
Thin Glass If you’re having company for tea or coffee, you might want to warm the milk you serve with it. Before you do, look carefully at your milk jug. If it’s a glass jug and the glass is not thick, be careful. Older glass jugs are very thin. Under the heat conditions created by the microwave oven, the pressure may become too much. The jug could explode, leaving you with a mess. And let’s not mention guests ducking for cover after the explosion.
Batteries You’d think that a battery should never find itself in your microwave oven. But we all know that feeling when you’re so tired from a day at work that you put your keys in the fridge. What happens if you put your TV dinner on the counter and your cell phone in the microwave? Even a few seconds in the microwave can ruin your battery. A battery can explode, leaving in its wake a toxic mess, and bill for a new phone and microwave oven.
Rubber Whether you can microwave rubber depends on the rubber itself. Some rubber products are made to be used in the microwave. They are marked as microwave safe. Silicone bakeware is an example. But products like a rubber band will melt in the microwave. So, if your cardboard take-out container is held closed with a rubber band, take it off. Also avoid microwaving chew toys for babies or pets, surgical gloves, or erasers. Keep your rubber duckie out of the microwave unless you want to give him a new look.
Wood Chips If your wood chips or kindling got a bit wet during a storm, don’t put them in the microwave to dry them out. The potential for disaster is huge. Rather use some other means to get your fire going. As you microwave it, the wood dries out extremely quickly. It becomes, as they say, tinder dry. And all tinder needs is one small spark to start a fire. Unfortunately, the fire will be in your microwave oven and not in your fireplace.
BambooBamboo shoots have become a popular food in the vegan and vegetarian community. This has led many of these people and others to start getting creative about what they could do with the plant and cooking it in the microwave has topped the list. Bamboo shoots need to be boiled so they can be tasty and safe to eat. Boiling anything in the microwave is always a bad idea, and even if you were to attempt reheating them, you’d spoil their color and texture. When placed in the microwave the cream-colored soft sprouts will turn brown and dry.
Running Empty It’s bad for your microwave oven to run with nothing inside it. When the microwave has something in it, that item absorbs the radio waves it emits. When there is nothing in the microwave, it must absorb those radio waves itself. This can lead to a machine malfunction and even the possibility of a fire. When you’re multi-tasking and distracted, it’s easy to think you’ve put your meal in the microwave. Double-check before you hit ‘Start.’

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *