NEW YORK – If you’ve ever started a fire in the microwave before, just know: you are not alone. The microwave, though it’s been around for quite some time now, is still a mystery to many of us. It heats things in a fraction of the time, but sometimes it also makes things explode.
There are so many great things the microwave can do. It bakes a potato in minutes. It makes single serving cakes in coffee mugs for when you can’t wait to make a real deal cake. It almost seems like it can do ANYTHING. But guys, the microwave just can’t handle everything. There are some things you put in the microwave oven that make it go completely berserk. We’ve listed them for you below so you can start using your microwave with more confidence — and fewer explosions.
1. Chinese Take-Out Containers
DON’T START A FIRE IN YOUR KITCHEN! Many people have made this mistake, and they’ve had to deal with the spark (or flame) that happens when you nuke this container. Metal is one of those items that you want to keep far away from the microwave — it’s a fire starter. Remember: no metal utensils, cookware, or containers in the microwave. Ever.
2. Lunch Bags
Lunch bags aren’t as innocent as they seem. Keep paper bags, plastic bags or newspapers out of the microwave. The USDA says that, “They are not sanitary, may cause a fire, and may emit toxic fumes. Intense heat may cause a bag to ignite, causing a fire in the oven…” Yikes!
3. Yogurt Containers
One-time use plastic containers — such as yogurt, margarine or sour cream — shouldn’t be used in the microwave. They’re intended just for one time use and aren’t equipped to withstand high heat. The containers could warp or melt in the microwave, which can release chemicals into your food.
Don’t let the internet fool you — making hard boiled eggs in the microwave oven is trouble. If you try to hard boil eggs in your microwave you’re likely to end up with a big mess to clean up. The rapid heat from the microwaves creates a lot of steam in the egg. The steam has no where to go except to explode out so that’s exactly what it does.
5. Styrofoam Containers
Most of us have heard this before, but just in case a few of you are still reheating your take out in these containers, keep this in mind: styrofoam is a type of plastic. And plastic doesn’t play nice in the microwave — unless otherwise marked on the container.
Some fruit might be able to withstand the heat, but not all. Grapes will explode. And raisins will smoke. Careful guys.
7. Plates With Metallic Trim
Think about it. IT’S METAL. The metal can react to the heat and damage your microwave (and china).
8. Red Sauce, Without A Lid
It’s just going to make a mess.
9. Plastic Storage Containers
Most Tupperware-type containers are made of plastic, guys, and we’ve already gone over what happens to plastic in the microwave. But, there are specifically labeled plastic storage containers that are microwave safe. Just be sure to double check.
10. Hot Peppers
Nothing bad will happen to the peppers — except that they’ll maybe catch on fire — but when you open the microwave door after nuking hot peppers the chemical released from them will sting your eyes and burn your throat. No fun.
11. Travel Mugs
Many travel mugs are not safe to put in the microwave. If it’s made from stainless steel, don’t nuke it. The stainless steel will block the heat from warming your coffee or tea and can damage your microwave. If it’s plastic, check the bottom of the mug to see if it’s marked as microwave safe.
12. Aluminum Foil
We just want to be sure you fully understood that putting any metal, even the foil that’s covering your leftovers, should not go in the microwave. It could start a fire in there.
If you turn the microwave on with nothing in it you’ll probably blow the whole thing. Since there is nothing to absorb the microwaves, like food, the magnetron — the thing that makes the microwave function — ends up absorbing the microwaves and essentially self destructs.