Printed, decorated or non-white paper plates may increase the odds of fire, or they may leach chemicals into the food being heated. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has deemed that plastics labeled “microwave-safe” are suitable for microwave use. The longer the plastic wrap is heated in the microwave, the greater the chance it has to melt if it is touching even just a small amount of food. “No studies have shown short- or long-term health consequences from heating microwave-safe plastics,” says Michael Herndon, an FDA spokesman. These additives could leak into your food. If you're microwaving any food on paper for longer than 30 seconds or so, keep an eye on it to ensure safety. Microwaves heat the fluids in the food particles keeping the cardboard from overheating. If you choose to use plastics, stick with those labeled “microwave-safe” (but don’t allow plastic wrap to touch your food during heating). And while heat can kill the virus, putting paper in the microwave is a fire hazard, so don't do it. Offers may be subject to change without notice. Find out which materials are microwave-friendly, and which ones you should avoid. This way, there's no risk of the paper plate bending and dumping the food. Use potholders and check the cardboard a few times during microwaving to prevent your food from overheating, which may cause damage to your health or leave mess in the microwave Again, one of the most important rules here is to microwave a full container. Right now, there isn’t one. U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service: Microwave Ovens and Food Safety, Today: What Can and Can't Go in a Microwave, General Electric Appliances: Microwave Dish and Utensil Guidelines, One Good Thing: 15 Surprising Microwave Dangers, Epicurious: How to Make Homemade Microwave Popcorn in a Paper Bag, A Web Experience brought to you by LEAFtv. Paper is obviously one of the things that can cause real problems when putting in the microwave oven. Has your Thanksgiving pumpkin pie gone bad? A microwave oven offers the utmost convenience when it comes to reheating or even cooking some foods. You’ll find experts who say no plastic containers should be used in the microwave—ever. Always leave up a corner for a steam vent. Which Food Containers Are Safe for the Microwave? The bottom line? Newspaper also isn't generally clean enough for contact with food. There are some circumstances when it is okay to microwave aluminum items, but generally, it is better not to try. If you’re wary, use glass or ceramic dishes marked “heatproof” or “microwave-safe.” Allow the food to cool for at least a couple minutes, as some items such as melted cheese may be hot enough to cause burns. Paper bags, plates or napkins with designs on them are decorated with who knows what kinds of inks. After microwaving food, carefully slide the paper plate out of the microwave and onto a sturdy dish. Loosely cover foods that may splatter, such as spaghetti or any dish containing a lot of moisture, with a plain paper towel. While you can use some forms of plastic in the microwave, including heavy-duty microwave-safe plastic wraps, plastic wrap is best placed over a bowl so it doesn't touch the food directly. Real Simple may receive compensation when you click through and purchase from links contained on Her work also appears on USA Today Travel, Hunker and Landlordology, among other sites. The plastic-wrap rule is especially true for foods that take a long time to heat in the microwave, such as frozen or partially frozen meals. Is it Safe to Put Glass in the Microwave. Products such as paper plates or paper towels are generally safe for reheating a slice of pizza in a pinch, but even so, caution should be exercised to ensure safety. If you choose to use plastics, stick with those labeled “microwave-safe” (but don’t allow plastic wrap to touch your food during heating). “The material contains chemicals that may leach into food when it’s heated,” says Olga Naidenko, Ph.D., a scientist with the Environmental Working Group, a health-research organization. this link is to an external site that may or may not meet accessibility guidelines. Some materials are fine in the microwave and some aren’t (see below). If the paper or cardboard container is empty, the microwave will have no choice but to heat the container up. Brown bags burn easier than paper plates and could be a fire hazard. Newspaper inks may contain toxins that could seep into the food. Paper bags, cups, containers, and boxes can’t go in the microwave oven for one simple reason – they may catch fire. Do not cover paper-plated food with plastic wrap, as the wrap may melt or warp, potentially leaching chemicals into the food. Generally speaking, it's safe to use a paper plate in the microwave. this website. If you are very careful, you could use flat sheets of foil to shield certain parts of your food from getting too hot. Recycled paper may contain other materials or chemicals that aren't safe for food contact. The only reason it is safe to microwave food in paper or cardboard boxes is because of the food itself.