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Home / Cooking Tips

Five items you should not put in a microwave

 Microwaves have been around for several years now but many of us still use them wrongly (Image: Shutterstock)

A microwave is one of the most useful household appliances but the last thing you want to do is cause any safety hazards or even start a fire in your kitchen. Microwaves have been around for several years now but many of us still use them wrongly, so here are five items that should never go inside one. 

1. Plastic containers

Many of us store leftover food in plastic containers in the fridge but one thing you should avoid doing is heating up the food in this same plastic container. According to the Harvard Medical School publication, depending on the type of plastic you’re placing in the microwave, harmful chemicals can be released into the food when the plastic is heated.

Some plastic containers are labelled as microwave-safe but it’s simply best to avoid microwaving plastic altogether. Instead, heat up your food on a glass plate.

 Styrofoam is a type of plastic that is just as harmful to your health as plastic containers are (Image: Shutterstock)

2. Tinfoil

This is an absolute health hazard that will set your microwave on fire. Microwave walls are made of metal and when any metal item is placed inside, it reflects ‘microwaves’ against it like a mirror. This reflection ignites the tin foil into flames and you’ll not only destroy your microwave, but you could also endanger your own life.  

3. Styrofoam containers

Leftover food from restaurants seems to taste so much better the next day. However, you should not be heating up any delicious takeout in its styrofoam packaging. Styrofoam is a type of plastic that is just as harmful to your health as plastic containers are.

Styrofoam slowly melts in the heat of a microwave and releases various chemicals into your food. In addition to this, the heat could make your food melt through the plastic and make a mess inside your microwave. For the betterment of your health, warm the food into a glass plate or dish.

 Some plastic containers are labelled as microwave-safe but it’s simply best to avoid microwaving plastic altogether (Image: Shutterstock)

4. Frozen meat

As convenient as microwaves are, you should not defrost frozen meat inside one. Depending on the size of the meat, the heat will not be evenly distributed and some areas of the meat will start to cook while the rest remains cold. Doing this also creates the risk of bacteria rapidly multiplying on the meat.

The best way to defrost frozen meat is to place it in the fridge overnight and, this way, it will be safe to put back in the freezer if you change your mind.

5. Nothing

Putting ‘nothing’ in your microwave will make it self-destruct. For a microwave to function properly, there needs to be something inside it to absorb the ‘microwaves’. When the microwaves don’t have a destination, the waves are absorbed by the microwave oven which will destroy the appliance.

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