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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Microwaves

Don't put these 5 things in the microwave

Don't want your food to explode, set fires or contain dangerous chemicals? Avoid putting these in the microwave.

Whirlpool WMC50522AS Microwave
Colin West McDonald

Microwaves can be really useful, but there are some things that you just should never put in it. Some materials and foods can cause sparks, chemical-ridden dishes and even explosions. Here are five things you should always keep out of the microwave.

    1. Metal

    You've probably heard never to put metal in the microwave, but do you know why? Metal reflects microwaves.

    If you cover your food with aluminum foil, for instance, the microwave will bounce off the foil and your food won't warm. The reflected waves can also damage your microwave. Items with pointed ends, like forks, can produce a concentrated electric field and create sparks, according to MIT.

    2. Eggs in the shell

    Microwaves cook very quickly. So quickly, in fact, that the steam inside of the egg builds up too rapidly. Eventually, too much steam builds up and the egg explodes.

    3. Some plastics

    When microwaved, some plastics leach BPA and phthalates into foods. These chemicals are believed to be "endocrine disrupters." Many containers used to package foods, such as butter containers and yogurt tubs are not microwavable. Always look for a microwave-safe label before popping a container in to nuke.

    4. Plastic bags

    You should never microwave food inside of plastic bags. Steam can build up in bags, causing them to explode. The bags also have the potential to melt.

    5. Vintage plates and mugs

    According to the Smithsonian, microwaving in old plates and mugs that are over 40 years old can cause lead from the glaze to seep into your foods. You can test your old tableware with lead testing kits to make sure this isn't a threat, though.