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10 Things You Should NEVER Put in the Microwave

by Stephanie

Here at Just Microwave It, we’re all about what you CAN put in the microwave.  But, did you know there are things you should never put in the microwave?  Sometimes you learn by mistake. I know I sure have. 

Did you know there are things you should NEVER put in a microwave?

There are times I’ve put foil in the microwave when something was wrapped in it and then heard fireworks. When I opened up the microwave, there were scorch marks and my food was literally on fire! I sure remembered never to do that again!

There is more than just metal to avoid when using a microwave.  Here are 10 things NEVER to put in the microwave: 


Metal basically acts like a microwave mirror and reflects the microwaves around the microwave.  With no where to go, these waves can eventually go into the microwave itself and can damage the circuits of the microwave.  Plus, if the metal you put in the microwave has pointy ends like a fork, it can cause sparking.  Learn more about what happens to metal in the microwave.


Never put styrofoam in the microwave.  It’s a type of plastic and can melt and put toxic chemicals into your food.  Or your food can get so hot it melts right through.  

Hot Peppers

Don’t ever heat hot peppers in the microwave.  The cooking process can cause them to release chemicals that when you open the microwave can cause you to choke and even burn your eyes. 


This goes for many types of plastics from one-time use plastic containers to grocery store plastic bags.  It can melt and cause BPA to go into your food, and BPA can mimic human hormones and cause serious problems for you. One time use plastic containers like yogurt containers or lunch meat containers are not made to withstand high heat and can melt and put toxic things into your food. 

Distilled Water

Tap water is fine for boiling in the microwave because it has impurities.  But, distilled water is pure and can cause water to super boil where it can explode just by you taking it out of the microwave.  Check out this video from Mythbusters to see more. 

Aluminum Foil

Like metal, never put aluminum in the microwave. It can immediately cause sparks and catch fire.  I have made this mistake a few more times than I’d like to admit, especially when I’ve reheated leftovers from a restaurant and did not realize the paper that something was wrapped in also had a layer of foil.  That can lead to nasty burned food. 

Paper Bags

You might think a paper bag is ok if you can put a microwave popcorn bag in the microwave, but they are different.  Microwave popcorn bags have susceptors that absorb microwaves. Regular paper bags for lunch or from the grocery store don’t have these.  They can actually release toxins in the microwave and even catch fire. 


Grapes are are well known for potentially exploding and causing a fire in a microwave.  Did you know that raisins are also dangerous in the microwave? Grapes and raisins emit plasma when microwaved which can cause fruits to smoke and light on fire and possibly even break you microwave. Scientists have finally figured out why. 

Chinese Take Out Containers

Definitely put that chinese take out on a microwave safe plate before heating it up.  The metal handles with the cardboard container can cause a fire in the microwave due to the combination of both together. 


When you put nothing in the microwave, the microwaves that are emitted have nothing to run into and will be absorbed by the microwave itself. This can lead to the machine self destructing or even starting a fire.

Next time you’re going to put something in the microwave make sure it’s safe to do. 

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