In today’s day and age, plastic consumption has increased exponentially. No matter where you look, you can find plastic kitchenware and containers. Tupperware is the most popular type of container for food storage.
But are plastic bowls microwave-safe? Or should you buy a different bowl for microwaving?
As a mother, I am constantly worrying about what my kids eat. So, it is obvious for me to look into different types of plastic’s effects on the human body.
After reading through many articles, I found out that the answer is both yes and no. Let me explain.
Why should you not microwave plastic bowls?
Most plastic bowls are composed of harmful chemicals. And these chemicals can latch on to the food, so I recommend you not to microwave them.
Plastic containers made with harmful chemicals should be avoided at all costs. Even if you are just using it to store fruits, the chemicals can latch onto the food.
However, the case gets more complicated when you heat the plastic bowls. Due to the heat exposure, the toxic fumes from the plastic container get released and makes the food dangerous to eat.
Not only that, non-microwavable plastic melts at high temperatures. And this melted plastic can then stick to the food and make it inedible.
However, not all plastic containers are bad. There are a ton of microwave-safe plastic containers present on the market. But you need to know which plastic is good and which is bad to make the best purchasing decision.
Why should you only get FDA-approved plastic containers?
The FDA, also known as the US Food and Drug Administration, determines which plastic is safe and which is not. The administration makes various determinations, such as which chemicals are safe to consume and which can be life-threatening.
FDA-approved plastic does not mean that there is no risk. But it means that this plastic is, for right now, the safest to use. Hence, you should only use FDA-approved and regulated food containers as they are your best bet.
When you are buying plastic bowls from online sellers, read the listing. If the product description says FDA-approved, or BPA-free, the plastic bowls are safe.
How do you know if a plastic bowl is microwave-safe?
An easy way to know if a plastic bowl is microwave-safe or not is by looking at its bottom. If it has 5 written on the bottom, it means the plastic bowl is made of PP plastic, and hence it is microwave-safe.
Another great way to check if the plastic bowl is safe is by looking for a microwave-safe label. Usually, the microwave-safe bowls have a label.
But what if the plastic bowl has 3, 6, 7, or 1, 2, 4 written on the bottom?
All of the plastic bowls with 3, 6, 7 symbols are not microwave-safe at all. And you should never put them in the microwave or heat them in any other way. I would also recommend not to pour hot liquids in type 3, 4, 7 plastic containers.
However, the plastic bowls with 1, 2, 4 symbols are sometimes safe to microwave. But in my opinion, you should still avoid microwaving them and stick with the plastic containers with 5 at the bottom.
Which containers are microwave-safe?
One of the easiest ways to find out which microwave-safe containers is to look for the microwave-safe label. This label is usually at the bottom of the container.
Generally, ceramic dishes and glass bowls are microwave-safe. So, you can use it in the microwave without worrying. However, it is still better to look for the microwave-safe label.
Moreover, you can also use paper plates, paper towels, napkins, and even wax paper in the microwave. But do not microwave these items for longer time intervals.
Lastly, the containers and things that you should never put in the microwave are;
- Foam insulated bowls, plates, cups, and trays
- One-time use plastic containers, e.g. takeout boxes
- Brown paper bags
- Dishes with metallic trims or metallic paint
- Anything made with metal
- Aluminum foil
Frequently Asked Questions
What plastic should not be in the microwave?
Type 3, type 6, and type 7 should never be microwaved. These are one of the most harmful types of plastic.
An easy way to know if your plastic container is made with any of these 3 types of plastic is just to look at the bottom. If the container says 3, 6, 7, it is not microwave-safe.
How long can you microwave plastic?
According to some studies, if a plastic container is FDA-approved, you can microwave it for up to 240-hours. After that time, I advise you to throw the plastic container away and use a new one.
At what temperature does plastic melt in the microwave?
The only microwave-safe plastic containers are made with type 5 plastic, also known as Polypropylene. This plastic melts at 339 °F.
Can you microwave black plastic containers?
No, you should not microwave black plastic containers. Black plastic containers usually contain an unregulated amount of toxins. On top of that, these containers are also not recyclable due to their color. So, it is best to steer away from black plastic containers as much as possible. Instead of using black plastic containers, look for BPA-free plastic containers or food containers made with type 5 plastic for a safer experience.
Are plastic bowls microwave safe?
Yes, many types of plastic bowls are microwave safe. To check if a plastic bowl is safe to use in the microwave, look for the Microwave Safe symbol or a code on the bottom that reads “”microwave-safe.”” If it doesn’t have either of these symbols, then it’s not recommended to put it in the microwave.
What type of food containers are microwavable?
Glass and ceramic containers, as well as containers made from certain plastics (look for the Microwave Safe symbol) can generally be safely microwaved. Other food containers should not be used in the microwave because they may melt or leach chemicals into food.
Can I heat up food in a plastic bowl?
Yes, some types of plastic bowls are safe to heat up food in when placed in a preheated oven or microwave. Be sure to check that your bowl has a Microwave Safe symbol or code before attempting to warm up food with it.
Are there other materials besides plastic that are microwavable?
Yes! Paper towels, waxed paper, parchment paper, white lunch bags, and even cardboard can all be used safely when microwaving food – just make sure no metal parts touch the walls of your oven! Other heat-resistant cookware, such as glass and ceramic dishes, can also be used in your microwave.
What does the imprinted microwave symbol on some plastics mean?
The imprinted microwave symbol on some plastics indicates that those products are safe to use in a microwave oven without fear of melting or releasing toxic chemicals into food or drink. It is important to check labels carefully when selecting plastic items for microwaving.
Can I microwave food in plastic containers?
Yes, you can microwave food in most plastic containers as long as they are specifically labeled ” microwave safe.” Ensure that the container is labeled “microwave safe” before microwaving it with any food. Some other types of food containers are not designed to be microwaved and could potentially release toxic chemicals into your food.
What should I do if my plastic container doesn’t say ‘microwave safe’?
If you have a plastic container without a “microwave safe” label on it, then it is best to avoid using it when microwaving food. Other types of plastics may be unsafe for use in microwaves; these materials can leach hazardous chemicals into your food when exposed to heat or radiation from microwaves. Instead, choose labeled “microwave-safe” dishes or alternatives such as glassware or ceramic ware when microwaving your meals.
Now whenever someone asks, “are plastic bowls microwaves safe?” you’ll have an answer to give them. But before you leave, here are a few things to never forget.
Only the plastic containers that are made with type 5 plastic are microwave-safe. If the plastic container has 3, 6, 7 numbers written, it is neither safe for microwaving nor general use. So, steer away from this type of plastic container.
Lastly, if you are not sure if a plastic bowl is microwave-safe or not, use a glass or ceramic bowl instead. You can also use them to store food in the freezer as they do not contain harmful chemicals.
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