Can you Put Paper Towel in the Microwave? (Risks Revealed)

Paper towels are a given in almost every home. There are recycled and non-recycled options to choose from.

Interestingly, paper towels can be used for things other than cleaning messy kitchen counters and drying off wet hands.

Paper towels also:

  1. Assist with cooking/reheating food in the microwave
  2. Keep frozen bread from getting moist
  3. Keep icing from drying out
  4. Soften brown sugar

Using paper towels in the microwave is not strange. Many people cover their meals with a paper towel before placing it in the microwave. But no matter how conventional using paper towels in microwaves are, there is the question of safety.

Can paper towels be used safely in a microwave, when paper is considered flammable? Well, this article answers this question and more with in-depth guidelines and tips.

By the end of the article, you will get to know the benefits of using paper towels in the microwave, how long to microwave paper towels safely, and, the reason why wet paper towels are used in the microwave.

Can you microwave paper towels?

Yes, it is safe to microwave paper towels. However, even though Paper towels are thought of as safe for the microwave, they contain less moisture, which also increases the chances of it burning up in the microwave if kept for an extensive period. 

As such, it is always recommended that you use a paper towel damp or with food. Doing so will prevent any mishaps from happening when put a paper towel in the microwave.

There’s also the issue of people opting for using recycled paper towels. If you are using a recycled paper towel, you must be well informed of its composition and safety before placing it over food in your microwave. This is because some recycled paper towels contain harmful chemicals and materials that are highly combustible.

If you plan to microwave paper towels, I strongly recommend going with a good brand like bounty paper towels. Bounty paper towels microwave really well and have never caused any issues since I’ve been microwaving foods with them.

It is advised that recycled paper towels are not used in microwaves.

Before using a paper towel in your microwave, be sure to check the manufacturer’s guidelines on safety; as the saying goes better to be safe than sorry, and you wouldn’t want the paper towel to catch fire.

Why put paper towel over food in microwave?

Apart from being convenient and affordable, there are some worthwhile benefits to using paper towels to reheat or cook food.

When reheating foods such as pasta sauce or soup, you often get pockets of the food bubble over, resulting in a messy splatter in your microwave. Paper towels help control food splatter in the microwave, minimizing or eliminating cleaning up.

Paper towels are known to retain the moisture and flavor of food. By preventing the food from drying out, your meal remains flavorful and tender.

Paper towels also ensure meals are evenly heated.

The experience of biting into a cold portion of food straight out of a microwave is unpleasant! This happens because the food did not heat up evenly.

Though paper towels absorb moisture, some of the moisture is retained in the bowl or dish containing the food. The moisture carries heat, which then warms up the food evenly.

Paper towels serve as a protective layer on the microwave glass turntable (also called the round-glass thing by my niece).

We often use ceramic bowls and dishes in our microwaves. And if the bowls land on the microwave turntable too hard, it can cause scratches and cracks.

Can you use Wet Paper towels in the microwave?

Yes, you can put a wet paper towel over your food in the microwave. It helps hold in moisture and rehydrate food, so it does not dry out. When you put a wet paper towel over your food in the microwave, it guarantees a more even cooking of your food.

By wrapping the wet paper towel around foods such as hot dogs, sausages, or corn on a cob, they are prevented from drying out and becoming rubbery.

The wet paper towel becomes the outer layer (skin), thereby taking a greater part of the heat in the microwave. Your food heats up evenly and retains its moisture, thanks to the wet paper towel.

You can use a wet paper towel when reheating food like rice in the microwave. a wet paper towel helps to rehydrate and soften up the rice. This is because refrigerated rice tends to dry up due to the cold temperature it has been exposed to.

How do you microwave paper towels?

how long can a paper towel be in the microwave

Paper towels should be laid flat. Squeezed, crumpled, or folded paper towels will most likely cause a spark or burst into flames in the microwave.

Do not put a paper towel on its own in the microwave. If you do this, there is a high chance of it burning up. As a result, make sure you always use a paper towel with food.

You can use your paper towel to cover your food or place it underneath.

A recycled paper towel is a no-no for the microwave. This is because they often contain components that can ignite if heated for long periods.

Paper towels come with manufacturers’ guidelines, be sure to read up on instructions, and information about safety before usage.

How long does it take to microwave a paper towel?

This depends on the particular food being reheated. With some meals, five minutes is the maximum time required.

While with other foods, a longer time frame may be required, for example, thirty minutes.

The important thing to note is to regularly check on your food at intervals. When you check regularly, you will know when your food should be brought out of the microwave.

Tips for Using Paper Towels in the Microwave:

Paper towels are convenient and safe for reheating or cooking food in a microwave.

One must be cautious when using a paper towel in the microwave because if kept for too long, it may burn.

Below are some useful and helpful reminders before popping that paper towel into your microwave:

  • Read up on the manufacturer’s recommendation to be clear on safety before using a paper towel in the microwave
  • Avoid using a recycled paper towel in your microwave. They often contain toxic chemicals or materials that will be harmful to your food and likely cause a fire hazard.
  • Paper towels should not be placed in the microwave on their own. This is dangerous due to its flammable qualities. Paper towels absorb moisture and help food heat up evenly.
  • You can use wet paper towels when you are reheating refrigerated rice or cooking foods like hot dogs and sausages. A damp paper towel locks the moisture in and prevents food from drying out.
  • The maximum time a damp paper towel can be used in a microwave is thirty minutes. While the minimum time frame is five. The duration depends on the food.
  • Your Paper towel should be laid flat in a microwave when reheating or cooking food. Because of the heat contained in the material, crumpled or folded paper towels can result in a fire.
  • It is best to use one or two paper towels at a time over your food. Using more layers than this in a microwave will cause the materials to spark, igniting a fire.

Wrapping up

Paper towels are essential in every modern-day kitchen, but not only for cleaning up kitchen counters and drying wet hands.

In my household, we often use bounty paper towels to microwave our food, and the benefits are worthwhile.

A Paper towel prevents food splatter, keeps food from drying out, helps retain food moisture, and ensures our foods are evenly heated (impressive, right?).

Paper towels are safe for the microwave, but because they contain limited moisture, this increases the chances of them burning up in the microwave if heated for an extensive period.

When you use a paper towel in the microwave, keep an eye on them. Do not let it stay longer than necessary.


Are bounty paper towels microwave safe?

You’ve probably seen those viral videos of paper towels catching fire in the microwave. While it’s true that most paper towels are not safe to put in the microwave, there are some brands that are specially designed for use in the microwave. Bounty paper towels, for example, are made with a material that won’t catch fire in the microwave. So if you’re wondering whether or not you can use Bounty paper towels in the microwave, the answer is yes – they’re perfectly safe to use.

Are Viva paper towels microwave safe?

No, Viva paper towels are not microwave safe. If you try to microwave a paper towel, it will catch fire. Viva doesn’t recommend microwaving their paper towels because of this hazard. If you need to use a paper towel in the microwave, use a different brand that is safe for microwaving.

Why did my paper towel catch fire in the microwave?

Paper towels can catch fire in a microwave if they are left in there for too long, or if you use a paper towel that is not meant to be microwaved.

What brands of paper towels are microwave safe?

The bounty brand paper towel is the most microwave safe option you can use without having to worry much about it catching on fire.

However, keep in mind that some printed bounty paper towels have ink that can transfer to the food. In this case, it’s best to leave the unprinted side in contact with the food.

Can a bamboo paper towel go in the microwave?

Yes, a bamboo paper towel is microwave safe and does not contain any chemicals that can be harmful to you or your food. A Bamboo paper towel is also less likely to catch fire or heat up too much making it microwave safe.

Why is a wet paper towel safe to use in microwave?

A wet paper towel is safer to use in a microwave because it contains more moisture and is less likely to catch fire as a result of overheating.

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