Can you Put Paper Towels in the Microwave?

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 meal with paper towels 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, 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. Paper towels though safe for the microwave contain less moisture, which also increases the chances of it burning up in the microwave if kept for an extensive period.

With climate concerns, a lot of people opt for using recycled wares. 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.

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.

Why use Paper Towels in a 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. Wet paper towels help hold in moisture and rehydrate food so it does not dry out.

When you put wet paper towels over your food in the microwave, it guarantees a more even cooking of your food.

By wrapping wet paper towels 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?

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.  Paper towels should always be used with food.

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

Recycled paper towels are 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 paper towels in the microwave because if kept for too long they 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 paper towels in the microwave
  • Avoid using recycled paper towels 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. Damp paper towels lock the moisture in and prevent food from drying out.
  • The maximum time paper towels can be used in a microwave is thirty minutes.  While the minimum time frame is five. The duration depends on the food.
  • Paper towels 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.

We can use paper towels to microwave our foods and the benefits are worthwhile.

Paper towels prevent food splatter, keep food from drying out, help retain food moisture, and ensure 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 paper towels in the microwave, keep an eye on them. Do not let it stay longer than necessary.


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