Stainless steel is one of the most commonly used metals in kitchenware. But can you put stainless steel in the microwave?
We are always advised to use only certain types of containers in the microwave. Because using anything else will cause damage to your appliance.
To be honest, I never understood why. Why can I put a metal spoon in the microwave? So, I finally decided to do some research and understand its reason.
The answer was not what I expected. So, keep reading to find out why you should not put stainless steel in a microwave.
Metal in microwave
Contrary to popular belief, microwaves do not heat the food by using warmth. Instead, the microwaves of the device vibrate the molecules and atoms of the item. When this item is solid food or liquid, the process is easier and faster.
In theory, you can put metal in the microwave, and nothing terrible will happen because the molecules in metal are closely bound together. So, they should not vibrate much and not get hot.
But, metal is reflective. And it reflects the microwaves themselves. Because of this reason, the manufacturer makes the inside walls of the microwave with metal. This way, the microwaves stay within the device.
However, if you put another piece of metal inside the microwave, the metal will reflect the microwave back and forth. And this can ignite a spark and cause a fire hazard.
Can you put stainless steel in the microwave?
No. You should not put stainless steel in the microwave. It is not much different from any other type of metal. And putting stainless steel in the microwave can cause a fire hazard.
Stainless steel is one of the best metals to use if you live in a high humidity area. Due to its special coating, stainless steel does not get rusty. But that does not mean that you can put it in the microwave.
A plain stainless steel sheet in the microwave is not relatively dangerous. However, putting big stainless steel utensils can cause a problem. As this metal has a reflective surface, the microwaves are reflected back and forth between the utensil and the microwave oven walls.
And this sparks a fire and causes a fire hazard. This is why you should never put stainless steel in the microwave.
Can you microwave a stainless steel lunchbox?
No. You cannot and should not put a stainless steel lunch box in the microwave for two reasons. Firstly, the stainless steel lunch box blocks the food from getting heated. Secondly, placing this metal in the microwave can cause a fire hazard.
One of the reasons I recommend not microwaving food in airtight containers is simple. The airtight metal containers do not let the microwaves reach the food. And without contact with microwaves, the food or drink cannot heat up.
Now, this is a similar situation with a stainless steel lunchbox. These lunch boxes are usually airtight. Hence, the food will not get warm.
Lunch Boxes come with lids, right? So, what if you do not use that lid?
Even if you do not use the lid, there is another problem. Putting stainless steel in the microwave sparks a fire and can ruin your microwave. It can also lead to short circuits.
So, only use microwave-safe containers to heat the food. Your food will warm up quickly and safely.
Is 304 stainless steel microwave safe?
No, 304 stainless steel is not microwave safe either. The fancy name of this metal might make you believe that you can put it out in the microwave. But that is not safe.
304-grade stainless steel is famous for its heat resistance feature. In other words, you can heat this metal to a very high temperature without any issue. Another advantage of the 304 stainless steel is that it is corrosion-proof. So, no matter how many times you wash it with water, it will not get rusty.
But, just like any other metal, this steel is also highly reflective at the end of the day. And putting 304 stainless steel in the microwave can start a fire.
What kind of metal can you put in the microwave?
As a general rule of thumb, you should not put any metal in the microwave. However, you can microwave a tiny amount of aluminum foil. But the condition is that the aluminum foil lays flat on the microwave surface and does not touch any microwave walls.
If you read any microwave oven instruction manual, microwaving metal is a huge no-no. So, stay away from microwaving any metal.
Things to know about microwaving stainless steel
Now you know that stainless steel is not microwave-safe. But there are still some things that you should know about microwaving stainless steel.
- Different stainless steel utensils reflect the microwaves differently. For example, any utensil with sharp objects is equally dangerous to microwave. The sharp edge reflects the microwaves better and can cause a spark faster.
- Utensils made of other materials that have metal trim are also harmful to put in the microwave. The metallic trim heats up quicker and ruins the utensil. If the metallic trim is big, it can also cause a fire.
- Stainless steel spoons are somewhat safe to microwave. But do not leave it in the microwave for more than 30 seconds. Keeping it longer in the microwave can cause a spark and start a fire.
- If you put a stainless steel object in the microwave, do not put it too near the walls. It can immediately start a fire in your appliances.
- If you are putting aluminum foil in the microwave, lay it flat. Do not wrinkle it or place it near the walls of the microwave. Any wrinkles or direct contact with the wall can cause a spark.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens if you put stainless steel in the microwave?
Microwaving stainless steel is not any different than microwaving any other metal. So, the reaction is also the same. The microwaves reflect the waves, and they can cause a fire.
So, if you plan to microwave food, ensure that it is in a microwave-safe container.
Why is stainless steel not used in the microwave?
Stainless steel is not used in the microwave for a simple reason. Stainless steel utensils have a highly reflective surface. Because of this, the microwaves reflect from the utensil to the microwave walls.
This process can cause a fire in the microwave. It can also lead to a short circuit.
Does stainless steel explode in the microwave?
You might have heard that stainless steel explodes in the microwave. Well, it is not entirely wrong.
Yes, stainless steel can explode in the microwave. But not all types of stainless steel utensils explode in the microwave.
For example, if you put a stainless steel spoon in the microwave, the spoon will not explode. Yes, but if you leave it in the microwave for a longer time, it can cause a fire.
Similarly, putting a stainless steel nail in the microwave can quickly cause a fire.
So, what do you think now? Can you put stainless steel in the microwave? The answer is no. Do not put any type of stainless steel utensils in the microwave.
Similarly, the 304 stainless steel is also not microwave-safe. So, avoid putting it in the microwave. It can also cause a spark and set fire to your appliance.
One of the metals which are somewhat safer to put in the microwave is aluminum foil. But the only condition is that it lays flat in the microwave and does not touch any walls. As this is neither useful nor possible, do not microwave aluminum foil.
When microwaving food, only use microwave-safe containers and utensils. Check the bottom of the container. If it has the three wavy lines symbol, it is microwave safe.