What Does Microwave-Safe Reheat Only Mean?

Have you ever wondered what the phrase microwave-safe reheat only means? There you are left with a lot of leftovers from last night’s dinner. You just want to eat it again so you transfer them to a microwavable container to heat them.

Then you read that your container is labeled as microwave-safe reheat only. So, now questions start forming in your head about it.

Well, worry not because you’ve come to the right place (I meant website or web article, but you get the point).

This article will tackle questions that are commonly asked about what microwave-safe reheat only actually means.

Without further ado, let’s go and find out the answers to your questions!

What does microwave-safe reheat only mean?

Microwave-safe reheat only literally means that you can use containers labeled as such only for reheating. It can withstand the microwave’s heat only at its 50% power. Using the containers on heat settings higher than that may damage it entirely.

If you put containers that are labeled as microwave-safe reheat only at very high temperatures, they will possibly melt and get destroyed.

With that, you should NOT use microwave-safe reheat only containers for cooking. They are strictly for reheating ONLY (yes, there is a difference between cooking and reheating).

Usually, containers that are considered microwave-safe reheat only come with a symbol of either a microwave, some wavy lines, or a combination of both.

So, you may want to check out your plastic containers to make sure you are handling and using them properly.

What do you mean by microwave-safe?

Containers that are considered microwave-safe do not heat up quickly and immensely when microwaved. It will not melt or break that quickly even when heated without anything inside it.

Plastic containers that are microwave-safe will usually have the microwave-safe symbol on them. You may look for the symbol at the bottom of the said container.

If your plastic container does not have the microwave-safe symbol, you may try looking at the product’s website to check if the manufacturers indicated it there.

However, it would be better and safer if you just assumed that it is not microwave-safe if the symbol is not there (as they say, it’s better safe than sorry).

But don’t worry because there are a lot of materials that are considered microwave-safe (which we’ll be talking about right after this).

So, if you don’t trust microwaving your food in plastic containers, then there still are other things that you can try out.

What things are microwave-safe?

Ceramics, glassware, and BPA-free plastic containers are some of the most common things that are considered microwave-safe. Porcelain and some china wares may also be considered microwave-safe unless they are labeled otherwise.

It is important to know the different types of labels for plastic containers. If your plastic container is labeled with the numbers 1, 2, 4, and 5 then they surely are microwave-safe.

On another note, if your container is made of microwave-safe material but has metal on it (even just a little bit), then you should not use it when microwaving (we’ll be discussing this more in a while).

What should you NOT put in the microwave?

Any kind of metal like stainless steel, brass, aluminum foil, and even copper should NOT be used when microwaving. Moreover, you should NOT use disposable plastic utensils and containers if you’re microwaving your food.

It is very dangerous to heat metal in a microwave. Metals heat very easily and too much heat can cause them to explode in the microwave (we don’t want – or expect – any form of fireworks in the kitchen, do we?).

Test out heating metal in the microwave and you’ll end up with a damaged microwave, a warped or shattered metal, and probably even an injury (so, please just don’t even think of trying it out).

Moreover, you should never microwave plastics that are labeled with the numbers 3, 6, and 7. Styrofoam (polystyrene) and other plastic cups and dishes are examples of non-microwavable plastics.

You risk contaminating your food with microplastics that come from non-microwavable plastics leaching into your food.

So, if you want to save yourself from injury and other health issues, check your containers if they are microwave-safe.

How to know if something is microwave-safe?

Microwave-safe containers will usually have the microwave-safe symbol on them commonly located at the bottom.

The microwave-safe symbol may look like a double P (PP) along with a triangle that has the number 5 inside it.

Other numbers that indicate microwave safety (which we talked about earlier) may also be indicated inside the triangle.

You need to note that NOT ALL microwave-safe containers can be used at intense heat temperatures.

As said earlier, those labeled as microwave-safe reheat only can withstand only a specific level of heat.

So, to make sure that you don’t damage your containers, check their labels carefully before using them (seriously, you just need to flip them over to see the labels).

If you do find yourself with non-microwavable containers, don’t dispose of them just yet!

Of course, you can use your non-microwavable containers for serving and even storing food. Just make sure that you don’t put food or beverages that are too hot. Remember that these containers easily melt.

How to test if your container is microwave-safe?

If you can’t find any kind of label around the container you want to use then you can just put it to the test.

I usually test my plastic containers just to make sure if they are microwave-safe (yes, even if they have the label – because why not?).

Here’s what I do to check if I can microwave my containers:

  1. Take your container-in-question and fill it with about 1 cup of water (the amount of water depends on how big the container is so you need to make sure to just adjust it accordingly).
  2. Put your container in the microwave and make sure that you don’t cover it with the container’s lid so that it won’t explode.
  3. Set your microwave’s power to the highest heat setting.
  4. Microwave your container with water for 1 minute.
  5. After the given time, remove your container from the microwave (be careful, and please don’t burn yourself with the hot water).
  6. Touch your container and feel its temperature. If your container is cool while the water inside it is hot then it is microwave-safe. On the other hand, if your container is hot or even warm then that means it is not microwave-safe.

How to properly use and handle things labeled as microwave-safe reheat only?

Even if your container is labeled as microwave-safe, you may still damage it if you put it in too much heat.

If what you’re using is also labeled as a reheat-only product, ensure that you observe proper measures to ensure it retains its quality.

When it comes to microwave-safe reheat-only containers, there are certain things that you should remember when handling them.

I have listed down some of the things you need to remember when using your microwave-safe reheat only containers:

  1. Defrost your leftovers first before reheating them in your microwave-safe reheat-only containers. You should not expose your containers too long to heat so that they won’t overheat and slowly melt.
  2. Don’t forget to stop and stir your food when reheating them in your microwave-safe reheat only containers every 1 to 2 minutes. The faster you reheat your food, the better. So, you need to make sure the heat is evenly distributed quickly so that you can remove your container from the heat as soon as possible.


Does microwave safe mean oven safe?

No, just because a container is labeled as microwave-safe does not mean that it can also be used in the oven. The two symbols are not interchangeable. Ovens use actual fire or heat to cook food while microwaves use electromagnetic waves. So, a container that is safe to be used in a microwave might not be able to withstand the intense heat of an oven.

Is plastic microwave safe?

Some plastics are indeed microwave-safe, while the majority of others are not. The safest option is to avoid microwaving any kind of plastic altogether, as even those that are advertised as being safe may still release harmful chemicals into your food when microwaved.

Does microwave safe also mean dishwasher safe?

If your container is labeled as microwave safe, then it can also be washed in the dishwasher. However, it is recommended that you use the top rack of the dishwasher.


And there you have the answers to the questions you’ve been wondering about when it comes to your microwave-safe reheat-only containers. Now, you don’t have to worry if you’re using and handling them properly.

Just go back to this article and check all the tips and information here and you’ll be just fine.