Can You Microwave Styrofoam? Is It Really Doable Or Not?

There is no denying that the microwave is one of the handy kitchen appliances.

It allows you to reheat food before eating, making your meal at its best.

Yet, no matter how good your microwave is, it cannot handle everything safely. 

Some materials cannot be placed inside this machine, such as metals (including aluminum foil) and plastics.

With that in mind, can you microwave styrofoam?

Let’s find out more about this topic below.

Can You Microwave Styrofoam?

The answer is no, you should not use Styrofoam in the microwave because it is a toxic plastic that affects health.

Styrofoam is a type of plastic that is not considered microwave safe. 

Although some are advertised as microwave-safe, we still recommend that you do not use any styrofoam products to reheat food in this machine.

In the next section, we will talk about the dangers, possible effects.

So, make sure to read to the end of this article.

Is Styrofoam Toxic?

When microwaving styrofoam containers, you may face some serious health risks.

One of the main reasons is that they contain a compound called styrene, a possible human carcinogen.

So, when you reheat foods or drinks in polystyrene or plastic containers, this compound soaks up the food.

Then, you will put it into your body.

However, you should be fine if you use polystyrene or plastic products labeled microwave safe. 

They are certified safe for use with microwaves by the Food and Drug Administration.

That’s why we recommend avoiding polystyrene products when reheating food. 

This precaution is not only for microwaving but also for other heating ways.

Does Styrofoam Melt?

Yes! It will melt if you leave it in the oven for too long or use it to store hot food or drink.

You can check out this video to see how it melts during reheating.

In addition, this material is highly flammable.

However, many products come with chemical additives that make them more resistant to flame.

can you microwave styrofoam

What if You Ingest the Chemical Components of Polystyrene?

Here are some of the potential consequences:

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Hearing loss
  • Clinical depression
  • Eye & stomach irritation
  • Dysfunction of the central nervous system

What Are Perfect Alternatives to Styrofoam

Instead of using this material for heating, you should switch to more reliable materials, such as:

  • Ceramic plates
  • Pyrex or Glass plates/ bowls
  • Reheat food and drinks with a pot or pan

What Are The Correct Ways to Reheat Food?

You may wonder about the method to solve this situation.

Here are some tips for reheating food safely.

  • Use microwave-safe containers: Make sure the containers you use are safe for microwaving. The easiest way is to check if it has a microwave-safe label. Some recommended options are ceramic or pyrex.
  • Reheat in the stove/oven: You can also reheat food and drink using the stove or an oven to avoid potential risks.
  • Vent your container before reheating it: This effort helps prevent pressure from forming inside the container, causing food to explode.
  • Check for cracks or scratches: You should remove containers with cracks or scratches because they may leach harmful chemicals.

The Bottom Line

In short, styrofoam is not recommended for use in the microwave.

Although no evidence doing this will give you cancer, it certainly won’t benefit your health.

Experts recommend that you should avoid microwaving polystyrene containers, not even for 10 seconds.

Hopefully, the information in the article is helpful to you.

Thank you for your interest in the article.

Mariana Rouco

Mariana Rouco is the editor-in-chief of Elpasony.com. She loves traveling and writing about foods and cooking in general. She has a degree from the New England Culinary Institute and enjoys Mexican, Italian, and Chinese cuisines the most.

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