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Can You Put Paper Plates In The Microwave?

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It seems like no matter how often you do the dishes it can be nearly impossible to keep up with them.

It’s become almost common for people to use paper plates for most needs and then just pull out the nice dishes for events or family dinner time. 

Paper plates are so convenient! You can grab and go if needed and then just throw them away when you’re finished. You never have to worry about running out of clean plates!

Whether you use paper plates for quick meals or for every use, you should know the basics about properly handling them. 

So, can you put paper plates in the microwave? While some paper plates are indeed microwave-safe, others have plastic coatings or other materials that can melt or leach chemicals into your food if subjected to heat. The label should tell you whether it is safe to put in the microwave.

Not all paper plates are made the same. Some paper plates might be microwave-safe while others aren’t designed to be. There is a lot to be aware of when you plan to use your paper plates for microwaving. 

In this guide, we will discuss just whether or not it is safe to microwave your paper plates.

We will cover all of the details you need to know surrounding this topic and will even share some of our favorite microwave-safe paper plates in case you need a reliable option! Keep reading to learn about microwaving paper plates. 

Understanding Paper Plates and the Microwave

There are all sorts of paper products out there that have been designed to help meals, parties, and more be a simpler and cleaner affair.

Paper plates give us the ability to feed large gatherings or simply ourselves without worrying about the dishes afterward. 

The best way to know whether a paper plate, bowl, or other paper material is truly microwave-safe is to check the packaging. Of course, that’s not always an option. For starters, it might be hard to find on the packaging. 

And then, there are those of us who open them up and dispose of the packaging and just store the items in our cabinets or wherever. You certainly can’t refer to the packaging if you don’t still have it in the first place! 

The real key is to know the tips for checking it out but to also understand resources and what plates are or are not safe before you buy them.

If you’ve never considered before whether or not the plates you are purchasing are safe, try to make it a habit to check the packaging before you purchase in the future. 

Is Your Paper Plate Safe for the Microwave?

Some paper plates are layered with a plastic coating that is meant to make the plate sturdy or more pliable for use. You know, those plates that boast they can hold all the food without leaking? 

Some of those plates may not be safe. Now, before you go toss out your plates because you’re worried you’ve been eating off of dangerous plates, it’s ok.

We don’t want to categorize every plate in this manner, we just want to call your attention to things to look for. 

While some plates are coated with plastic, others are not. Plates can be durable and sturdy without being plastic-coated.

It’s impossible for us to just magically know what our plates are coated by. This is where due diligence can come in handy. 

For example, most of us are familiar with the Dixie brand plates and disposable dishes. Their lines are made to be heavy-duty and also made to be microwave-safe.

They can support hot and cold dishes and they can be used in the microwave without any concern of hazards or chemicals leaching into your foods. 

The good news is that most paper plates are made to be microwave-safe but it is still important to check out your plates just to be on the safe side. 

Tips for Testing Plates for Microwave Safety

If you are looking at your plates and panicking about their safety now, don’t fear! Remember that we said that most paper plates are safe. If you want to know for sure, there is a way to test the plates to really know for sure. 

Additionally, we want to mention that even plates that are microwave-safe are best when microwaved for short periods of time.

Be cautious when microwaving these and know that the longer they are microwaved or the higher the power, the quicker things can change. 

Here is a simple way to test a play if you want to give it a try. 

  1. Fill a small bowl with water and place the plate and the bowl in the microwave next to each other. 
  2. Microwave this combination for 1 minute on high power. 
  3. When the time is up, carefully touch the plate. 
  4. If the plate is very hot to the touch, it is not considered microwave-safe. 

This is a simple way to test your plates if you have any concern that they are not truly microwave-safe for your needs. 

As a general rule of thumb, we like to state that if the package is not specifically marked as microwave-safe, it’s not worth the risk.

Things that can be used in the microwave or could be mistaken to be safe for the microwave are almost always marked if they are microwave-safe. 

This is true of disposable plates, bowls, cups, and silverware. You might even find these markings on things like paper towels and napkins. 

Whether or not your plates are microwave-safe could vary, depending on the ones you are using. 

Will the Chemicals in Paper Plates Affect Your Food?

Another common unknown amongst paper products is whether or not they have chemicals that could leach into your foods. Many people will tell you not to microwave Styrofoam products for this very reason. This is just an example. 

Some plates contain chemicals like BPA or something that is similar to BPA. You will want to watch for this.

If your plates contain BPA or a chemical called polyfluoroalkyl (also referred to as PFAS), then you shouldn’t microwave them. Some of these may even be labeled as microwave-safe. 

Most microwave-safe products will not contain these but it’s a good idea to check for them to be on the safe side. 

If these chemicals are in your disposable plates or dishes, you should not microwave them as these chemicals could potentially leach into your food during the microwaving process.

You will notice that most disposable dishes are labeled as BPA-free and this is great to watch for! 

3 Microwave-Safe Plate Options

In an effort to share with you some great options to choose from, we thought we’d give you three different paper plates that are all microwave-safe.

1.Dixie Everyday Paper PlatesSeveral sizes and prints, soak-proof, 5 layers
2.Glad Disposable Paper PlatesSeveral prints, square or circular, durable
3.Comfy Package Heavy-Duty Paper PlatesPlain and circular, eco-friendly, leak-proof

The health and safety of your family and friends is important and we’ve checked these out for safety! 

1. Dixie Everyday Paper Plates

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Dixie Everyday paper plates are great for meals, snacks, and more. They come in various sizes and prints, sometimes the prints change seasonally.

They are made to be soak-proof so they can be used for just about any food. They are also to thick to be easily bent and won’t spill your food all over the place.

These plates are made with 5 layers and are designed to be strong and sturdy. The coating is water-based rather than chemical. These are microwave-safe and cut-resistant! 

2. Glad Disposable Paper Plates

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These paper plates from Glad are great for any occasion. They come in pretty prints and you can get them in square or circle shapes as well.

These are made for everyday use and they are also designed to be soak-proof so you can use them with whatever kind of food you desire.

These Glad plates are sturdy and durable. You can even hold them with one hand without worrying about the plate bending and your food sliding off. They don’t bend under pressure.

They are, of course, also microwave-safe with no harmful chemicals to speak of and are cut-resistant as well. 

3. Comfy Package Heavy-Duty Paper Plates

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These compostable paper plates are simple, sturdy, and effective. They are a plain off-white color with no designs to speak of.

However, these are made with eco-friendly materials and are totally compostable. They are heavy-duty and leak proof. 

These are made with sugarcane fibers. There is no lining of any kind and yet they are totally sturdy and durable for use. These are great for hot or cold and they are microwave-safe as well. 

Related Questions

We hope that this guide to whether or not paper plates are safe to microwave is an intuitive and helpful guide for you. There is a lot to know and be aware of to ensure your plates are safe. 

We invite you to review the following question and answer section for some additional information that could be useful for you. 

How Long Can a Paper Plate Be Microwaved?

If your plate is marked as microwave-safe, you don’t have to worry tremendously. You should be able to heat your food appropriately in the microwave without concern. However, the longer the plate is in the microwave, the more cautious you should be. 

We recommend not microwaving anything on a paper plate for more than 3 minutes total, for safety and endurance of the plate. 

What Symbol Means Microwave-Safe?

Typically, the item will have the words microwave-safe but they also might just have a symbol of a microwave as well to indicate safety.

If you’re looking at a container, you can look for #5 as well to determine whether it is safe for the microwave. 

What Other Things May Not Be Safe to Microwave?

Paper plates aren’t the only surprising thing that isn’t always safe for the microwave. While we all know metal is a huge fire hazard in the microwave, there are other household objects and materials that are less obvious dangers.

Many materials may not melt in the microwave but will silently release harmful chemicals into your food as they are heated, like styrofoam and certain plastics. Ceramic and glass are always the safest bet when microwaving your food.

If you’re concerned that what you don’t know will hurt you when it comes to microwaving different materials, we’ve found a helpful video from the BuzzFeed Multiplayer channel on YouTube about 13 things you shouldn’t microwave.

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