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Can You Put Paper Towels in the Microwave?

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You can use a microwave to prepare and heat nearly any food. But the downside is that sometimes things splatter all over it, leaving you with a complete mess on your hands. The easiest way to prevent this is to use a paper towel to cover your meal.

But, can you put paper towels in the microwave? Yes, it is perfectly safe to put paper towels in the microwave for as long as half an hour. However, you shouldn’t use recycled paper towels. Also, avoid putting folded or crumpled paper towels to reduce the risks of a potential fire. 

There is a possibility that a paper towel might ignite inside the microwave. This is why you need to know what type of paper towel to use, how long to keep them inside the microwave, and how to do it safely. 

Should You Put Paper Towels In The Microwave?

Yes, it is possible to put paper towels in the microwave safely. Using a paper towel inside the microwave can make it easier for you to cook food in more than one way.

Some benefits of using paper towels in the microwave include:

  1. Preventing splattering and dripping so that your microwave remains clean
  2. Helping your food heat evenly
  3. Keeping food soft by retaining moisture and heat
  4. A paper towel can also act like a vent that prevents your food from overheating.

However, you still need to be cautious when using paper towels in a microwave.

How Do You Microwave Food With Paper Towels Safely?

Paper towels can serve many purposes while heating. They are inexpensive and readily available. Using paper towels in a microwave is low-risk and easy. However, if you do not know how to use them safely, there’s always some risk. 

Given below is how you can microwave paper towels in different arrangements:

Method 1: Lay A Paper Towel On Top Of The Food

If you want to keep food from splattering everywhere, then you can try out this method. 

Keeping a paper towel on top of your food while heating also helps retain heat and moisture so that the food is heated properly. If you want, you can also dampen the paper towel before this step to help retain more moisture.

This is ideal for cooking food items like baked potatoes.

Method 2: Lay A Paper Towel On The Plate

Heating foods like soups or saucy dishes can cause them to splatter on the microwave’s interior. To prevent this, you can take a plate and cover it with a paper towel.

Then, you can set the plate on top of the bowl so that the paper towel provides space for heat to vent but doesn’t fall into your food.

Method 3: Wrap Food Into The Paper Towel

You will need to dampen the paper towel first for this method. Then, simply place the food inside a paper towel and wrap it up.

Wrapping a damp paper towel around food helps retain moisture and keeps your food soft. This method is ideal for reheating foods like tortillas.

You do not need to use a paper towel on your utensils or elsewhere in the microwave if you wrap them around the food. 

Method 4: Use The Paper Towel As A Vent

A paper towel kept over the food while heating acts as a vent. It helps the heat pass through and ensures that the foot does not get overheated.

In fact, this also helps in heating the food more evenly. You can use it as an alternative to plastic wrap. This is an easy way to make your food taste even more delicious and prevent it from being undercooked.

Tips For Microwaving Paper Towels Safely

Now that you know the ways by which you can use a paper towel inside a microwave, there are some tricks that you should follow to make sure that you do it safely.

Ignoring any of these could lead to overheating and ignition! Here is what you need to know about microwaving paper towels safely:

1. Always Make Sure That The Paper Towels Are Microwave-Safe

Check the packaging to know whether the paper towels that you want to use are safe to be microwaved. Although paper towels usually tend to be safe for heating, if you cannot find such an indication, you might want to reconsider.

2. Try To Avoid Recycled Paper Towels

Recycled paper towels may contain traces of substances that catch fire easily.

A microwave catching fire can be extremely dangerous, so you can never be too sure. It is best not to take a risk by using recycled paper towels inside the microwave.

Tip 3: The Printed Side Should Face Away From The Food

If you are using paper towels that have designs printed on them, there is a chance that the ink might leave a trace on the food. It is best to keep the printed side of the paper towel out of contact with the food during heating.

Tip 4: Dampen The Paper Towel

Not only does this tip reduce the risk of the paper towels becoming too dry, but it also helps retain moisture. Using a damp paper towel while reheating foods like rice, pasta, and potatoes can make them soft and as good as new.

Tip 5: Do Not Heat Paper Towels On Their Own In A Microwave

As paper towels have a low water content, they can dry up and catch fire quickly. You should also make sure that you do not heat paper towels with easily flammable items.

Tip 6: Ensure That You Don’t Use Crumpled Paper Towels

Make sure that the paper towel is not crumpled, as it can increase the chances of fire by retaining excessive heat. You should lay it on like a sheet or wrap it around your food in thin layers.

How Many Paper Towels Can You Microwave At Once?

It is best to use only one or two paper towels in the microwave at once.

Many paper towels can trap heat easily and reach high temperatures. Using multiple paper towels multiplies the amount of heat and increases the risk of a fire.

So, just note that using multiple paper towels to create layers is not a good idea. Similarly, you should not fold paper towels to create multiple layers while heating in a microwave.

So, for instance, if you’re planning to keep paper towels between food items, like tortillas, you can put a single one between two damp paper towels in the microwave at once. 

However, for a stack of tortillas or any other food item, the best approach is to cover the pile with a single damp paper towel instead of having multiple paper towels. This approach ensures safety and efficiency!

How Long Can You Use Paper Towels In A Microwave?

Different food items require different heating times. It is imperative to know how long you can use paper towels. 

Well, paper towels can last in the microwave for at least half an hour without any risk of fire. However, we recommend that you microwave food for as little time as possible for safety.

Can You Use Bounty Paper Towels In Microwave?

Bounty is a renowned brand when it comes to paper towels. The paper towels are made up of quality material that can be microwaved.

However, note that Bounty paper towels are suitable for reheating for a short duration only. Also, as mentioned in the tips, keep the unprinted side of the towel towards the food. This ensures that there is no ink transfer to your food. 

Related Questions:

What Can You Not Put In The Microwave? 

Now that you already know that paper towels are microwave-friendly, let’s take a look at some things that aren’t:

  • Plastic bags
  • Plastic containers
  • Aluminum foil 
  • Metal items
  • Styrofoam 

Are Paper Bags Microwave-Friendly?

Even though paper towels are microwave-safe, it doesn’t mean that paper bags are too. In fact, paper bags, especially brown ones, are considered unsafe for microwaves. 

The main reason is that the paper bags cannot handle extreme heat and are vulnerable to catching fire.

Another reason is that they contain chemicals that emit toxic fumes upon heating. These toxic fumes can pass on to your food and cause health issues. 

Final Thoughts 

If you have never considered using paper towels in the microwave before, you now have so many reasons. You can make cooking less messy, reduce cleaning time, and make your food softer and taste better – all by using a paper towel.

Now that you know all the methods and tricks for using a paper towel in the microwave, you can make your cooking experience easier and your food more delicious!

Up Next: Can You Microwave Paper Cups? – Is It Safe?

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