Back To Top
Toggle Menu
books in a basket

Can You Microwave Styrofoam?

Posted on 12/13/2023

Microwaving food has become a staple in our fast-paced lives. Imagine opening your fridge and seeing last night’s dinner from your favorite restaurant neatly packed up inside a Styrofoam container.

garlic on cutting board

You’re excited to enjoy tasty leftovers but are wondering if it's safe to put Styrofoam in the microwave when reheating your food. Let's dive into this topic, debunk the myths surrounding it, and discover if it’s safe to microwave Styrofoam.

What is Styrofoam?

Styrofoam is a popular packaging material known for its lightweight and insulating properties. Many take-out containers from restaurants are made from expanded polystyrene foam, otherwise known as Styrofoam. This material comprises about 95% air, making it lightweight but not impervious to heat. This means it can pose potential hazards when exposed to high temperatures.

Is Styrofoam Safe to Microwave?

In a nutshell, you should not microwave Styrofoam unless it has a microwave-safe label on the container. The microwave-safe symbol is an outline of a microwave with wavy lines; this indicates that the container has been FDA-approved for microwaving. Let’s go over some more guidelines you should follow when it comes to microwaving Styrofoam.

What Happens If You Microwave Styrofoam?

Microwaving Styrofoam that is not labeled microwave-safe can cause the material to melt or release harmful chemicals like styrene into your food if not handled correctly. Styrene is a potential carcinogen (something known to cause cancer) and may pose health risks when ingested.

Overall, Styrofoam plates, containers, and cups are not the best option when it comes to safely reheating your food. Apart from the harmful chemicals found in Styrofoam, if the containers are not microwave-safe, they run the risk of catching fire or melting. This is especially true if you heat them for too long.

Safe Practices for Microwaving Food

  • Opt for Microwave-Safe Alternatives: To avoid the potential risks associated with microwaving Styrofoam, opt for microwave-safe containers made of glass, ceramic, or specifically labeled microwave-safe plastics. This ensures that your food is heated thoroughly without compromising your health.
  • Microwave-Safe Label: Not all Styrofoam is created equal. If you decide to use Styrofoam containers, ensure they are labeled as "microwave-safe" or "heat-resistant." These are designed to withstand the heat generated in microwaves without compromising your food or safety.
  • Temperature Matters: When using plastics in the microwave, be mindful of the temperature. Lower temperatures reduce the likelihood of harmful chemicals leaching into your food. Always adhere to recommended temperature guidelines for the specific container material.
samsung microwave

Upgrade Your Kitchen With High-Tech Microwaves

Unleash the power of innovation in your kitchen by upgrading to our cutting-edge selection of high-tech microwaves. Discover smart microwaves equipped with smart features, putting control at your fingertips. From app integration to voice commands, cooking has never been this effortless.

Browse through our selection of built-in microwaves, over-the-range microwaves, countertop microwaves, and drawer microwaves for sale. For all your home appliance needs, head to our appliance store located in Alexandria, MN, and find the best prices on refrigerators, ovens, ranges, cooktops, and more! What are you waiting for? Upgrade your home today!

potatoes in skillet

Microwaving Styrofoam: Commonly Asked Questions

Can you microwave Styrofoam plates?

Yes, you can microwave Styrofoam plates if they are labeled as microwave-safe. However, always check for cracks or damage before use.

Is microwaving Styrofoam cups safe?

Microwaving Styrofoam cups is generally safe if labeled as microwave-safe. Exercise caution, especially with hot liquids, to prevent warping or melting.

Can you reheat food in Styrofoam takeout containers?

It's best to transfer food from Styrofoam takeout containers to microwave-safe dishes to avoid potential chemical leaching. However, if the container is labeled “microwave-safe” then it is considered safe.

Does Styrofoam release toxins when heated?

Yes. Microwaving Styrofoam can release harmful chemicals. Stick to microwave-safe options to minimize health risks.

Can you microwave styrofoam for long periods of time?

Extended microwaving can increase the risk of Styrofoam melting or releasing toxins. Stick to recommended microwaving times.

How do I know if my Styrofoam is microwave-safe?

Check to see if your Styrofoam container is labeled as “microwave-safe”. You will find an outline image of a microwave with wavey lines to signify it is safe to microwave.

Related Readings:

Is a Counter-Depth Refrigerator the Same as a Built-In Refrigerator?

black microwave

Café™ 2.1 Cu. Ft. Smart Over-the-Range Microwave

Shop Now
stainsteel microwaves

Café™ 1.5 Cu. Ft. Smart Countertop Convection/Microwave Oven

Shop Now
thermador microwave

Thermador MB30WP Built-In Microwave

Shop Now