It is true that you can heat up cardboard in the microwave. Cardboard, by definition, is a stiff paper-like material created from several layers of paper which have been pasted together, and then pressed into a sheet.
While it is not advised to put cardboard in the microwave, there are some instances when this does occur.
Have you ever wondered what happens when you put a piece of cardboard in the microwave? What is the effect on the environment and potentially your health? And why does it happen? To answer these questions, we have to understand how microwaves work.
How Does a Microwave Work
A microwave is a great convenience in today’s world. Many people use them every day to heat up their food while traveling, or use it as an alternative to the oven while cooking at home.
But how does a microwave work? The microwaves are produced by magnets that rotate around the inside of the device.
When this magnet rotates, it creates electromagnetic waves that are similar to radio waves but much smaller. This small size allows these waves to penetrate into solid objects easily.
The microwaves then bounce off the walls of your food, which makes them vibrate rapidly and create friction that heats up your food.
Is It Safe to Microwave Cardboard?
The answer is yes. Cardboard can be microwaved, but it will not be very good for the oven. When cardboard is exposed to high temperatures, it begins to break down and release toxic fumes.
This reaction happens long before the cardboard itself even catches on fire, so if you were using your microwave to warm up some leftovers in a microwave-safe bowl, the fumes would likely absorb into your food before anything caught on fire.
While heating up food inside of a box may sound weird to most people, there are actually several products designed specifically for this purpose.
How to Microwave Cardboard
When you think of microwaving cardboard you probably don’t picture it being safe. Most people would assume that microwaving anything other than paper products is a bad idea, but what if I told you that you could microwave cardboard at home without any harmful side effects?
We are going to explain how to do this with an example. The first thing you need to do is take the item in question and make sure there aren’t any metal pieces or thermal paper attached to it. If there are, remove them before proceeding with the following steps.
After removing these items, place your wrapped product into the cardboard and place it in the microwave. Set the timer to 10 seconds after which you will check if the food is heated to your satisfaction.
If you still need to reheat, add another 10 seconds to prevent the cardboard from heating up and eventually catching fire.
Will Cardboard Light on Fire in the Microwave?
This is a great question. The answer is yes, but here’s the catch: it depends on the cardboard you use.
It turns out that there are two common types of cardboard: corrugated and solid fluted (aka flat-flute). Corrugated cardboard has ridges that extend all through the material, while fluted or solid-flute cardboard doesn’t have these ridges.
Corrugated cardboard will light on fire in a microwave because those ridges conduct heat and cause direct charring to occur over time.
Can You Microwave Cardboard Safely?
While cardboard is generally safe to be used in the microwave, it is always recommended to read the manufacturer instructions provided with the material.
Sometimes when you order takeout or pizza delivery at your home, reheating instructions will be clearly displayed directly on the container cardboard package.
Never use a microwave oven to cook food in a cardboard container unless it is labeled as being microwave safe. For example, you should remove the pizza from the box and the burger from its container to reheat leftovers.
If you are microwaving cardboard, make sure that you only heat it for short periods of time. Though this type of material is microwave safe, and it is unlikely to catch fire, heating for too long can cause the cardboard to burn.
If you can’t find any microwave safe cardboard, try to use a microwave safe paper towel. Put the food in the middle of it and roll it up like a burrito. The moisture level inside will be much lower than with regular paper towels and there is no chance of catching fire.
How Long Can You Microwave Cardboard?
As mentioned above, cardboard should not be microwaved for long periods of time. It is best to microwave it for short amounts of time like 60 seconds to 120 seconds.
If you want to heat the cardboard for even longer periods of time, then take frequent breaks of 30 seconds or a minute before restarting the heating process.
Though microwaves can heat up food within a minute or two, it may not be the case when heating up beverages. Some cardboard beverage containers take longer to heat up than microwaveable dishes.
Tips To Microwave Cardboard
- Cardboard is a very useful material, but it’s not the best option for cooking in the microwave oven. The label of packaging should indicate if cardboard has been tested for this purpose. If there is no label, then you should refrain from heating food or consuming it as it can be dangerous to your health.
- Look at the cardboard that the food is packaged in as it could be coated with wax or plastic. This material can be harmful if heated in a microwave as it can explode and leak toxins into your food.
- Microwave the cardboard for 60 to 90 seconds. For beverage boxes, microwave for 120 seconds.
- Before you put a cardboard box into the microwave, remove any metal, paper, or plastic parts. For example, take off the plastic lid of a coffee cup before microwaving it.
Can you microwave cardboard takeout boxes?
Yes, you can microwave cardboard takeout boxes. This is a valid question to ask, especially since it’s quite common to use take-out boxes for storage purposes.
The short answer is that you can microwave your cardboard takeout containers, but you should be careful about how long you leave them in the microwave and at what temperature setting.
There are also some safety precautions that you need to keep in mind when microwaving cardboard boxes.
Can you microwave cardboard pizza box?
Yes, you can microwave a pizza box. However, it is not safe to microwave the cardboard container that the pizza comes in. That being said, if you are planning to have leftover pizza for lunch or dinner tomorrow then it would be ok to heat up your pizza box again. Enjoy!
Can a box catch on fire in microwave?
Yes, a box can catch on fire. It is not a rare phenomenon at all. Most people don’t notice they have been burned until the microwave beeps to say it has finished zapping their food.
Then they reach in and pull out their plate of food only to discover that the box has caught on fire! The reason why this happens is that microwaves generate heat from within, so if you place a paper box in there, the inside of the box will get hot enough to start burning.
The flames are usually fairly small and can be put out by throwing a glass of water over
Can you microwave McDonald’s box?
If you need a quick answer to this question, then here it is: Yes. You can microwave a McDonald’s box. But why would you want to do that?
The reason most people microwave McDonald’s boxes is that they have grease stains on them and they want to get rid of the smell. Personally, I use it as a test for my microwave’s ability to heat up food without burning it or making me sick.
Can we microwave Jollibee box?
The box of Chicken Joy is made from paper and plastic. Microwaving the box will cause it to melt and leak grease. This will damage your microwave, so better not try it.
Can you microwave takeaway paper?
Yes, you can microwave takeaway paper. In fact, as long as the packaging is not too thick, it will be fine. The food inside should be heated and safe to eat.
Takeaway containers like paper bags are made of cellulose-based materials like recycled newspapers or cardboard boxes, which contain water molecules that help to insulate the contents within.
So, Can You Put Cardboard in the Microwave?
The above explanation is clear that you need to make sure to read the label for manufacturer instructions before microwaving cardboard.
This way, it is better if you transfer food or beverages into a microwave-safe cup, bowl, or plate to reheat. It is better for your own personal consumption as well as for the safety of microwave ovens.
If you have any questions, leave them in the comments section below!