The microwave provides efficient cooking and faster reheating to get your food ready on time. However, the microwave has some limitations such as you cannot microwave metal, plastic, ceramic, tinfoil, aluminum foil and other materials/objects that are easily inflammable.
So, you need to know if carboard can go in the microwave before actually putting it.
Can You Microwave Cardboard?
Yes, you can microwave cardboard to reheat the food or drink as and when needed. Most cardboard boxes or packages are safe to microwave still you should check the box for “microwave-safe” symbol or written instructions. This is how you can know if your cardboard is safe to put in the microwave or not.
If your cardboard box is labeled as “microwave-safe” by its manufacturer or it contains the symbol printed on it, you can microwave it. In case you can’t find any symbol, label or instructions then I recommend you not to microwave that cardboard for the safety of your food and the microwave as well.
Can You Microwave Cardboard Alone?
No, you cannot microwave cardboard alone because it is not safe. Generally, the cardboard contains 9 to 12% moisture that takes time to catch fire in the microwave when there is food or drink with the cardboard. But it can quickly catch fire if you put cardboard alone in the microwave.
Using cardboard to reheat leftover food or drink is fine but there is no sense of microwaving cardboard alone. So, you should not put cardboard in the microwave without any food or drink as the cardboard can catch fire which can damage the microwave and the fire can also spread in your whole kitchen.
Is It Safe to Microwave Cardboard?
Yes, it is safe to microwave cardboard as long as the cardboard has the “microwave-safe” label/symbol or clear instructions. If you find the symbol or instructions then there is no risk in putting cardboard in the microwave.
Moreover, the cardboard should not contain ink, glue, wax, plastic or metal otherwise it is not safe to put in the microwave.
When you decide to microwave cardboard, you should also take care of the time duration. It is safe to microwave cardboard for short periods like one minute or two minutes. You should not keep the cardboard inside microwave for longer.
Can Cardboard Catch Fire in the Microwave?
Yes, cardboard can catch fire in the microwave if you put the carboard alone inside or it is not labeled as microwave-safe.
When you want to put cardboard with food or drink in the microwave, you must check that it is microwave-safe. Because it is possible that the cardboard can catch fire if it is not safe to microwave. Unsafe cardboard can also release toxic chemicals when heated in the microwave.
Are All Cardboards Safe to Microwave?
No, all cardboards are not safe to microwave, some are safe and some are not. To make it clearer, I would say that the cardboards with microwave-safe symbol or label are sate to put in the microwave. So, it is very important to look for the safety symbol on cardboard before microwaving it.
The cardboards that don’t have microwave-safe symbol or label, are not safe to microwave. You should never put any unsafe cardboard in the microwave as it can catch fire or release harmful chemicals that can mix with your food or drink.
Types of Cardboard Not Safe to Microwave
I have said that not all cardboards are safe to microwave and not all of them are unsafe. So, you want to know what types of cardboard are not safe to microwave so that you can avoid unnecessary accidents in your kitchen. Here I provide the types of cardboard that you should never put in the microwave.
- Cardboard that contains glue or any other adhesive is not safe to microwave. It can release toxic chemicals when heated and contaminate the food.
- Cardboard with wax or plastic coating or lining is not safe to put in the microwave. The heat inside microwave can melt the wax or plastic and mix with the food.
- The Ink-Printed Cardboard releases toxic chemicals when heated and it can affect the food. So, this type of cardboard is not safe to microwave.
- The cardboard with metal handles or parts or pins is not safe to put in the microwave. Because the metal is not microwavable and it can easily catch fire if it has jagged edges.
- Any cardboard with written instructions for “not to microwave” is not safe to microwave.
- Any cardboard without the microwave-safe label or symbol is not safe to microwave.
The above given types of cardboard are not safe to put in the microwave. Therefore I strongly recommend not to use any of the above cardboards for heating food or drink in your microwave. Such cardboard can catch fire, damage the microwave and contaminate your food.
How Long Can You Microwave Cardboard?
The cardboard is safe to put in the microwave for up to 120 seconds i.e. 2 minutes. Based on my experience, I suggest you must not microwave cardboard longer than 2 minutes as it is not safe.
The cardboard is not a plate or bowl for cooking food in the microwave. It is just your food package that is designed to keep the food safe and packed. So, you should be careful when microwaving cardboard and never keep it inside the microwave for longer than its limit.
How Does Microwave Heat Up Cardboard?
The microwave heats up cardboard same as it heats up any food item. It generates electromagnetic waves that revolves around food in the cooking space of the microwave. These waves vibrate water molecules inside food to heat it up. The same way, the microwaves vibrate moisture inside cardboard to heat it up.
Generally, the cardboard contains around 9 to 12% moisture that can be evaporated by heat inside the microwave. The electromagnetic waves can reduce cardboard moisture to 1% or 0% to completely dry it.
The cardboard does not dry easily if you put it with food or drink in the microwave. But it can dry out if you keep it inside the microwave for longer or if you microwave cardboard alone. Once, the cardboard is dry, it can catch fire that can damage the microwave.
Can You Microwave Cardboard Takeout Boxes?
Yes, you can microwave cardboard takeout boxes as long as they meet requirements of being microwave-safe. When you buy a pizza, burger, hot dog or other fast food, it comes in the cardboard box. You eat half and bring the remaining half home to eat later.
I suggest you to check if there is ink printed on the box or it has wax coating or plastic lining or metal handle/parts. If the cardboard takeout box doesn’t have any of these, it is safe to put in the microwave with pizza.
In case you don’t find anything problematic in the cardboard box, make sure that it is labeled as microwave-safe by the manufacturer. Some cardboard takeout boxes are not safe to microwave and there is a warning on the box. If it is not labeled as microwave-safe or has warning of not to microwave then you should not microwave it.
Can You Microwave Cardboard Paper Plates?
Yes, you can microwave cardboard paper plates that don’t contain wax or plastic coating. You should check the package of your cardboard paper plates to check if the plates contain glue or wax or plastic coating or lining.
In addition, you should also check for “microwave-safe” label or symbol on the cardboard plates package. If the package has that symbol, you can microwave cardboard paper plates to reheat food for your family.
When there are several guests at home, you don’t want to use regular dishes as you need to wash them later. So, it’s a great idea to reheat food in cardboard paper plates and serve it to the guests. Once, everyone finish eating the food, you can throw the plates in the dustbin.
Can You Microwave Whole Foods Cardboard?
No, you cannot microwave whole foods cardboard boxes or containers. They are not suitable to put in the microwave because whole food cardboard boxes contain chemicals that can release when heated.
Moreover, the whole food cardboard can catch fire in the microwave. So, it is not safe to microwave whole food cardboard containers and you should not microwave it. You can shift your food to a microwave-safe bowl to reheat it in the microwave safely.
FAQs about How to Microwave Cardboard Safely
Nowadays, almost all fast food items come packed in cardboard boxes. So, you don’t want to shift food from cardboard to a plate or bowl for reheating purposes. You can microwave cardboard but consider the heating up period and other important things.
Here I provide some necessary questions about how to microwave card and how safe it is. You should read all FAQs and their answers carefully.
Q.1 Can you put white cardboard in the microwave?
Yes, you can put white cardboard in the microwave if it is labeled as microwave-safe or has instructions to use in microwave by the manufacturer.
Q.2 Can cardboard go in microwave for 30 seconds?
Yes, cardboard can go in microwave for 30 seconds to 2 minutes for reheating food or drink.
Q.3 Can you microwave a McDonald’s Burger box?
Yes, you can microwave a McDonald’s Burger Box as it is made of high quality cardboard without metal parts or coating of wax or plastic. It is neither printed with ink nor contain any glue, so it is safe to microwave McDonald’s Burger Boxes, Pizza Boxes and other McDonald Cardboard Boxes.
Q.4 Can You microwave Chipotle takeout boxes?
No, you cannot microwave Chipotle takeout boxes because the manufacturer has not labeled them as microwave-safe. They may contain harmful chemicals or have chances to catch fire in the microwave, so it’s better not to microwave Chipotle cardboard boxes.
Q.5 Can you microwave a cardboard pizza box?
Yes, you can microwave a cardboard pizza box as is safe to put in the microwave and it doesn’t get hot easily like your pizza.
The bottom line
You can microwave cardboard boxes and containers to reheat your food or drink. Most cardboard containers are made of pure cardboard without any glue, metal, wax or plastic. Therefore most cardboard containers are safe to put in the microwave.
When you want to reheat leftover food, you can microwave it in its own box. Make sure that the cardboard box you want to microwave has the microwave-safe symbol or label. In case the cardboard doesn’t have any symbol or instructions and you are confused, it’s better not to microwave it.
In order to reheat food in cardboard boxes, you need to microwave it for a few seconds. Depending upon the food quantity, it may take 30 seconds to 1 minute or maximum 2 minutes to heat up the food. Don’t microwave cardboard for longer than 2 minutes as it can catch fire if there is extreme heat inside the microwave.