Can You Microwave Stainless Steel? Is It Safe to Heat Stainless Steel in Microwave?

Stainless less containers are the very common utensils in our daily life. The bowls and lunch boxes used by many families are made of stainless steel. Stainless steel cups and mugs are many people’s preferred travel mugs, for they do a stellar job of keeping beverages warm.

Many may want to directly put their stainless steel cups in the microwave, and directly take the mugs on the move.

However, can you microwave stainless steel? Can you put stainless steel bowls or cups in the microwave?

Read on to find out!


Can You Microwave Stainless Steel?

Before we get to the explanation about whether you can put stainless steel bowl in the microwave, we need to understand what a microwave-safe container should be, and the properties of microwave ovens.

What a Microwave-Safe Container Should Be

A microwave-safe container should be high temperature resistant, has the property of microwave penetrability, and be non-toxic to be cooked with foods,


The Properties of Microwave Ovens

There are three properties in microwave ovens – penetrability, absorbability, and reflectivity.

Microwave radiation can pass through insulating materials such as microwave-safe glass, ceramics, and plastics, and these materials won’t consume the microwaves.

When the microwaves penetrate foods containing water, microwaves will be absorbed by the food items. At this point, it causes the water molecules within the foods and generate heat energy, so foods will be cooked.

Furthermore, the walls of microwave ovens are made out of metals, so the walls will reflect the microwaves and keep the microwave radiation confined within the microwave oven.


Can You Microwave Stainless Steel? Is It Safe?

Many of us already know for sure that metals should not be put in the microwave for several good reasons.

“What about stainless steel cups and mugs? Can I microwave stainless steel?”

The short answer is, nope! Stainless steel has a layer of chromium oxide on the surface which prevents oxidation and corrosion.

Other than that, stainless steels are not so different from ordinary metals when they are heated in microwave ovens.

That is to say, stainless steel can reflect microwaves as metals do. Due to the shielding effect of the stainless steel, the microwave radiations are blocked and the food cannot be heated.


Another reason why you shouldn’t put stainless steel in the microwave lies in that there are potential dangers doing so.

If the stainless steel comes in contact with the walls of the microwave oven when heating, the arcing between the stainless steel object and the metal walls of the microwave oven can occur.

When it occurs, sparks and crackles can happen inside the microwave oven. The arcing can start a fire, burn down the cover on the microwave oven walls, and seriously damage the magnetron.


Those are the reasons why microwaving stainless steel is not a good idea. However, mot all stainless steel containers can cause the hazards in the microwaves.

If the stainless steel stay clear of the microwave oven walls when the microwave is heating, and the reflection surface is smooth enough, it may not affect the microwave oven and won’t occur hazard factors.

But good chances are microwaving stainless steel can damage the microwave oven seriously when you put stainless steel in the microwave.

Therefore, our best advice for you is – don’t put stainless steel in a microwave, be it a stainless steel bowl, cup, lunch box, or tableware. Just don’t.

Wrap Up

Let’s wrap up the main reasons why you shouldn’t microwave stainless steel:

  • May not heat the food effectively, because microwaves are blocked.
  • Could cause arcing, and lead to dangers.
  • May reduce the service life of the magnetron tube, and seriously damage the microwave oven.

If you have any questions concerning microwaving stainless steel, let us know in the comment section and we’ll include more information in the post.

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