Most people probably think of a paper towel as a simple convenience item that’s used to clean up messes. Like many household items though, paper towels have other uses as well.
One such use that you might not have considered is to use paper towels as a cover in the microwave (more on the potential reasons for this later). It might seem counter-intuitive since a microwave gets hot and paper easily catches fire, but people do this all the time.
Just because someone does it though, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe. In another article, I mentioned that people sometimes bake their pizzas in the oven on cardboard, and that’s definitely not safe.
So, can paper towels safely be used in the microwave? And if so, what are the benefits? Keep reading to find out.
Can Paper Towel Go in the Microwave?
When used appropriately, paper towels can safely go in the microwave. This is due to the way a microwave works. Microwaves warm up your food by vibrating molecules of water at high frequencies.
Since paper towels don’t have a high water content, they’re unlikely to burn. Even if your paper towels gets wet, it’s very unlikely that they’ll reach the necessary temperature to catch fire.
While paper towels in general are safe to use in the microwave, there are always exceptions. In case your towels happen to contain materials that might spark or leach chemicals, it’s best to read the fine print on the packaging to see if it’s microwave safe, or check with the manufacturer.
Also, if you put something else in the microwave with the paper towel that can cause a spark, your paper towel could potentially catch fire.
What Are the Benefits of Using Paper Towels in the Microwave?
We’ve already established that it’s safe to use paper towel in the microwave, but is it even worth doing? Are there any benefits? It turns out that there are.
1 – They Help Control Splashing
One of the most common uses for paper towels in the microwave is to control splashing. When heating foods or liquids that easily splash, you can simply put a piece or two of paper towel over the top of the container to help control the splashing.
The main benefit of this is to save you the trouble of cleaning the walls and turntable in the microwave after your food has been heated.
2 – They Can Catch Drips
Another common use of paper towels in the microwave is to place them on top of the turntable. The main reason for doing this is to catch drips when warming up soup or other foods with a high liquid content.
After you’re done microwaving, you can simply remove the paper towel instead of cleaning the turntable.
3 – They Help Retain Moisture
A common use of paper towels in the microwave is to wrap foods. The purpose of this is to keep the moisture from escaping, which is what tends to happen when you cook something in the microwave.
You can think of this technique as being similar to covering a pot when steaming something on your stove, with similar results.
4 – They’re Cheap and Convenient
Last, but not least, paper towels are relatively cheap and convenient. At first, you might think that paper towels aren’t very cost effective. However, when you consider the fact that you can reuse them (either in the microwave, or for something else), it turns out they are pretty inexpensive.
You also can’t deny how convenient they are. You probably already have a roll of them sitting in your kitchen near your microwave, which makes it pretty quick and easy to grab and use.
If you’re looking for a way to make your paper towels go a little further, consider using them in the microwave. As listed above, there are several reasons that you might find this beneficial.
Just make sure they don’t contain any materials or chemicals that aren’t microwave-safe first, as that would defeat the purpose of using them in the microwave.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems and over 10 years of experience working in IT. As a homeowner, I love working on projects around the house, and as a father, I love investigating various ways to keep my family safe (whether or not this involves tech). I’ve also played guitar for almost 20 years and love writing music, although it’s hard to find the time these days.