Can You Put a Paper Towel in the Microwave?

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The microwave’s ease of use and effectiveness in heating and preparing meals have made it necessary in modern life. But many of us may have questioned if it’s safe to microwave other things, including paper towels. “Can you put a paper towel in the microwave?” This article will examine whether using a paper towel in the microwave is safe and offer insightful advice. So let’s investigate and learn the truth about this frequent kitchen conundrum.

Our use of microwaves to cook and prepare food has changed forever, providing a quick and effective answer for our busy lifestyles. However, it’s crucial to be aware of the safety issues when using the microwave, particularly concerning items like paper towels.

Can You Put a Paper Towel in the Microwave?

Can You Put a Paper Towel in the Microwave

Paper towel microwave usage is a subject that frequently prompts discussion and causes anxiety in people. Although paper towels are commonly used to mop up spills and cover food, there is still some debate about whether they are safe to use in a microwave. The response, however, is based on several variables. In general, using a paper towel in the microwave is safe if done appropriately and sparingly.

Paper towels can hold heat and moisture since they are designed to be absorbent, so if they are not handled properly, they could get hot and even catch fire. It is essential to adhere to a few rules to prevent any accidents. To begin with, it’s crucial to check that the paper towel is clean and devoid of any metal, as metal can ignite and harm the microwave. Additionally, it is advised to use plain white paper towels without any printed patterns or motifs, as they could contain colors or other chemicals that could seep into the meal.

Additionally, it’s crucial to avoid jamming the microwave with too many paper towel layers, which could obstruct appropriate heat dispersion and raise the danger of overheating. Using a paper towel to cover food or absorb extra moisture during microwave cooking is acceptable if you exercise caution, follow the instructions, and keep a close eye on the microwave.

Understanding Microwaves and Paper Towels

Understanding Microwaves and Paper Towels

Heat is produced in food when electromagnetic waves from microwaves excite water molecules. On the other hand, paper towels are created from cellulose fibers, commonly derived from wood pulp. When exposed to the intense heat of the microwave, paper towels may burn or emit toxic substances.

Safety Precautions for Using Paper Towels in the Microwave

To ensure the safe use of paper towels in the microwave, follow these guidelines:

Use Microwave-Safe Paper Towels

Make sure a paper towel is marked “microwave safe” before putting it in the microwave. Paper towels that can withstand the heat of a microwave are specially made to do so.

Avoid Metallic Elements

Paper towels with metallic highlights, such as gold or silver, should not be used because they can spark in the microwave and cause a fire.

Keep the Paper Towel Moist

Before using the paper towel in the microwave, moisten it to avoid drying out and catching fire.

Use as a Cover or Absorbent

Paper towels can be used as a cover in the microwave to stop spills and food explosions. They also take in more moisture from foods like bacon and fried dishes.

Positive Effects of Microwave Paper Towel Use

Using paper towels in the microwave offers several benefits, including:

Splatter Prevention

A paper towel over the meal can stop messy splatters and make cleaning the microwave easier.

Moisture Absorption

Paper towels absorb excess moisture from food, helping retain its texture and prevent sogginess.

Steam Release Control

When certain foods are covered with a paper towel, steam can slowly escape, preventing excessive moisture from accumulating and preserving the food’s quality.

Potential Risks of Using Paper Towels in the Microwave

While paper towels can be convenient in the microwave, they also pose certain risks:

Fire Hazard

The paper towel may catch fire if it becomes scorched or comes in contact with hot places in the microwave. Paper towels that are not microwave-safe increase this risk.

Chemical Release

Yes, when heated in the microwave, additives or chemicals in paper towels may escape into the meal. To reduce this risk, using paper towels that can be heated in a microwave is crucial.

Alternative Options for Heating or Covering Food in the Microwave

If you are unsure about using paper towels in the microwave or want to explore other options, here are some alternatives:

Microwave-Safe Covers

Invest in microwave-safe coverings or lids to avoid splatters and let steam escape securely.

Microwave-Safe Containers

Use microwave-safe glass or ceramic containers with a microwave-safe plate to cover food and stop splatters.

Microwave-Safe Wax Paper or Plastic WrapMicrowave-safe Food can be covered to stop splatters with wax paper or plastic wrap. Make sure the items are microwave-safe.

Frequently Asked Questions ( FAQs)

Can I use regular paper towels in the microwave?

To prevent potential fire threats or chemical releases, it is advised to use paper towels that may be used in a microwave.

Can paper towels catch fire in the microwave?

The paper towel may catch fire if it gets too dry or touches hot places.

Are all paper towels labeled as microwave-safe?

Not all paper towels can be used in a microwave. Look for special labeling stating that they can be used in a microwave.

What are the benefits of using paper towels in the microwave?

Paper towels can help limit steam release, stop splatters, and absorb extra moisture.

Are there safer alternatives to using paper towels in the microwave?

Yes, substitutes can safely cover or heat food in the microwave. These include containers, wax paper, plastic wrap, and microwave-safe coverings.


In conclusion, using paper towels in the microwave may be safe if specific safety measures are performed. Always keep paper towels damp and avoid anything metallic when using a microwave. 

When considering, Can you put a paper towel in the microwave? Remember that paper towels can efficiently absorb moisture, stop splatters, and help release steam when using a microwave. However, be aware of potential risks like fire hazards or chemical discharge, and if you have concerns, look into alternate options.

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