Skip to Content

Can You Put Paper Towel In The Microwave?

Microwaves are an awesome modern convenience that makes accessing hot food far easier, especially for those with busy schedules and lives who just don’t have time to cook five-star gourmet meals every night!

However, for as common as microwaves are in American households, many people still have questions about how exactly they work, and how you can use them at their best while still keeping safe.

There are certain materials that are absolutely prohibited from being placed in microwaves, such as metals like aluminum foils, while other materials can be placed within just fine.

Can You Put Paper Towel In The Microwave?

However, there are still certain materials that are slightly more unclear on whether they can be placed in a microwave. These include certain fabrics, glass, or papers.

One question that gets asked commonly, in regard to microwave ovens, is whether paper towels can be placed within them safely. 

So let’s find out whether you can put paper towels into your microwave, and how you can know, for future reference, what can and cannot be put into your microwave safely!

Can You Put Paper Towels in the Microwave?

We were surprised at the answer to this, but in fact, yes, you can very safely place a paper towel into your microwave!

You can place your paper towel right into the microwave alongside whatever food you are heating up.

This is great for maintaining cleanliness, as you can place a paper towel around a certain food product to ensure that it does not spit all over the inner surface of the microwave! 

Why Can You Put Paper Towels in the Microwave?

This is largely because of the materials that are used to make up standard paper towels.

If you were to place a standard piece of paper into the microwave (which we strongly recommend against), you would find that the paper would quickly burn and shrivel up. 

Paper towels, unlike ordinary paper, have larger gaps between their molecules, which is how they are able to absorb water so effectively. These large gaps allow the microwaves that are bouncing around the oven to pass right through the paper, so it doesn’t even heat up.

In order for a microwave to heat something up, it needs to cause the molecules of that thing to vibrate, to create heat. A microwave cannot efficiently do this to a paper towel.

Microwaves are made to interact with water molecules, which is why they are used for heating up foods.

What Can You Not Place Into a Microwave?

There are a few things that you should make sure to never place into a microwave, for your own safety.

Keep in mind that microwaves operate by creating friction between molecules in your food, which causes heat to be generated deep within certain foods or drinks.

While non-harmful to consume microwaved food, it is still a form of radiation, which, used improperly, can prove dangerous.

One of the most important things to never place in your microwave oven is aluminum foil. Aluminum foil quickly burns away and creates lots of dangerous sparks to fly all over.

While it’s definitely interesting to witness, you should just settle for watching a YouTube video of the phenomenon, as it can be incredibly dangerous.

This is the material most commonly placed in a microwave, despite the danger, thanks to aluminum foil’s common use with food products. 

You should also try your best to avoid placing plastics into your microwave. Plastics contain all manner of chemicals that help them to keep their rigid shape and to be so versatile.

However, the quality of those materials can be compromised by the microwaving process, and you risk those materials seeping, in small amounts, into your food. This includes BPA, which can be incredibly harmful to your health if consumed too much.

This may come as a surprise, but it can also be very dangerous to operate your microwave with nothing placed inside of it. Remember that microwaves operate by causing the molecules in foods to vibrate, to generate heat.

If there is nowhere for the microwaves to go and do their job, then they will simply begin bouncing off of one another, which can be very dangerous for the overall mechanism.

You may even experience the combustion of your microwave oven, which would be incredibly dangerous. 

If you are ever unsure whether something can be placed into the microwave, stick with your gut.

If you are placing food into the microwave, make sure to put it into a glass container, to avoid placing any materials that aren’t microwave-safe into your microwave.

If you are ever unsure whether something is safe to put in the microwave, avoid placing it in there, so as to avoid otherwise preventable and disastrous accidents. 

Can You Put Paper Towel In The Microwave?

How Do You Avoid Your Microwave Becoming Messy?

A messy microwave can cause it to operate inefficiently, or even dangerously. Microwaves generally become messy when certain foods bubble and spit during the cooking process.

You can help to avoid your microwave becoming messy by covering the food during the cooking process. 

You can place a paper towel around your food, which will effectively mop up any spitting from your food.

Or, you can use a specially designed cover, which allows for the microwaves to seep in but doesn’t allow for splatters to reach the inner walls of the microwave.

In Conclusion

If you have food that you want to heat up in your microwave that happens to be wrapped in a paper towel, then you can place the paper towel alongside the food product!

This makes it nice and easy to keep the microwave clean while also keeping you safe. 

Frequently Asked Questions: 

Can You Put Paper Towel in the Air Fryer?

Although you can put paper towels into the microwave, you cannot put them into an air fryer. They will catch fire when placed into an air fryer.

Are Bounty Paper Towels Microwave Safe?

Yes, you can use Bounty Paper Towels in a microwave. However, you can use it only for a very short time for the purpose of heating food.

If you are using printed paper towels, then it is safest to use the unprinted side for wrapping food.

Are Paper Towels Flammable?

No, ordinary paper towels are not flammable. However, paper towels can catch fire when they have been used in combination with oil. Then the oil can catch fire and make the paper towel burn.

Jess Smith