Styrofoam is a foam plastic material popular for its insulation and is used for packing food and beverage. It’s quite common to receive food in Styrofoam containers when ordering from restaurants. Often after ordering food, you may find it cold and want to reheat. A simple solution is to microwave it.
Can you microwave Styrofoam? We will answer this question in a bit, but first, let’s understand what Styrofoam is.
What is Styrofoam?
Styrofoam is not a true plastic but is a type of polystyrene foam. It is typically made from a mixture of polystyrene and nitrogen, which is then molded into a shape and cooled. Styrofoam is popular due to its lightweight nature, affordable cost, and high resistance to heat and chemicals.
Can you Microwave Styrofoam?
Styrofoam melts when heated and releases small toxic particles harmful to the body. When the food cooks in a microwave, it heats from the inside. The heat from the food can burn the Styrofoam, which may set the microwave on fire.
How to Safely Microwave Food in a Styrofoam Container?
You should never heat food in a standard Styrofoam container. Some good quality microwave-safe Styrofoam containers pass the FDA standards for hygiene and consumption. This makes them convenient to use in a microwave.
The special Styrofoam consist of safer materials and fewer hazardous compounds. They are also relatively resistant to heat as compared to the standard Styrofoam. Another alternative is to use microwave-safe utensils that can heat the food without putting you or the food at risk.
How Long Can you Microwave Styrofoam?
You should never heat Styrofoam for more than 30 seconds. Anything more than that can result in accidents like a melted cup, broken bowl, spoiled food, and malfunctioning of the microwave. If you are looking to heat food in a Styrofoam bowl, go with heat-resistant, FDA-approved Styrofoam.
How Can You Tell if Styrofoam is Microwave Safe?
You can check the quality and compatibility of the product by looking at the packaging label. If the Styrofoam shows any visible signs of damage after the cooking, make sure to discard both the food and the container.
Alternate Ways to Heat Food if Styrofoam Doesn’t Work
- Using a microwave-safe container instead of Styrofoam is advisable if you are planning to heat in a microwave. Such containers are FDA-approved and pass all major levels of safety tests. Promoz microwavable food container, Rubbermaid food storage container, and Freshware Meal Prep Containers are microwave-safe containers that you can use to heat or cook your food safely
- Transfer the food to a ceramic, glass, or porcelain bowl as they are heat resistant and microwave safe. BestViewsReviews covers a list of the best dinnerware sets, where you can choose a stylish and safe dinner set for your house
- Create vents inside the Styrofoam cup to allow the air to pass through and not create pressure so that the food does not explode
- If you are reluctant about heating in a microwave, transfer the food from the Styrofoam cup to a pan and put it on top of the stove
Don’t microwave Styrofoam containers unless they are labeled microwave-safe. There is a risk of fire hazard, and Styrofoam containers often contain a compound called styrene, linked to cancer. You can reuse containers with a microwave-safe label for a short period.