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10 Things You Should Never Cook in the Microwave (With Videos of Each Mistake)

I have made many of these microwave mistakes myself, and lived to tell the tale.

1. Forks and Other Metal Kitchen Utensils

No metal should ever go inside the microwave. Some thick metals can withstand the electromagnetic waves, but thinner metal, like the tines of a fork, will heat up so fast they could start a fire.

The first thing you will notice inside your microwave are a couple of sparkles and blue electricity, very cool but dangerous. Just like in the following video, it might be hard to start a fire with a fork in the micro, but wherever the fork points touch, they will leave a burn mark. Watch.

2. Eggs

I read a raw egg in the microwave is as powerful as a Molotov bomb. I think this statement is an exaggeration, the egg probably explodes in a brutal way, but I doubt it causes your kitchen to ignite on fire. It should be really hot though to burn your skin, off course it all depends on the time you leave it in the microwave. The physics say that when the space between the egg yolk and the egg white grows hot it produces a high pressure explosion.

3. Aluminum Foil

Ever made the mistake of introducing food wrapped with aluminum paper in the microwave, just like you are used to doing in the oven? Aluminum foil is a thin metal and can cause a fire in a microwave. If you need something to cover your plate to avoid splashes, you can use an absorbent paper or a microwave-safe plate as a lid. It is a nice sparkly show in there if you ever tried this one.

4. Chili or Chiles

Using the microwave to heat chili is like applying pepper spray in a closet. Just the mention of this makes my eyes water. When chili pepper heats up, it releases capsaicin, a very volatile substance that permeates the environment, irritating the eyes and throat. Now you know an interesting prank for April Fools Day this year.

5. Old Plates and Tableware

Be extremely cautious with tableware that is hand-painted, since this type of crockery used to contain metal. My mother recently got out all the dishes she received as a gift on her wedding. She decided to replace her cheap ones with this more elegant collection. The rims of the plates are all made from a fine metal.

Whenever I heat a plate of food in the micro, blue thunder hits the plate and makes this “thong!” and “spack!” sound. The microwave could likely get damaged from this, but it always is kind of amazing to watch.

Dishes with gold, silver, or any metallic design don't belong in your microwave.

Dishes with gold, silver, or any metallic design don't belong in your microwave.

6. Grapes

Who heats grapes? Not only do they explode, but they can also light on fire one by one, provoking a larger fire if you open the microwave and they shoot out. This sounds like an exaggeration, but now you know grapes can turn into fireballs.

The Grape + Microwave Plasma Creation Myth

There is this online/youtube speculation that grapes heated in the microwave create a plasma cloud that moves around the microwave. Reading about it on physics.stackexchange.com though, it all seems to be a nice show, but no plasma.

To perform this you need to cut a grape in two-halves (just like in the video) with just a tiny piece of skin making a link. Place them inside a glass in the microwave and heat them. After some time a heat cloud surrounds the grape. Is this Plasma?

What is really happening is the grape´s size is right to act as an antenna that focusses the power in the middle. The skin joining the grape heats-up bursting. The colorful cloud is not plasma, but rather a flame created from highly-exited electrons.

Grape + Microwave = Plasma

7. Potatoes, aka "Ticking Time Bombs"

Potatoes have always been so communist. Socialist students in third world countries use them as bombs against the “repression.” In your microwave, they become a time bomb.

To heat potatoes in your micro, make some holes so heat can escape from inside. If you don't, after several minutes they can explode and ruin your kitchen and microwave.

8. Water

Really? Water? I know people who only use the microwave to heat water for their coffee. So why is water dangerous in the microwave?

In a tea kettle, water reaches 100° degrees celsius before it evaporates. That's when it produces that screeching sound and you say, “Excuse me gentlemen, I'm off to serve some tea.” In the microwave, though, water can reach 300° or 400° degrees so fast that there is no time for evaporation. When you open the microwave's door and that super-hot water makes contact with cold air from the kitchen, it will jump like a geyser over your face and hands, and even on your eyes, causing serious damage.

Mythbusters proved this kitchen myth to be true. Think twice the next time you are about to open the microwave door.

9. Carrots

Did you know carrots hold small levels of iron, magnesium, and selenium, which in the microwave can create a small fire? All of the mentioned substances are metals, and by now you know thin metals heat up faster than you think. When you place raw carrots in the micro, after a few seconds, they will generate a colorful spectacle of blue, red, and yellow sparks.

10. Alcohol

Does warmed-up alcohol taste better? If for whatever reason you are planning to create real mayhem with your microwave, then place some alcohol inside. Alcohol, like any liquor, is flammable. Your microwave could burst into flames. From all the previous “do-not-does,” this one you should REALLLY not do.

There is a lot of exploding alcohol videos on YouTube: some look massive, and others are more likely to be the real deal.

Wine In the Microwave Explosion

This second video with wine in microwave destroys the microwave, which seems unlikely to happen.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2013 David Trujillo Uribe

Comments

David Trujillo Uribe (author) from Medellin, Colombia on September 04, 2015:

If you watch Mr.Robot, a new hacker TV series, you´ll notice hackers use microwaves to bust their microships on the microwave when they believe their info is vulnerable. And their micro blows-up

David Trujillo Uribe (author) from Medellin, Colombia on February 06, 2014:

Baking potatoes on the log burner?

That sounds awesome. Wish I had one

Leni Sands from UK on February 05, 2014:

It is surprising what people put in the microwave - I usually start my baked potatoes in the microwave (stabbed appropriately) before wrapping them in foil and sitting them on top of the log burner to frazzle sufficiently long enough to make a wonderful supper. Nice post, voted up interesting,funny, awesome and useful.

David Trujillo Uribe (author) from Medellin, Colombia on January 02, 2014:

Chilli tends to burn very fast and then you get the sting on your eyes.

David Trujillo Uribe (author) from Medellin, Colombia on January 02, 2014:

thanks athurion

David Trujillo Uribe (author) from Medellin, Colombia on January 02, 2014:

Yeah, this suggestion take a lot of fun out of the microwave. I also didn´t expect potatoes on being more dangerous than metal things.

David Trujillo Uribe (author) from Medellin, Colombia on January 02, 2014:

Toads! ink pens could be interesting... hmmm

David Trujillo Uribe (author) from Medellin, Colombia on January 02, 2014:

My pleasure fiftyish

Great nickname by the way

David Trujillo Uribe (author) from Medellin, Colombia on January 02, 2014:

Yeah, we all have misplaced one thing or two in the microwave and looked sideways on those weird blue lighting stikes that spread out for a few seconds.

Dean Walsh from Birmingham, England on January 02, 2014:

Wow, great hub, I had no idea you couldn't microwave eggs or chilli.

athurion on January 02, 2014:

Voted up

Beth Eaglescliffe from UK on January 02, 2014:

Excellent advice and amazing videos. The husband and the exploding potato was the best one. I'll be scared to put anything in the microwave now.

Voted up.

Jayme Kinsey from Oklahoma on January 01, 2014:

This was fun to read. I have to say that I never considered heating up grapes, but I know better than to try it now!

I do have to add that it is absolutely a bad idea to microwave candles, toads and ink pens. I have never heated any of these, but have known people who did! If you think metal rimmed plates are interesting, you should see what a microwave oven looks like after someone gets the bright idea that nuking an ink pen will make it unclog.

Andy Aitch from UK & South East Asian Region on January 01, 2014:

LOL David :) I use the micro every day for heating up meals and reheating drinks, and I also make my second rate jacket spuds in them too (glad I've never forgotten to fork holes in them first!). But there were some good things in this hub that I probably would not have thought of, so thanks for filling we hubbers in on those ;)

Andy Aitch

CrisSp from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on January 01, 2014:

This is microwave 101! Great job in collecting info and filling them up with videos to support awareness.

Fascinating! Voting up and sharing.

Koralee Phillips from Vancouver British Columbia Canada on January 01, 2014:

Very interesting topic, and you did a great job writing it. I had no idea how dangerous heating stuff in the microwave can be. Although I have done a couple of them involving metal lol.

David Trujillo Uribe (author) from Medellin, Colombia on November 30, 2013:

I received these suggestion from a chain mail and thought it would make a great hub topic. I added videos of each event.

I´m guilty of introducing old-style plates with metal rims into the microwave. Some blue sparkles occur inside after a couple seconds.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on November 30, 2013:

A well advised hub on the things one should not cook in a microwave. You accomplished a helpful and useful hub on this topic.

David Trujillo Uribe (author) from Medellin, Colombia on November 19, 2013:

Thanks Tillsontian. It is true though, any of these mistakes can get you on 1,000 ways to die.

Mary Craig from New York on November 19, 2013:

So many people have been raised using microwaves that they are unaware of some of the dangers. This hub is a good warning.

Voted up, useful, and interesting.