Everyone knows what kind of dishes can and cannot go in the microwave, or do we? There are a lot of different materials that can find their way into your microwave, like wood, for example. The last thing that you want to do is ruin any dishes or your appliance. Making sure that you don't possibly hurt yourself or your kitchenware is exactly why we have looked into whether or not you can place wood in the microwave!
No, you should not place wood in the microwave! There are a couple of major reasons why placing a wooden dish or utensil in the microwave is not a good idea: your safety and the potential damage to the dish, utensil, or appliance.
It's easy to think that as long as something doesn't have any metal and it's not going to melt that it can go in the microwave. Unfortunately, different materials react differently to a microwave's heat. To make sure that you're doing everything that you can to prevent a problem for your dishes, microwave, and yourself, keep reading down below!
Everything Surrounding Microwaving Wood
Placing wood in the microwave won't immediately cause a problem. It's not like metal. It's not going to cause sparks or a quick and alarming issue.
The fact that the consequences of microwaving wood aren't immediate is all the more concerning. That stops you from noticing the problem and stopping it right away, so the damage can easily be done before you even know it's happening.
What Happens To Wood In The Microwave?
All wood naturally has some amount of moisture inside of it. This is true for wooden dishes, whether they are homemade or commercially made. What happens in the microwave is that this moisture heats, expands, and then evaporates from inside of the wood. Once the moisture is gone from the wood, it will start to burn from the inside out.
Two main ways microwaving wooden dishes and utensils might affect your safety. The first is how hot they get in the microwave. Ceramic and glass get hot in the microwave, but not as quickly as wood does. This is because of how it reacts to the way that microwaves warm up food.
This also has to do with the moisture inside of the wood. Even if the dish was only heated for a short amount of time, be careful when you go to handle it.
The second possible safety issue involves toxic fumes. There are a lot of different types of wood and a lot of different finishes that can be used to make dishes and utensils. Some of them can release toxic fumes. This can easily happen if the bowl maker isn't aware of these possible fumes before they heat it.
You Can Easily Damage Your Dishes And Utensils
Above, we mentioned that the water will eventually evaporate from a wooden object when it's heated. Because of water evaporation, the wood dries out and shrinks when it cools down.
This process can damage your wooden dishes and utensils. It can lead to cracking and warping of the object and eventually make it unusable and unsightly.
If the wood dish is dried out enough and heats up for long enough, it can eventually catch fire. It will start gradually by smoking since this happens from the inside. This will not only obviously ruin the dish but also cause a huge safety risk.
Can You Microwave Wooden Ikea Bowls?
You cannot microwave Ikea's wooden or bamboo bowls. In fact, Ikea's care information for their wooden bowls states that they are not microwave-safe. The wooden and bamboo bowls are highly flammable in microwave conditions.
Can You Put A Wood Cutting Board In The Microwave?
Wooden cutting boards are also not fit to be microwaved. They are very prone to warping and cracking and create the same safety risks outlined above.
Some recommend putting wooden cutting boards in microwaves for very short spurts to kill off bacteria. Others argue that while the bacteria might be killed, this will also damage your cutting board and possibly lead to a fire.
Are Any Wood Dishes Microwave-safe?
There is no type of wood dish or utensil that can guarantee safety to microwave it. You should even be wary of wood dishes that state that they are microwave safe. If it is real wood, it has a real chance of creating all of these negative side effects in the microwave.
How Do I Know If My Utensil Is Microwave-safe?
The universal way to know this is by the microwave-safe mark on the utensil and its packaging. However, sometimes products do claim to be microwave-safe when that's not necessarily true for long-term use.
That's why it's important to research how different materials react in the microwave. You can also lookup the specific product in question to learn in detail how it reacts to being microwaved, short and long-term.
What Happens If You Microwave Bamboo?
Microwaving bamboo has the same effects that microwaving wood does. The bamboo fibers can easily be damaged, cracked, and warped from the heat of the microwave. Bamboo is slightly more prone to catching fire in the microwave than wood because of the differences in moisture content. However, that is only with long-term exposure to extreme heat.
Best Care Practices For Wood Dishes And Utensils
After establishing that microwaving wooden dishes and utensils can harm them, knowing what practices can help keep them in the best shape is good. These include seasoning them, washing them properly, and only having them around heat in the appropriate ways.
Season Your Wood Dishes
If you made a wood dish yourself or it came unseasoned, you want to make sure to season it every few months. The process of seasoning with wood involves food-grade mineral oil.
When the dish is completely dry, use a cloth or brush to cover it in a layer of oil. This acts as a layer of protection against all of the things that can harm it, like moisture and heat.
How To Wash Wood Dishes And Utensils
The best way to wash your wood kitchenware is by hand. You should never place them in the dishwasher. The prolonged exposure to heat and moisture that they experience in the dishwasher leads to drying out, cracking, and warping. Use gentle dish soap and warm water to clean the dish or bowl.
Avoid letting the wood dishes and utensils sit in water. This can also lead to drying them out and the problems that follow that. You should also avoid scrubbing them too intensely as that can damage the seasoning process to protect the dish from moisture.
Can Wood Dishes And Utensils Be Around Heat?
These wood items are actually great at holding heat, just not being heated themselves. Wood dishes can hold hot food great, and they won't get as hot as ceramic dishes do. Just make sure that the food is heated in different microwave-safe dishes first!
Utensils can also handle the heat well as long as they are not exposed to it for too long. You don't want to leave a wooden spoon submerged in a pot of boiling water any longer than you have to.
When it comes to putting a dish in the microwave, you should choose one not made of wood. Wood will not immediately cause a problem in the microwave, so it's easy to think that it's fine at first. However, eventually, it can easily lead to the dish being ruined.
Not only that, but it can also lead to several safety issues. To keep your wood dishes and utensils around for as long as possible, you should follow the best care practices for them!
To learn more about the best ways to use wood in your kitchen click on the links below!