While microwaves are extremely popular nowadays, in spite of all the convenience they offer, there are still certain things you can and cannot put into them. For instance, there are various materials that are commonly used for packaging and holding food such as glass, paper, plastic, and even ceramic and metal.
Although they may come in handy, some of these materials contain chemicals in their coatings or makeup that become unstable when exposed to strong heat and can melt or send toxic substances into food when microwaved.
That’s why it is essential to know if the microwave can safely handle anything that you are unsure of before heating it up. This will not only prevent any hazardous chemical getting into food, but also a possible microwave emergency such as a fire.
Here we are going to focus on wax paper and how it reacts to being placed in the microwave, and answer the question, can you put wax paper in the microwave?
Is it Safe to Put Wax Paper in the Microwave?
There are certain items that shouldn’t be used in the microwave, however, wax paper isn’t one of them. Wax paper can safely be used in the microwave as long as it isn’t for an extreme amount of time. Even though it’s safe to do so, it’s recommended to check the packaging to verify that they are indeed microwave-safe.
However, you shouldn’t wrap foods with very fatty tissues or oily foods with wax paper. While the wax paper is normally invisible to the radiation from the microwave, this is because its particles are unable to absorb it. The result is that it doesn’t become hot right from the radiation, but instead takes its heat from food sources the radiation has heated.
Certain foods such as those containing fatty substances and those that are particularly oily can easily heat to temperatures well over 200 degrees F. This can lead to melting of the wax coating on the paper and may cause the paper underneath to catch fire.
Transparent Wax Paper
Microwaves work by discharging low energy radiation that is quickly taken in by certain foods and turned into heat used for cooking.
Under normal circumstances microwave radiation causes molecules to revolve and any molecule capable of taking in its energy will subsequently revolve and crash into other nearby molecules, making friction to create heat.
Fats, water, sugar, oils, and salt are common examples of substances found in food that are able to absorb the radiation sent out by a microwave and change the energy into heat. They are able to because their molecules meet the criteria necessary for microwave absorption.
When it comes to wax paper, however, that isn’t true and the paper appears to be invisible when in the microwave, allowing radiation to pass through it without a problem. Other similar materials are microwave air, glass, ceramics, plastics, ice, and parchment paper.
Can Wax Paper Transfer any Poisonous Chemicals Into Food?
Wax paper is made both bleached and unbleached. If a bleaching process using chlorine, is used on the unbleached paper, probably some minute amounts of hazardous chemicals have gotten into the ultimate product and can be transferred to food when it is being cooked. It’s been said that the number of dioxins that wind up in chlorine-bleached wax paper is negligible and has no negative health effects.
On the other hand, the World Health Organization states that dioxins are very persistent and greatly toxic chemicals, and can cling to fatty substances for 7-11 years. This seems to indicate that the minute levels left in food after being prepared can possibly add up to toxic levels with the passage of time.
So take the cautious approach and eliminate all paper products that are chlorine-bleached from your life.
The coating on wax paper itself is not harmful because it is made from food-grade wax.
Keep Wax Paper Safe in the Microwave
1. Use the Wax Paper as a lid
Wax paper is the safest when acting as a lid to keep microwave messes from happening. It scarcely has comes near the food so the chances of melting or burning are reduced to almost nil.
However, that isn’t to say that wax paper cannot be used for wrapping foods for cooking in a microwave. You just have to wrap the right type of food for the right situation.
Foods that are water-based, such as steak, garlic, and fruits, at normal microwaving conditions, won’t heat up wax paper to the danger level. Foods that contain the average amount of fats or oils are also okay to wrap in wax paper.
Just keep in mind that large quantities of oils, fats, or salt can melt the wax coating and get it into the food. The ideal substitute for wax paper in this case is parchment paper, which is treated to enable it to handle temperatures up to 450 degrees F.
2. Buy a Reliable Brand of Wax Paper
The better quality the wax paper is the better it will work in the microwave. Cheaper brands may not provide enough support and stability depending on the time and temperature it’s used at.
The important thing is to find the best brand for what you plan to use it for, that way you can feel certain that you are wrapping your food in the best.
3. Don’t Microwave Wax Paper for Long Periods
Even though wax paper is safe to use in the microwave, the wax material can melt if you leave it in for too long. If the product starts to melt it can ruin whatever food you were reheating as well as cause some problems and possible damage to the microwave.
When Can Wax Paper Be Used in a Microwave?
You can put wax paper on these things in a microwave.
1. Reheat Leftovers
Cover a microwave-safe container with wax paper to keep contamination and splattering from occurring.
2. Use as a Pouch
You can further turn wax paper into a type of pouch for cooking such foods as potatoes, corn, salmon, vegetables, garlic, banana bread, etc.
3. Plate Liner
Wax paper can be used to line a plate when you are cooking particularly greasy foods like bacon.
4. Pan Liner
Wax paper can further be used to line a pan for baking bread and cakes in the microwave.
5. Cover Defrosting Food
Wax paper can be used to cover foods defrosting in the microwave to make sure they heat evenly.
Can wax paper be microwaved? The bottom line is that it’s usually safe to put wax paper in the microwave. You don’t have to be afraid to use wax paper in your microwave as long as you do it with a little bit of common sense. Nothing is foolproof, but if you pay attention to what you are doing, follow the advice given above, and keep an eye on things, you should have no problems.