Skip to Content

Can You Microwave Paper Towels?

Sharing is caring!

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

Microwaves are one of the fastest and most efficient cooking tools in the kitchen. It is fairly common to use a paper towel to line a dish or cover food to prevent splatter, so it seems straight forward to simply shove a piece of paper towel in the microwave without hesitation.

Can you microwave paper towels? Yes, it is safe to microwave paper towels, but one must be careful doing it. Paper products do not contain very much moisture, therefore they can scorch or burn around the edges when extensively overheated in the microwave. 

For tips to safely microwave paper towels, continue reading the methods and techniques shared below.

Is it safe to microwave paper towels?

Yes, it is perfectly safe to use paper towels in the microwave, however you should use caution when doing so. Paper towels are adequate for microwaves keeping in mind their minimal water content. 

Having a less moisture can cause the paper towel to burn inside the microwave. As moisture evaporates, the paper dries out which can inevitably lead to fire when excessively overheated.

Though they are safe to be used in microwaves one must always be cautious of the content in the paper towel. Some recycled paper towels consist of materials that have possibilities of creating a spark when heated in a microwave. 

At other times, there is also a chance of the spark igniting due to some other things put along with the recycled paper towel in the microwave. 

Though most paper towel brands available in the market are safe to use in microwaves, one must always check the paper towel contents and manufacture’s guidelines before proceeding.

Can you microwave a paper towel?

Can a paper towel in microwave catch fire?

There is a chance that paper towels can catch fire in the microwave for several reasons. Even bleached paper towels that are pure white can catch fire in the microwave if heated for long durations. 

Paper towels catch fire when they are folded and then put inside the microwave. When a paper towel is left open in the microwave there are fewer chances of it catching fire. 

The reason being that when the microwave starts heating it send electromagnetic energy that vibrates the water molecules present in the food or drinks. 

When a paper towel is in a flat position, the heat escapes from it. However, when the paper towel is folded the heat gets accumulated inside and there is a higher chances of the paper towel traps excessive heat that can lead to igniting a fire.

Are Bounty paper towels microwave safe?

Bounty paper towels are safe for use in microwaves, but it is advised to not use the paper product for extended amounts of heating. 

Bounty is a very renowned name brand in the paper towel industry, and the toweled are made from virgin wood pulp and consist of no water in them.

They have a very good absorbing power and can be used for cleaning purposes apart from microwave use. 

Although there are no incidents of this quality paper catching fire, heating anything in the microwave for a long duration can be dangerous and must be avoided. Therefore, Bounty paper towels should be used in the microwave for a short duration to avoid any mishaps.

Can you microwave paper towels safely?

Yes, almost all paper towels are safe to be used in the microwave. Paper towels are generally used in microwaves to cover food items or as a plate liner to absorb excess moisture. 

If the paper towel is printed, make sure to keep the printed side away from the food. 

Furthermore, paper towels should not be folded when used in the microwave as there are chances of spark arising from them. Keep the paper towel flat on the cookware or open as a covering over the food when inserting the dish inside the microwave. 

Bounty brand paper towels are good choice for microwaving as it multi layered, durable and has low moisture level which prevent the towel from catching fire very easily inside the microwave.

Why put paper towel over food in microwave?

Paper towels are put over food in the microwave to prevent splatter with vented cover that will trap steam and provide even heating temperature. When using a cover, the food heats up quickly and more efficiently.

The paper towel covering allows for steam to escape which is good as there are very few chances of the food and the paper towel to catch fire. Secondly, using paper towels restrains the food from coming into direct contact with the microwave. 

Paper towels when kept above the food keep the food covered and splatter free. It is advised to always make sure the paper towel is safe to be used in microwaves before using one. 

Several paper towels are recycled and may contain tiny particles of metal which are not advised to be used in a microwave. Only paper towels that are purely made for the use in the microwave like the Bounty paper towels are recommended for microwave use.

How long can you microwave paper towel?

Paper towels should not be microwaved by themself without any food to absorb the electromagnetic energy. Although they can be nuked for a longtime, there is a potential risk for the paper to ignite and catch fire.

Well, anything heated for too long inside a microwave might have adverse effects and it is not advised to do so. Paper towels can be microwaved for quite a long time depending on the food that you are heating. 

Food items such as soup will require stirring and food items such as bacon will require flipping or rotating to heat the food evenly. Depending upon the microwaving technique, paper towels can be used for at least half an hour inside the microwave without causing any issue. 

Make sure to keep the paper towel open rather than folding it. In the folded position, the heat generated is not able to escape resulting in a potential fire risk.

How do you microwave paper towel?

The procedure to use a paper towel in a microwave is very straightforward. There are simple things that have to be kept in mind before using paper towels in a microwave. 

Recycled paper towels should not be used as they may contain tiny metal components that might ignite if heated for long periods of time. 

Paper towels should not be used folded in microwaves as there are chances of the heat getting accumulated inside the paper resulting in a spark or fire. Paper towels should be always be used unfolded inside the microwave for best results.

Paper towels come with manufacturer guidelines and and it is essential to ascertain from the given instructions whether the paper towel is safe for use in microwaves or not. 

Tips to Microwave Paper Towels:

Paper towels are not always safe to be used in the microwave and do present potential risks and hazards. Below mentioned are some of the tips for using paper towels in the microwave:

  • Always use an unfolded paper towel for the best results. Folded paper towels can ignite fire due to the compressed heat inside the compact material.
  • Not all paper towels are safe to be used in the microwave. Read manufacturer recommendations carefully provided in the packaging before using just any paper towel.
  • Do not use recycled paper towels. Recycled paper products may contain elements of metal that can cause a fire inside the microwave.
  • Use the paper towel as a flat covering above or below the food. Always keep the paper towel above the food item in an unfolded position.
  • Keep the printed side away from food items. Keeping it away helps to prevent the food from the ink materials used in the paper towel if the paper towel is decorated with printed designs.

Microwaving Paper Towels: Final Thoughts

Paper towels are safe to use in the microwave as long as you follow a few simple precautions. The paper towel should be used a simple covering over food or on top of a plate to provide splatter free cleanup, a vented lid to trap steam and also promote even cooking.

Paper towels should never be folded as this presents a potential fire risk. The layers can trap excessive amounts of heat that could potentially ignite a fire.

Although paper towels can withstand being microwaved, they should only be heated with food and not alone by themself. When heated with food, stick to nuking a few minutes at a time to avoid the risk of the paper towel drying out too much.

Always verify that the paper towel is labeled as microwave safe before proceeding. Following a few simple guidelines will help you make sure that you stay safe and that food doesn’t become cross contaminated with avoidable hazards.