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Can You Microwave Rubbermaid?

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Rubbermaid is a household brand name that offers lines of food storage containers made from plastic that are commonly used to store and microwave food. These inexpensive and lightweight food safe containers are claimed to be microwave safe, but are they really?

Can you microwave Rubbermaid containers? According to the manufacturer, you can use Rubbermaid containers for food storage as well as defrosting and reheating food in a microwave. 

Although this is a common point of contention, there are differences of opinion as to the safety of microwaving plastic. The chemical compound has a lower heat tolerance compared to glass or ceramic dish ware, therefore it has the potential to melt a leach harmful substances into our food.

A topic of much debate is the overall safety of plastics. Large brand name manufacturers like GladWare, Ziploc and Tupperware use marketing strategies to elude reasonable concerns over the safety of their containers, however I continue to remain doubtful about the durability of plastics when met with extreme heating.

The information provided in this write-up will help you understand whether or not you can microwave Rubbermaid safely. Answered below are frequently asked questions about using Rubbermaid containers in the microwave, and the best way to safely microwave Rubbermaid.

Is Rubbermaid safe for microwave?

Yes, it is safe to microwave Rubbermaid. However, you will have to microwave the containers correctly to be safe for food.

All types of plastics are not the same, but plastic containers made of BPA free plastic are considered safe to use in a microwave. Since 2009 Rubbermaid is manufacturing a wide range of microwave safe containers made from BPA-free materials, however they must be microwaved following the guidelines recommended by the manufacturer.

Even if Rubbermaid containers are safe for microwave use, they should not be heated to temperatures higher than 212 degrees F, the boiling temperature of water. At higher temperatures, the plastic containers may not be able to ensure the safety of your food.

The microwave-safe label on the plastic container guarantees food safety when heated in the microwave according to manufacturer’s guidelines. If you microwave Rubbermaid at higher temperatures then they can melt, crack or deform as well as release plasticizers that can increase the risk of severe diseases like cancer.

Rubbermaid has thoroughly tested their containers to determine which ones are considered microwave safe. In fact, they state that it is safe to microwave food in Rubbermaid containers that are designed for use in the microwave.

Can Rubbermaid plastic go in the microwave?

Yes, Rubbermaid plastic containers that are labeled as microwave safe can go in microwave. Since 2009, Rubbermaid has manufactured BPA free plastic for their food storage containers.

Do Rubbermaid products contain BPA? Rubbermaid does not sell products that contain BPA. They have made an erect effort to remove BPA from the formulations.

Can I put a plastic container in the microwave? Yes, you can put a plastic container in the microwave if it is made of BPA free microwave-safe plastic. If the plastic container is not microwave safe, then it can be hazardous for your health.

It is claimed that when a plastic container or plastic wrap is used to heat food in the microwave, then potential harmful chemicals from the container can leach into the food posing increased risk of health concerns.

As a result, the food can absorb the compounds used in making plastics flexible, known as plasticizers. According to many people, microwaving oily, fatty or sugar rich foods in plastic containers at high temperatures can be a matter of great concern. 

In fact, Rubbermaid explicitly warns against microwaving high fat or sugar foods in their plastic containers. Therefore, it is not safe to use Rubbermaid plastic containers in a microwave for heating all food items.

A microwave safe label is the initial indication when you know that a plastic container is microwave safe. However, you will have to microwave Rubbermaid correctly according the manufacturer recommendations. 

While microwaving Rubbermaid plastic containers, they should not be microwaved at high temperatures. Rubbermaid containers are microwave safe up to the temperature of boiling water, 212 degrees Fahrenheit. They can warp, deform or melt at temperatures exceeding boiling point of water.

According to the manufacturer, Rubbermaid containers are safe to reheat foods in the microwave. Therefore, the plastic containers are not intended to use for cooking purposes.

And steaming is out of the question. The heat transfer rate of steam is 7 times higher than that of direct heat, which means that steam is significantly hotter than the boiling point of water and may jeopardize the integrity of the Rubbermaid plastic containers. 

Rubbermaid microwave safe symbol

A logo of waves inside a microwave, #5 inside a triangle or the words ‘microwave-safe’ on the bottom of a Rubbermaid container is the symbol used for showing that Rubbermaid containers are microwave-safe.

How to know if your plastic container is microwave-safe? To know whether your plastic container is microwave-safe or not you will have to check its label or the bottom of the receptacle.

The microwave-safe logo should be printed on the label of the plastic container if it is safe for heating foods in a microwave. A symbol of microwave can also be imprinted on the label of the product to use it safely in the microwave. 

You can also check the underside of the container to find logo of microwave-safe’ or symbol of microwave to be sure about the safety of food when heating it in the microwave.

In some cases squiggly lines on the plastic containers also indicate that it is safe in the microwave. This symbol can also be used variably along with other symbols including the image of a dish set below radiation waves or a microwave to show that a plastic container is microwave safe.

These microwave safe symbols can be used variably on different Rubbermaid plastic container products. Either of the symbols offer the approval that the Rubbermaid container is safe to be used in the microwave oven for reheating purposes only.

Can you microwave Rubbermaid lids?

Yes, you can microwave Rubbermaid lids. Lift the lid slightly to provide ventilation to the container so that steam can vent from the container while nuking. 

Remove the Rubbermaid lids carefully after microwaving as steam can escape rapidly and cause a serious burn concern. A few lines of Rubbermaid products offer a vented lid option that alleviates the steam pressure concern.

When you microwave a Rubbermaid container you should either use it without its lid or slightly lift up the corner of the lid to provide some ventilation to the container. While microwaving, it will help to release the pressure built-up inside the container otherwise it will pop off the lid and potentially explode the food. 

It can mess up the entire meal prep and microwave cleaning is really not pleasant when food has splattered all over the interior of the microwave.

Things to know before microwaving Rubbermaid containers

It is not safe to just toss a Rubbermaid container into the microwave on high setting. Follow the manufacture’s recommendations for safe use of Rubbermaid containers in the microwave.

Before microwaving Rubbermaid containers, here are a few things to consider:

  • Rubbermaid containers are safe in microwave if they are used correctly.
  • Check the label or the bottom of the plastic container to find a microwave-safe symbol. The symbol verifies that you can reuse the plastic containers for microwaving foods.
  • Rubbermaid containers should not be heated at high temperatures. 
  • At high temperatures, Rubbermaid containers may not be able to keep food safe as it may melt, warp or deteriorate causing concern over harmful chemicals being leached into the food.
  • The ideal temperature to reheat food in a Rubbermaid container, or microwave-safe plastic container of any brand, is up to the boiling point of water, 100°C or 212°F.
  • Cover a Rubbermaid container with its microwavable lid while nuking, but leave it slightly lifted to provide ventilation. Otherwise the pressure built-up inside the container can pop off the lid and potentially splatter food on the inside of the appliance.
Can you microwave Rubbermaid

Microwaving Rubbermaid: Conclusion

If your past experiences microwaving Rubbermaid containers has produced successful outcomes, then it is easy to continue following the exact same path. Even though all Rubbermaid containers are BPA-free and “microwave safe,” there are important manufacturer recommendations on the label that are worthwhile to review.

When diving deeper into the subject, I prefer ceramic and glass microwave safe containers to be as a much better substitute instead of microwave Rubbermaid containers.

Furthermore, covered food heats up more effectively and traps moisture to prevent food from drying out. A microwave food cover speeds up cooking, defrosting and reheating by trapping steam and evenly distributing heat throughout the food.

Although all Rubbermaid containers are BPA-free, the manufacturer has provided general guidelines on the packaging. The instructions should be followed when you microwave Rubbermaid containers:

  • Defrost and reheat only 
  • Vent container in microwave
  • Use medium to low heat
  • Intervals of 1-minute or less
  • Do not overheat contents
  • Do not heat food high in oil, fat, sugar or tomato sauce. 
  • Do not overfill container
  • Do not microwave empty containers.

Although Rubbermaid containers are reusable, old Rubbermaid container made contain BPA if they are older than 2009. 

Additionally, I do not recommend microwaving old Rubbermaid containers that have been microwaved to a large degree. There is defined life expectancy for Rubbermaid containers, but overextending the usage puts food at risk of toxic release from deteriorating plastics.

If the container has outlived its lifespan, maybe it’s time to use it for other purposes rather than food storage and microwaving.

When it comes to the cooking and food storage products, it’s important to understand the functionality, efficiency and misuses of kitchen products.

If you are satisfied using microwave Rubbermaid containers, then adhere to the best practices and continue along with nothing to really worry about. However, if you have hesitations about the safety of heating plastic containers in a microwave, then it may be time to convert to ceramic or glass to navigate around using plastic in the microwave.