Is Melamine Dinnerware Microwave Safe Here's Why
Kitchen Gadgets, Microwave

Is Melamine Dinnerware Microwave Safe? Here’s Why?

Melamine dinnerware is not microwave safe. Melamine is not the best material to put in the microwave. Stone also performs much better in the microwave than glass, ceramic, and both. Using melamine in the microwave is not one of its many benefits. You should be aware that most dishes now have markings on the bottom that indicate whether they should be used in the microwave or dishwasher.

If you work in commercial foodservice, we’ll explain why we advise against microwaving your melamine dinnerware as well as what will happen if you do. It’s true that everyone occasionally breaks the law.

What is Melamine?

It is made from the polymerization of melamine and formaldehyde and is a tough, thermosetting plastic substance. It is produced by mixing urea and has a mass nitrogen content of 67%. Since it releases nitrogen when burned, it has fire-retardant qualities. Additionally, it contains a pesticide called cyromazine. Whiteboards, melamine dishes, and floor tiles are other products made with it. The resin is extremely robust, heat-resistant, and fire-resistant. Given its versatility and stability, it can be shaped into many different shapes and, when warmed, painted with vibrant hues and patterns.

Is Melamine Dinnerware Microwave Safe?

It is resistant to heat and fire, as was previously stated. This means that if you’ve been using it in microwaves, it won’t burn or catch fire. It does, however, have the propensity to absorb heat and radiation. This raises the question of whether it is actually fit for use as cookware. The answer is NO, of course! This is because it has the propensity to absorb radiation and begins to decompose, making it extremely dangerous.

If it takes in too much heat, its structure will start to degrade, making it unstable and releasing bubbles. It cannot burn because of the nitrogen it contains. As a result, it simply decomposes into urea and cyromazine, its basic components. These two substances are both highly toxic and dangerous.

When ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin, melamine is dangerous, according to experts. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has discovered that when cyanuric acid and melamine enter the bloodstream, they combine to form crystals that can obstruct the renal tubes and cause damage to or even failure of the kidneys. In light of this, microwave heating is strongly discouraged!

Read about Is Stoneware Microwave Safe?

What Does Microwave Safe Mean?

We must acknowledge that different people interpret the term “microwave-safe” differently. An interesting set of findings came from a survey that the Good Housekeeping Research Institute (GHRI) conducted on this topic with 2,000 consumers. For some people, “microwave-safe” means that there is no chance of a dish exploding. Others took it to mean that chemicals wouldn’t contaminate their food.

The good news is that neither when used in a microwave nor afterward, melamine dinnerware doesn’t release chemicals. Furthermore, microwave use won’t cause it to blow up. In a commercial foodservice setting, we still advise against microwaving melamine dinnerware.

Who Microwaves Melamine Dinnerware?

Everybody. Well, not everybody, but in residential use, melamine dinnerware is often microwaved. You’ve probably microwaved melamine at home, too. But a residential kitchen is very different from a commercial kitchen.

While dishes in high-volume foodservice are rotated frequently, plateware at home is not rotated nearly as frequently. In contrast to their boisterous commercial counterparts, your home dishwasher and microwave are quite quiet. Home use and business use simply aren’t the same things, in essence.

It is entirely up to you whether you want to microwave your melamine dinnerware at home. We’ll explain what to anticipate if you decide to microwave it at your restaurant.

Read about Can You Microwave Parchment Paper? 

What Happens If You Microwave Melamine Dinnerware?

The fundamental element of melamine dinnerware is wood pulp. Melamine dinnerware will eventually dry out if it is frequently microwaved or generally exposed to temperatures above 160°F (regardless of the heat source). A tree that hasn’t received water in a long time comes to mind. It wouldn’t receive the proper watering, so its branches would be more fragile and prone to breaking.

When microwaved frequently or subjected to temperatures higher than 160°F, melamine dinnerware behaves very similarly. The thirsty material will eventually brown, become brittle and break, chip, or crack long before its normal service life should be up.

What Happens If You Microwave Melamine Dinnerware?
What Happens If You Microwave Melamine Dinnerware?

Why Do We Use Melamine?

It comes cheap and in a variety of colors, designs, and shapes. Microwaves were not yet a common fixture in our kitchens when they were first produced in the 1950s and 1960s. It was not used to heat food; rather, it was only used to serve dinner. It has undergone testing by the FDA and been determined to be risk-free for use. However, they have established some rules for its use. These guidelines state that

  • Feeding infants and young children on these dishes is not advised.
  • You should never heat food or drinks in a melamine dish, bowl, or cup.
  • You should never use melamine in microwave ovens until and unless it has been clearly marked ‘microwave safe’.

You don’t need to throw away your dinnerware now that you are aware of its safety. All you have to do is use caution when using them. Keep in mind that using this dinnerware is safe as long as nothing is heated in it. So, take pleasure in your dinner on your melamine plates and bowls. Just keep them away from your microwave, please.

Read about Can You Microwave Pyrex? 

Microwave Safe Plastic Plates

Some plastic plates can be heated in the microwave, but many of them usually cannot, especially if they are older. Find any words or symbols that are embossed by flipping the plate over. If the plate is safe to use in the microwave, it will say “microwave safe” on it or show a symbol featuring parallel rows of squiggly lines. Although the icon for microwave-safe dishes varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, the squiggly lines are a constant.

Other plastics, such as the majority of takeout containers, yogurt tubs, water bottles, and condiment containers, aren’t designed for use in a microwave. In the microwave, plastic wrap is also a bad idea. If you must cover your food to stop it from splattering, cover the plate with a paper towel draped loosely.

Alternatives to Melamine Dinnerware

Alternatives to Melamine Dinnerware
Alternatives to Melamine Dinnerware

Instead of using any type of melamine or plastic in the microwave, consider switching to bowls and plates made of ceramic or glass. Don’t reheat melamine dishes if you like to serve food on them; instead, save them for sandwiches or serving food. Look for microwave-safe symbols or wording when purchasing new kitchenware designed specifically for the microwave. These can be found on the bottom of each item or, if purchasing a set, on the packaging.

Even plastic marked “microwave safe” may develop problems in the future. More harmful chemicals are likely to leak into the food as the plastic is used and scratched more frequently. Older microwave-safe plastics should either be discarded or used for something else, like serving cold food. You can organize small, loose items in desk drawers or store craft and workbench supplies in old plastic containers.

Final Thoughts

Despite the fact that melamine has a lot of advantages, you shouldn’t microwave it because it can leach dangerous chemicals into food and deteriorate the dishes as well. Therefore, since you are aware of safety, you are not required to discard your dinnerware. Now all you have to do is make sure you use them carefully. As long as it is not heated, keep in mind that this tableware is safe to use. Enjoy your meal while using your melamine plates and bowls. Just keep in mind not to microwave them.

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