To begin with, forks, socks and grapes don’t belong in your microwave—unless you want a trip to your local appliance repair and service department.
Microwaves work by electromagnetic radiation hitting the water molecules in your food, making them wiggle with excitement, producing heat, but metals are a lot more solid than food. They often reflect the microwaves rather than absorbing them. The bouncing waves can damage the oven. Or metal objects like forks or metal filigree can build up electrons at their pointy bits and edges, which can cause mini-lightning shows of arcing energy.
To microwave or microwave not
So what can’t you microwave? Here’s a partial list of items that might send you off to the appliance repair and service department if you decide to zap them:
- Tin foil and utensils: Yes, all metal should be kept out of microwaves. Some manufacturers put foil around food to help it cook evenly, but you risk serious sparking if you do this yourself.
- Grapes: Grapes won’t become raisins. If the grapes split, they may spark and flame. Other fruits also run this risk.
- Eggs: If you try to get a hardboiled egg this way, it will probably explode. Not good. But you can get yourself a handy-dandy microwave-safe egg cooker and all should be fine.
- Fine china: You may not know it, but most fine china has metal in it. Also, its paint was not designed to handle such high temperatures and may crack or distort in the process.
- Sponges: Maybe you can disinfect a wet sponge with some nuking, but the smell won’t be nice. A dry sponge, or a wet one left in too long, may ignite.
- Socks, underwear and other non-food items: Don’t laugh, people will try to dry clothing in a microwave. A lot of what we wear are poor microwave absorbers and can catch fire. Always stick with food.
- Plastics: This is an item that can swing either way. While some plastic is touted as microwave safe, there are containers with toxins like BPA that can be released while being heated in a microwave. Do your research.
- Saucy food: OK, putting in saucy food isn’t dangerous, but don’t forget to cover the dish to avoid the dreaded splatter of sauce all over the interior of the oven.