The convenience of a microwave has made it a popular appliance in most households and offices.
The winter, especially, can make you microwave a water bottle without considering the risk involved. You therefore need to understand the properties of your water bottle before you microwave it.
Can you microwave a water bottle? Our informative write-up today will focus on the tips and precautions of microwaving plastic water bottles.
Can You Microwave A Plastic Water Bottle?
Never microwave a plastic water bottle unless it has a microwave-safe label attached to it.
90% of the plastic water bottles floating in the market do not comply with the stipulated microwave safety standards. They contain BPA, a lethal chemical compound, which melts when heated.
The BPA containing plastic bottles are generally cheap and less durable and are considered as ‘use and dispose’ containers.
Stainless steel and aluminum water bottles, however durable, are microwave unsafe just as most plastic water bottles.
Microwave-safe plastic bottle contains recycling code numbers #1 to #5. The safest code is #5.
Some plastics have 3 wavy lines at the bottom indicating that they are BPA-free. However, a plastic can be BPA free but still contain some harmful elements.
A microwave-safe plastic water bottle can withstand high temperatures without melting.
Glass water bottles, however fragile, are the most ideal water bottles for microwave use.
Is It Safe To Microwave A Plastic Water Bottle?
No. Do not microwave a plastic water bottle unless it has the FDA safety symbol.
It is very risky to heat a plastic water bottle since the material will melt and contaminate the water. The chemical compounds can cause health complications such as hormone disruption, asthma and in worst cases, cancer.
Even microwave-safe water bottles should be microwaved under moderate temperatures for a maximum of two minutes.
There are instances when you heat water in a plastic bottle for other purposes besides drinking. Like the case of women who heat water in the microwave to nurse their menstrual cramps.
If the water in the bottle is not for drinking, you can microwave the plastic water bottle with a lot of moderation though the water might not get as warm as desired.
Low or medium heat should be applied and the time set to minimum so that the bottle won’t melt.
You must also nuke the bottle for 15-30 seconds to prevent it from melting; steam build-up could deform the bottle or cause an explosion.
How Long Can You Microwave A Water Bottle?
There’s no standard microwave time for heating plastic bottles. It varies from one appliance to another depending on the wattage.
Plastics tend to melt faster in high power wattage appliances and can stay longer in low power wattage appliances. Therefore, the more powerful the wattage the less heating time and vice versa.
Normally, a water bottle can be microwaved for minutes at low wattage and 2 minutes at 700 watts power.
A genuine microwave-safe plastic water bottle can withstand microwave heat for 240hrs while left at a medium (50%) power level.
How Do You Microwave A Plastic Water Bottle?
You must be cautious if you insist on heating the water bottle in the microwave.
Follow this step-by-step guide while heating water in a microwave:
- Put water in the water bottle to your desired level. Remember to cap off the lid to avoid explosions from steam pressure.
- Put the water bottle in the microwave. You can’t run an empty microwave coz your intention was to warm the liquid content of the plastic water bottle.
- Set your microwave to the lowest temperatures. Even the microwave safe plastics tend to melt when exposed to high temperatures.
- Set the microwave timer to 5 mins and turn on the appliance. Microwave the bottle at an interval of 15 seconds to the heating progress.
- Once the microwave stops, use a piece of cloth to remove the water bottle from the microwave. Allow the hot water bottle to rest for some minutes.
- Shake it well to ensure even distribution of heat in the water. Some walls of the bottles are thick and do not allow heat to penetrate while thus allowing more microwaves to heat the liquid resulting in uneven hot and cold spots.
Why Is It Risky To Microwave A Water Bottle?
These reasons will make you consider an alternative method to heat your water over microwave use:
- Melted plastics leach harmful chemical compounds into the drinking water causing health hazards such as cancer and asthma.
- Pressure build up from hot water can cause an explosion.
- Overheated water can deform the plastic bottle. The deformed bottle may not hold the initial amount of water resulting in an eruption as water moves out to seek more space.
- The water might get unevenly heated and this could cause serious burns in the mouth and throat as you drink.
Safety Tips For Microwaving Plastic Water Bottles
The following are the recommended safety tips that will minimize the risk exposure when you microwave a plastic water bottle.
- Choose a microwave- proof water bottle preferably with a #5 recycling code.
- Follow the manufacturer’s microwaving guidelines to the latter.
- Make sure there is water in the plastic bottle before throwing it into the microwave. An empty bottle will melt even before the microwave timer goes off.
- Set the microwave temperatures to the lowest or medium. Even the microwave safe plastics melt under high temperatures.
- Heat the water bottle for a maximum of 5 minutes. Keep checking the condition of the water bottle in the course of heating.
- Remove the bottle tops to avoid steam build-up which could cause an explosion.
- Shake the water bottle once you finish heating to ensure that the heat is distributed evenly.
- Let the water bottle rest for some time before drinking it boiled water.
The above safety tips do not guarantee 100% safety since all plastics exhibit some sort of risk when exposed to heat. You are best advised to empty your consumable liquids into safe ceramic containers before you heat them in the microwave.
Also, do not heat the plastic water bottle in the microwave severally.
To Sum it Up
Microwaving plastic bottles with consumable water is a health hazard and therefore not recommended.
There’s no perfect plastic for microwaving. You are advised to transfer your drinking water into a safe ceramic cup before you heat it in the microwave.
However, you can use a microwave-safe water bottle and proceed with absolute caution if you must heat water in the microwave.