Can You Put Paper Towels In The Microwave?

Paper towels are a must-have in every kitchen. You can use them to wipe off spills and to cover food too.

Since microwaving food is now popular, many veteran users keep asking, ‘can you put paper towels in the microwave if you use them to cover food?’’

Read to the end and see what our experts have to say.

Can You Put Paper Towels In The Microwave?

Yes. You can safely put paper towels in the microwave, whether you use them to line a microwave-safe plate or to cover food to avoid splattering or ensure even heating.

Modern paper towels are microwave-safe, unlike most traditional paper towels, which contain metal particles that are unsafe for microwaving.

Only paper towels with a microwave-safe symbol were safe for microwaving in the 1990s.

Covering food, especially oily foods, leaves your microwave clean.

Wet paper towels are more effective than dry paper towels since they trap heat that allows food to heat evenly.

Wrapping a microwave-safe plate with a paper towel makes it easier to clean it after reheating greasy food.

Is It Safe To Microwave Paper Towels?

Yes. Most paper towel brands are safe for microwave use unless otherwise stated by the manufacturer.

However, if a paper towel has ink prints, ensure the printed side faces up; otherwise, the ink will soak into your food and leach harmful chemical compounds.

 Microwaving paper towel becomes unsafe only if:

  • You prolong the reheating process beyond 5 minutes.
  • You use creased or folded paper towels.
  • You use recycled paper towels.
  • You stack more than 4 paper towels.
  • The paper towel has metal particles.

Most paper towels are microwave-safe, but looking for a microwave-safe symbol on their packaging is always safer.

How to Microwave Paper Towels Safely

Here is a simple guide for microwaving paper towels safely:

  • Look for a microwave-safe symbol to confirm the paper towels are microwave-safe.
  • Once you cover your food, splash some water on the paper towel to make it damp .
  • Set your microwave appliance or low or medium power.
  • Run the oven for 5 minutes at intervals of 2 minutes to avoid drying off the paper towels.
  • Alternatively, you can check the manufacturer’s instructions on microwaving paper towels.

Are Bounty Paper Towels Safe For Microwaving?

The manufacturers of bounty paper towels confirm on their website (Bounty’s website) that their product is safe for microwaving safe.

They also advise their clients to spread the power towels so that the side with ink faces up, so the ink doesn’t dissolve into their food.

Monitor the process and pause the microwave at intervals to regulate the oven’s heat; otherwise, you will burn bounty towel edges.

Why Put A Paper Towel Over Food In The Microwave?

You need to cover your food with a paper towel when reheating it in the microwave because:

  • Paper towels prevent greasy food from splattering and messing with your microwave oven.
  • Paper towels protect food from direct microwave heat that causes food to dry on the outside.
  • A wet paper towel produces steam that aids in reheating food.
  • A wet paper towel also traps moisture, ensures even reheating, and moistures the food.

Why is a wet paper towel more effective when microwaving?

Here are the reasons to choose a wet paper towel over a dry one:

  • A wet paper towel can withstand more heat without catching fire.
  • It traps heat, thus speeding up the reheating food process and ensuring even heating.
  • A wet paper towel will stick to the food or plate without falling off.
  • Unlike a dry towel, a wet paper towel doesn’t absorb much food moisture; hence food doesn’t dry off.
  • A wet paper towel steams food when heated.

Tips for Microwaving Paper Towels

Here are the must-do things to ensure safety when microwaving paper towels:

  • Microwave paper towels at 2 minutes intervals to reduce the chances of overheating and further catching fire.
  • Microwave paper towel on low to medium heat.
  • Use a damp paper towel to cover food to ensure even heating.
  • Spread the paper towels without folding them.
  • Don’t stack or wrap a single bowl with several paper towels.
  • Paper towels are meant for use and disposal; don’t microwave recycled paper towels. Creases on used paper towels will trap heat and burn.
  • Don’t microwave printed paper towels, brown paper bags, and paper lids.
  • You must let a paper towel sit for some minutes after microwaving; otherwise, soaked hot liquids will burn your hands.
  • If you intend to use paper towels as underliners, ensure the plate you are lining is microwave-safe.
  • If a paper towel is labeled microwave-safe but has ink prints, ensure the printed side faces up to avoid contaminating your food with ink.
  • Never microwave paper towels alone; ensure there’s food to trap the microwaves.

How Long Can You Put Paper Towel In The Microwave?

You can only heat paper towels at 2-minute intervals for 5 minutes.

Increasing the heating time increases microwave heat which exposes paper towels to fire.

Paper towels are light and dry (very few traces of water) and can catch fire if left unchecked.

However, you extend the heating time depending on the type of food but employ enough caution.


Can a paper towel catch fire in the microwave?

Yes. A paper towel can catch fire (rarely) if:

  • your microwave is set on high power
  • you extend the heating time
  • you stack the paper towels
  • you use a recycled paper towel with metal particles.

How Do You Steam Food In The Microwave Using Paper Towels?

You can quickly steam veggies, hot dogs, tortillas, and dumplings in the microwave as follows:

  • Place enough food on a microwave-safe plate.
  • You can line the microwave-safe plate with a few paper towels if you are reheating greasy
  • food.
  • Cover your food with at least 4 damp paper towels. Sprinkle some water if you are using a dry
  • paper towels.
  • Heat on low or medium power for 5 minutes at 2 minutes intervals.

To Wrap It Up

Paper towels are safe to microwave, provided you observe proper caution. Dry paper towels

contain less moisture and hence are prone to scorching or burning if overheated.

You should microwave paper towels for 5 minutes maximum at intervals of 2 minutes to allow

heat regulation.    

Use medium heat and heat only 4 paper towels in a single setting.

A damp paper towel traps more heat, keeps the food moist, and clings on food easily without

falling off compared to a dry paper towel.

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