This Is What Happens When You Microwave Metal, From 'House Hazards'

by Meredith Grace

You've likely been warned against putting metal objects into your microwave (and if not, consider this your warning!) Microwaving metal can damage your microwave, but the team behind our show House Hazards — a series that puts potential hazards to the test in a real house via a series of "don't try this at home tests — wanted to show what sort of metal-containing object might really, really damage your microwave. As in, blow it apart. For that, they chose to microwave a car airbag. Find out where you can to watch the show and when to tune in.

Watch the clip from House Hazards above to see the incredible explosion and learn why. And don't try this at home!

And hopefully you aren't planning on microwaving a car airbag (there's tastier things out there, truly), but here’s a list of a few other things you have laying around the house that should never be placed inside your microwave...and some may even surprise you.

1. Travel Mugs.

It may seem like an easy way to warm up your coffee before heading out the door, but many travel mugs contain metal which could damage your microwave. If the mugs are metal free, make sure you confirm the plastic is safe to use in the microwave by checking the bottom of the mug.

Also on Z Living: VIDEO: A 'House Hazards' Lesson About Exploding Toilets

2. Takeout Containers.

Put down the Chinese leftovers and rethink sticking the metal handled container in the microwave. Those thin, metal pieces will almost undoubtedly send sparks flying and may require a visit from your local fire department.

3. Plastic Food Containers.

The containers that used to hold your yogurt or butter may be tempting to reuse to hold leftovers, but are designed for one time use. Subjecting the thin plastic to high heat could cause them to melt and/or leak chemicals into your food.

Also on Z Living: VIDEO: How To Avoid Burning Down Your Christmas Tree

4. Whole Eggs.

Even if the process of hard boiling eggs seems too time consuming or tedious, attempting to cook whole eggs in their shell with a microwave will leave you with a huge mess. Steam builds up inside the egg until you have an explosive slam-bang finale on your hands (and walls, floors, ceiling, etc.).

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5. Aluminum Foil.

At this point, you’ve probably already realized that metal and microwaves don’t mix, and that includes the aluminum foil covering your food.

6. Serveware with Metallic Accents.

The pretty gold rim on your plates and bowls is real metal, and will react when microwaved. Save yourself the pain of having to buy new dishes and keep them out of the microwave.

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7. Paper Bags.

Your brown paper lunch bag or grocery store bag are often unsanitary, may emit harmful chemicals when microwaved and could catch on fire. Same goes for newspapers and plastic grocery bags.

8. Clothing.

Is there anything better than wrapping up in a warm sweater on a cold day? Perhaps there isn’t, but not burning down the house or ruining an appliance should be up there on the list too. Dry clothes are way more likely to catch fire in a microwave, so stick with your dryer instead.

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9. Styrofoam.

If you’re like me, you may have a vivid memory of reheating restaurant leftovers only to end up with a melted plastic mess. Check the containers to see if they’re microwave safe first, and always err on the side of caution.

10. Hot Peppers.

Like most organic matter, peppers are they combustible and could catch fire if heated for long enough. More importantly, these peppers release their spicy substance into the air, leaving you with a homemade cloud of pepper spray in your kitchen.

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