Stainless steel containers are very widely used utensils in our lives due to their durability and cost-effectiveness. Many of the lunch boxes, bowls, cups and mugs, etc., that we use in our daily lives are stainless steel.
Hence, it is very natural to think about whether these stainless steel items can be directly placed inside a microwave or not to save time and effort.
So, let’s see if it is a good choice or not?
Can You Microwave Stainless Steel?
Well, the short and precise answer to this question is a big NO!
And there sure is a good reason behind this as well. Many of you already know that putting metallic items inside a microwave is not a good practice. And stainless steel is a metal alloy that is still metal.
So stainless steels are no different from common metals when they are heated inside a microwave. However, stainless steel possesses a layer of chromium oxide on its surface, which helps to protect it from oxidation and corrosion.
Now due to the shielding effect of chromium oxide, steel can reflect microwaves. Hence the radiation will be blocked and will be unable to heat the food inside the steel container.
But this is not the only reason to not put a steel container inside a microwave. If the stainless steel comes in contact with the internal lining of the microwave, it might lead to sparks and crackles inside.
It can even lead to a fire lighting up inside a microwave or even a short circuit, hence damaging your microwave.
So these are the reasons why we should not use stainless steel objects inside a microwave.
But there are some exceptions as well. I mean, if the surface of your steel item is open enough to provide a wide range for heating the food and you can make sure that it does not touch the internal boundaries of the microwave, then it is allowed to place your steel container inside a microwave.
But long story short, it is advised that you do not put the stainless steel inside a microwave, be it a steel cup, bowl, lunch box, or anything else.
What a Microwave-Safe Container Should Be:
Well, we talked about whether to use a steel container inside a microwave oven or not? But we also need to know what kind of materials can be used inside a microwave oven because stainless steel is not the only item recommended not to be used inside a microwave.
A microwave-safe container should be temperature resistant, non-toxic, and should be a good conductor of heat. These are essential properties of a microwave-safe container.
A microwave-safe material should be able to let the microwaves pass through it thoroughly. Such materials like microwave-safe glass, ceramics, plastics, etc., do not consume the microwaves and let them pass, which helps thoroughly heat food items inside.
Now consider if a container does not allow these microwaves to pass through, then heating the food will not be possible. Even if the surface is open, it will still take a lot of time, decreasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the microwave.
You should also keep in mind that steel and metal containers are not preferred to be used inside a microwave because they might come in contact with the internal walls of the microwave and light up a fire or cause a short circuit.
Secondly, if overheated, metals might release chemicals from their surface and cause poisoning of the food, which is not suitable for health.