Reasons why shouldn’t you boil water in the microwave?

Microwave ovens have been a staple kitchen appliance in the household. It is especially useful after a long, tiring day from work or school when you have no time to cook. However, there are certain precautions you should know in using microwave ovens like heating water in the microwave and the proper process of reheating food. Here are some of the things you need to know:

Why shouldn’t you boil water in the microwave?

You might think it is still safe to heat water in a microwave but superheated water is a real problem than what we already believe. There are several reports about burns caused by superheated water in microwaves that needs public awareness. These burns often affect the hands and face. However, these burns rarely need grafting but these burns are too painful for children that they need hospitalization for pain control and wound care.

Aside from water explosions, boiling tea in a microwave is not advisable. It might be tempting to toss your cup to the microwave to boil water when you have no kettle or saucepan nearby. According to the experts, heated water from microwave ovens often result to a less ideal tea water because you have no control over temperature when using it. Tea requires a certain temperature of water. The temperature of water depends to the kind of tea you are brewing; thus, heating water in microwave ovens is not a good idea. On the other hand, tea kettles can heat tea to 212 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Can boiling water explode?

There are several reports that claimed they had injured their hands when using microwave to boil water. Heating water in a microwave oven can be heated above its normal boiling point which we call superheated water. Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius with the presence of steam or air in a kettle or a saucepan. However, boiling water in a microwave oven can become superheated because microwaves heat the water directly and pass through the cup which makes the water hotter than its container. Water does not boil in microwave containers because bubbles of air do not cling to the sides. According to a study, one litre of water can rapidly produce three liters of steam which can cause the water to explode out of its container.

In addition, adding powder such as coffee can cause explosion of water as well. 

You might ask, how can water boil past its boiling point in a microwave? In a kettle or a saucepan, the container is hotter than the water while in microwave ovens, the water is usually hotter than the container; thus, resulting to an explosion. Microwave ovens heat the water directly unlike in kettles and saucepans. Microwaves pass through the container which makes the water absorb the energy from them directly and the container absorbs little energy. 

Doctors recommend letting the water cool inside the microwave for a few minutes before removing them to avoid water explosion.

Kitchen appliances, like microwave ovens, have been helpful tools for us but always keep in mind the precautions that come with purchasing the appliances. Prevention is better than cure.

Is it dangerous to heat water in a microwave?

There are numerous claims of acquiring injury because of an attempt to heat water in a microwave oven. It is not advisable to boil water in a microwave oven because of the phenomenon called superheating which can cause water to explode. There are several conditions that should be avoided in heating water in a microwave.

Using a container with a very smooth surface can cause the water to explode since bubbles of air will not cling on the sides, especially when heated longer than the intended time. You might be wondering what difference does it make in boiling water in microwave with a smooth container than rough or scratched containers. Smooth containers do not have bubbles clinging to their sides. A rough walled or scratched container holds microscopic bubbles in their cracks.

Why are bubbles of air important in boiling water? Bubbles help the water to release the heat that has built up. Without the bubbles, the liquid does not boil, making it unstable. When the water is bumped, it can cause a shock to form bubbles rapidly. Thus, it makes the water explode. That’s why it is recommended to place a wooden stirrer or any non-metallic in the water to help diffuse the energy as it heats in the microwave

Moreover, do not add powder as soon as you take it out in the oven that may cause it to explode. These are just precautions should you want to boil water in a microwave oven if you have no kettle to use. However, it is better to purchase and use a kettle in boiling water than using the microwave oven to heat your water.

Does microwaving water kill bacteria?

It’s time to bust this myth that microwaving can kill bacteria. It does, but not in the way you expect it to. Microwave ovens have been helpful in heating our food in a short time, especially when you have leftover food. 

Microwaves can be applied only from discrete directions unlike boiling food where water can emit heat to bacteria from different directions. Heating food in microwave can be cooked unevenly-there are heated areas and cold areas in the microwaved food. Harmful bacteria can survive in cold areas in the microwave food. Moreover, microwaves generate heat that kills bacteria in food. Microwave depends on the size, shape, and nature of the food you are reheating; thus, cooking the food may come uneven. Microwave ovens heat the surface first before the core of the food does.

This usually happens when you use the defrost function of the microwave oven. However, the heating process can still kill bacteria if used correctly. Liquids, like soups, can heat faster than solid food. Hence, it is important to fully defrost the food before attempting to reheat. Also, there is little risk of bacteria when food are covered before reheating. Food safety is a priority in a family and microwaving food isn’t always the best choice. People are prone to diseases when the food is uncooked or inadequately cooked before you eat them.

 

References: 

Boness, L. (January 2012). Ask Us: Why Is It Dangerous to Heat Water in the Microwave? Retrieved from https://scienceillustrated.com.au/blog/science/ask-us-why-is-it-dangerous-to-heat-water-in-the-microwave/

Christensen, E. (n.d.). Fact or Fiction? Exploding Water in the Microwave. Retrieved August 26, 2019, from https://www.thekitchn.com/fact-or-fiction-exploding-wate-109388

Does the Microwave Kill Bacteria.  (n.d.) Retrieved August 26, 2019, from https://hygienefoodsafety.org/does-microwave-kill-bacteria/

HOT DEALS! UP TO 80% OFF

Eveleth, R. (June 2013). Why Microwaving for Tea is a Bad Idea. Retrieved from https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/why-microwaving-water-for-tea-is-a-bad-idea-97452679/

Exploding Water in the Microwave. (n.d.). Retrieved August 26, 2019, from https://www.stevespanglerscience.com/lab/experiments/exploding-water-in-the-microwave/

Glass, D. (March 2013). Exploding Water. Retrieved from https://indianapublicmedia.org/amomentofscience/exploding-water

Henry, A. (June 2013). Why You Shouldn’t Use Your Microwave to Make Tea. Retrieved from https://lifehacker.com/why-you-shouldnt-use-your-microwave-to-make-tea-512035269

Pinola, M. (September 2013). Prevent Super-Heated, Exploding Water in a Microwave with a Chopstick. Retrieved from https://lifehacker.com/prevent-super-heated-exploding-water-in-a-microwave-wi-1377512762

Samsung. (April 2018). Can Water Explode in a Microwave.  Retrieved August 26, 2019, from https://www.samsung.com/ca/support/home-appliances/can-water-explode-in-a-microwave/

Seltzer, H. (August 2012). Mythbusters: Debunking Myths about Food Safety in the Home! Retrieved from FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition website: https://www.foodsafety.gov/blog/mythbusters.html

Superheating. (n.d.). Retrieved August 26, 2019, from http://www.animations.physics.unsw.edu.au/jw/superheating.htm

Lazada Special Offer

Disclaimer

Panlasang Pinoy Recipes™ is a food blog that compiles delicious and easy to prepare recipes from various sources around the web. We claim no credit for any images, recipes and videos featured on this blog unless otherwise noted. Read More

%d bloggers like this: