In your kitchen, you most likely have some silicone cookware, such as a silicone spatula or a silicone mixing bowl. While silicon products are expensive, they can endure extremely high temperatures in the microwave and are durable enough to withstand daily use.
Have you ever wondered whether is silicone microwave safe? Yes, it is safe to microwave silicone. In many cases, you can microwave silicone products without harming your food or risking your safety in any way. However, before heating a silicone product, there are some cautions to keep in mind.
This article will address some silicone properties that make it safe for use in microwaves. We’ll also discuss a few safety precautions for using silicone with your microwave and provide answers to some frequently asked questions.
What Is Silicone?
Before discussing whether or not silicone can be microwaved, let’s look at what it is.
Silicone is a synthetic polymer that has many different applications. The most common use of silicone is to make rubber or plastic. Silicon is combined with other substances like carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen to produce elastomers (rubber-like substances) and polymers (all plastics).
Technically speaking; silicone isn’t a single substance. It’s an entire family of materials composed of silicon and oxygen. These materials vary widely in terms of function and applications.
In our case, we refer to the silicone used in kitchenware. The silicone used in kitchenware is typically food grade and considered non-toxic, but it’s not without its concern.
What Makes Silicone Safe for Use in Microwaves?
Because silicone is one of the few non-plastic materials that are microwave safe, numerous properties contribute to its ability to work safely in microwaves. Here, we’ll talk about five different properties of silicone and how they make it safe for use in microwaves.
1. High Tensile Strength
The strength of a material relates to how much it can be stretched or pulled without breaking. The higher its tensile strength, the harder it is to crack, and less force is required to rupture it.
When silicone rubber heats up or cools down, it will stretch and flex accordingly. However, due to its high tensile strength, you would need quite a bit of force before breaking, which makes it safe for use in microwaves.
2. High Resistance to Heat and Acids
Another reason silicone is microwave-safe is its high resistance to heat and acid. Although some silicone might melt or deform at extremely high temperatures, most have a melting point of more than 428 degrees Fahrenheit.
Silicone is also resistant to most household chemicals, including acids such as bleach and diluted vinegar. This makes it ideal for cleaning brushes used with oil paints and cooking utensils on non-stick surfaces.
3. Electrical Insulation
When you use a microwave, heat is generated through resistance. When using a non-microwave safe container, it may melt and possibly begin to ignite other items on top of or inside of your microwave.
However, silicone has very low thermal conductivity, meaning it won’t melt when heated. Silicone rubber, specifically, is almost 100% resistant to electrical insulation at temperatures above 428 degrees Fahrenheit.
As a result, it makes silicone an incredibly safe material to use around microwaves and ensures you won’t experience any fires or electrocution when cooking or heating.
4. Non-Reactivity with Foods and Chemicals
One of the most incredible benefits of silicone over other materials is its inability to react with food and chemicals. This is due to its inertness, which means it doesn’t interact with food or other substances to promote color, odor, flavor, or leach chemicals into food.
That makes it suitable for microwaves where extreme heat can lead to chemical reactions and discoloration. It also passes FDA tests to ensure it will not leach into food when used repeatedly at high temperatures.
5. Low Water Absorption
Unlike other materials like plastic, silicone does not absorb water. This quality allows you to use your silicone cooking utensils repeatedly without worrying about them absorbing moisture from food.
Since water vapor can build up inside your microwave oven and eventually lead to dangerous electrical arcing, allowing it to build upon heat-resistant materials is an essential part of keeping your appliance safe.
As an added plus, utilizing a silicone-approved container allows you to boil liquids while safe.
Safety Precautions When Microwaving Silicone
Silicone is safe to use in microwave ovens, but you should take a few precautions when doing so.
- If your silicone cooking utensil has metal parts, then it will be too hot to handle immediately after removing it from your microwave. The best thing is to let it cool down and sit untouched until you touch it with your bare hands.
- Do not place cooking utensils made of silicone on top of your stove while they are still hot. Let them cool down first before storing them away.
- Always check instructions regarding how long to heat certain food items, and be sure never to exceed recommended time limits.
- Keep an eye on silicone products while heating and remove them from your microwave once they have reached their maximum temperature limit. Silicone is strong enough to withstand temperatures slightly above its melting point, but it can still warp at higher temperatures.
- If there are bubbles or blisters on your silicone cooking tools after removal from a microwave, throw them out immediately.
- After each usage, rinse your silicone products with warm, soapy water and air dry thoroughly.
Faqs About Silicone Microwave Safety
1. Does silicone melt in the microwave?
No, silicone doesn’t melt in the microwave. It is heat-resistant and can endure high temperatures without losing its shape or deforming.
2. At what temperature does silicone melt?
A typical silicone has a melting point of 2,577 degrees Fahrenheit (1,414°C), so it will begin to melt at temperatures around that number.
3. How do you melt silicone at home?
You can melt silicone at home by using a variety of methods. For example, you can heat it in an oven or cook it on a stovetop. As always, monitor your work and don’t let your projects get out of hand.
4. Is silicone toxic when heated?
No, not at all. Silicone is one of the most inert substances known to man. This means that it does not react with other chemicals. It will never melt in your microwave and release toxins into your food.
5. Is silicone toxic to humans?
Silicone products are 100% safe for humans, as they belong to a family of chemicals called polymers. Because they are not toxic, you can rest assured that silicone products are safe for use.
6. Is silicone safer than plastic?
Silicone is safer to cook with than many types of plastic. Most plastics contain chemicals that can leach into food and be detrimental if consumed. Silicone does not contain these harmful chemicals and is considered safe to use in a microwave.
7. What’s the symbol for microwave safe?
Microwave safe symbols are three squiggly lines or a set of 3 to 5 stacked waves. You’ll often see these symbols inside your microwave-safe container.
8. Can you put silicone in the oven?
Silicone is oven-safe. It can resist temperatures up to 428 degrees Fahrenheit in both heat and cold. As a result, when heated in a preheated oven, it will not melt or crack.
9. Is silicone safe for frying?
Yes. Silicone is an excellent material for frying and offers many safety benefits over other types of cookware. It’s heat resistant, more robust, won’t burn or stick to your meal, and can be used with metal utensils when appropriate.
10. Is it safe to cook on silicone mats?
Yes, silicone mats are made from food-grade silicone, so it is safe to cook on them. They can withstand temperatures up to 428 degrees.
Silicone is safe to use in a microwave. As long as it’s food-grade, medical-grade silicone, and not a cheaper industrial grade, you don’t have to worry about melting your bowls.
The main thing to note is that silicone is non-reactive and can be used directly with food. As a result, it makes silicon an excellent option for cooking or baking.
And, best of all, it makes cleanup a breeze as everything rinses off easily. So if you need a bowl or two and are looking for something that is microwave safe, silicone is an excellent option.
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