can you microwave cardboard - a cardboard to-go box sits on a table with chinese food and chopsticks

can you microwave cardboard? (A Straight Answer!)


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Can you microwave a cardboard to-go box? – The answer is yes, technically you can microwave some cardboard takeout boxes. However, that doesn’t mean you should! Many people microwave cardboard boxes without knowing the potential dangers to your microwave and your food. In this blog post, we will talk about what can happen if you microwave a cardboard box and how to avoid it.

Can cardboard go in the microwave?

If you want our opinion, the answer is a solid NO. You should not microwave cardboard even if it says it’s “microwave safe.” Why? One word – chemicals.

If you want a non-biased answer, then yes, you can microwave some (emphasis on SOME) cardboard food boxes and containers. You should not microwave them unless you absolutely have to, and even then, you have to be careful to avoid microwaving takeout and freezer boxes with waxes, metals, and other coatings.

Is it safe to microwave food in cardboard takeout boxes?

Biased opinion: No.

When you microwave cardboard, it can release toxins into your food, even if it’s considered microwave safe. These toxins can be harmful and even cause cancer. In addition, microwaving cardboard can cause fires. The fires are caused by the chemicals in the cardboard igniting. If you must microwave a cardboard box, make sure it is uncoated and made from 100% recycled paper.

Non-biased answer: Yes.

You can microwave some cardboard food boxes and containers that are labeled microwave safe. Just make sure they are free of waxes, metals, and other coatings. Also, you’ll want to lower the power on your microwave when reheating food in cardboard. This will help prevent fires.

If you’re looking for a safer alternative to microwaving cardboard, consider using glass or ceramic containers. These materials are less likely to release toxins into your food and are much safer overall.

How To Tell If Your Cardboard Has A Plastic Or Wax Coating

The biggest indicator that a cardboard box is not safe to microwave is a plastic or wax coating. The coating can be on the outside only or even on the inside of the box. If you can see and feel a waxy or plastic coating, do not microwave the cardboard. Look for an unnatural shine and run your finger over the surface to see if it feels smooth. If it does, it’s likely a coating, and you should avoid microwaving it.

If you’re not sure whether or not your cardboard is coated in plastic or wax, you can put a drop of water on the cardboard box. The cardboard likely has a coating if the water beads up and doesn’t soak in.

Can You Microwave Chinese takeout can you microwave cardboard? (A Straight Answer!) Microwave Microwave Cardboard

Do NOT Microwave Any Cardboard Takeout Boxes With Even The Slightest Bit of Metal

We are looking at you Chinese takeout! While we’d like to think this is an unnecessary warning, there have been countless reports of microwaving cardboard boxes with metal in them. This is an incredibly dangerous thing to do as the metal can spark and start a fire.

If you’re ever unsure about whether or not a cardboard food box is safe to microwave, just don’t do it! There are plenty of other ways to reheat your food without risking your health or your kitchen.

Avoid Microwaving Cardboard To-Go Boxes With Ink On Them

Another giveaway that you should not be reheating your food in its cardboard takeout container is ink. If the box has a logo on it or inked decoration of any sort, don’t microwave it. The ink may or may not be food-grade, but that’s not the point. When heated, ink can release toxins into the air and your food. Not to mention, it’s just plain gross.

Will a To-Go box catch on fire in the microwave?

It can, but then again, so can your popcorn. With enough heat, any combustible material can catch on fire, and cardboard is certainly no exception. The fumes released from microwaving cardboard can also be toxic, so it’s really not worth the risk.

How long can you microwave cardboard at a time?

If you have no choice but to use a cardboard box to microwave your food, keep the time to a minimum. Start by microwaving for no more than 30 seconds at a time and then increase the time in 20-second intervals if necessary. This will help reduce the risk of fire.

What you don’t want to do is throw it in there for 5 minutes and walk away. Chances are nothing will happen, but then again, it only takes that one time…

What is the Best Way to Microwave Food?

Glass or ceramic containers are the best way to reheat food in the microwave. They are less likely to release toxins and are much safer overall. Plastic is notorious for leaching chemicals into food, so it’s best to avoid microwaving food in plastic containers. If you must use a plastic container, make sure it is labeled “microwave safe.”

cardboard togo box with a burger can you microwave cardboard? (A Straight Answer!) Microwave Microwave Cardboard


So – here are some of the most popular cardboard takeout/to-go box microwave container questions. Now, we’ve already established that we feel strongly against microwaving to-go containers but rest assured the answers below are based on fact, not opinion.

Can you microwave Chipotle cardboard?

No. Do not microwave Chipotle cardboard takeout boxes. It does not state that it is safe to microwave on the package, and there is a chance of it catching on fire and releasing chemicals into your food.

Can you put Mcdonald’s cardboard To-Go Boxes in the microwave?

No. You should not microwave Mcdonald’s cardboard containers. The boxes are not meant to be microwaved.

Can you put a cardboard pizza box in the microwave?

No. If it does not state it’s safe to microwave on the box, don’t do it. It’s not worth the risk of fire or leaching chemicals into your food.

Can you microwave whole foods cardboard?

No. You should not microwave Whole Foods cardboard containers. The boxes are not meant to be microwaved, and there is a chance of it catching on fire or leaching chemicals into your food.

What about other types of cardboard?

The same rules apply to all types of cardboard – if it’s not explicitly labeled as safe to microwave, don’t do it. (Yes, we know we sound like a broken record, but I am sure someone out there is still reading this thinking they are going to test it out… just sayin’)

cardboard box on fire in a microwave can you microwave cardboard? (A Straight Answer!) Microwave Microwave Cardboard

Final Thoughts On Microwaving Cardboard

While microwaving cardboard is technically possible, we don’t recommend it. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your food and your health. If you have any questions about whether or not you should microwave something, feel free to ask us in the comments below. We’re always happy to help! Thanks for reading!

Ps. No microwaves were set on fire during the making of this post, we took our own advice and went with a stock photo for dramatic effect.

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