Can You Put A Paper Towel In The Microwave – Explained!

Every now, you put a paper towel on the food in the microwave to avoid spilling and splattering. But can you put a paper towel in the microwave safely? Yes, in most cases, it is safe to put a towel in the microwave. However, if one thing goes wrong, it can start a fire.

There are things you need to keep in mind before putting a paper towel in the microwave. For example, you cannot sometimes put a dry towel in the microwave; it can create sparks and eventually cause a fire.

But if the paper towel is wet, there should be no issues. That’s because paper towels are made of a plant fiber called cellulose ((C6H10O5)n). The heated cellulose breaks down into small glucose (C6H12O6) or sugar molecules.

Well, the wet sugar particles don’t cause any reaction while being heated instead, sanitize the towel. So, just use a wet paper towel when you’re in a rush cooking and want a less spilling mess.

However, there are also other things you must acknowledge. Thus, if you are one of the careless ones, finish going through the guideline, and you will be good to go.

Can You Put A Towel In The Microwave?

In case you are wondering whether you can microwave a towel or not. Yes, you can definitely microwave a paper towel.

However, you should use a wet or dampened towel. Using a wet towel will lessen the possibility of catching fire or smoke even more.

Moreover, there are other benefits as well, like your food will stay moist and evenly cooked. Also, the paper towel won’t fall off the food you’re covering with it due to spinning and steam pressure.

Last but not least, you can use a paper towel to steam food in the microwave flawlessly.

can you microwave a towel

Is It Safe To Microwave Paper Towels?

If you are wondering whether or not paper towels are microwave safe, yes, they are. But you must be cautious while taking the hot paper towel out of the microwave, or you may get burnt.

Moreover, you should remember to soak the paper towel before tossing it inside the microwave. Paper towels contain minimal water so that they can absorb spills more appropriately.

However, this raises an issue when using them in the microwave. Having minimum water quantity means the towel is more prone to catching fire when overheating excessively.

That’s why you should always be careful and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. Thus, can you put a towel in the microwave? The answer is Yes and No!

When Is It Unsafe To Microwave Paper Towels?

It is not safe to microwave recycled paper towels. In most cases, recycled paper towels are made of specific materials (such as plastic and metal) that have a higher possibility of igniting sparks and creating fire at high temperatures.

Besides, sometimes the food content reacts badly to the recycled paper towels and splatters around in the microwave even more.

Usually, most brands are safe to put in the microwave. So, you need to check the type of paper towels you are getting and avoid recycled ones.

Can A Paper Towel Catch Fire In A Microwave?

It is very typical to throw in the towel with the food in the microwave when you are in a hurry and need to eat.

Therefore, there’s a chance that you forget to wet the towel a bit. In this case, you can heat the microwave in 2-minute increments and keep an eye on it each time.

Furthermore, paper towels are made of cellulose which is slightly flammable if overheated.

That’s why DO NOT FOLD THE PAPER TOWELS in the microwave. A scrunched or folded paper towel is more likely to catch fire than a flat towel.

The reason is that the microwave vibrates the water particles in the food to generate heat. Regarding that, the folded paper towel will trap the vibration and heat. As a result, the water molecules heat up even more, then it creates smoke and leads to sparks.

Besides, the melting point of paper towels is 480 degrees Fahrenheit. But a folded paper in the microwave may trap heat and get hotter than that. On the other hand, a flat laying paper towel easily lets the heat and vibration pass through it.

However, that’s not enough. Thus, let’s find a way to avoid paper towels catching fire in the microwave.

You may read: Green Beans Sparking In The Microwave [5 Easy Solutions!]

How To Avoid A Paper Towel Fire In The Microwave?

Here are things you can follow to avoid paper towels catching fire in the microwave:

  • Never tightly wound the towels (make sure they are loose) on top of the food. This can build up heat and cause issues.
  • Always dampen the paper towels before putting them in the microwave.
  • Don’t overheat the paper towels during a 2 minutes increment check. If the paper towel becomes dry, stop right there. If the towel is still damp, you can continue.
  • Don’t stack the paper towels; if you require to use multiple towels, put them side by side.
  • If there’s any smoke or spark, immediately unplug the microwave to stop overheating the towel paper.

As long as you stay cautious and follow the steps above, you will not face any fire incidents.

Why Should You Put A Paper Towel In a Microwave?

Rather than microwaving the paper towel, this is about putting a paper towel over food in the microwave. This helps you from overheating the food in the microwave, keeping the microwave clean from food splatters, and keeping the food from being dry.

If you are new to this, check out the reasons below to figure out why you should put a paper towel over food in the microwave.

can you put a wet paper towel in the microwave

Benefits Of Putting Paper Towels In The Microwave

  • To prevent splatters inside the microwave, cover up food and stop juice or curry from bubbling up.
  • It ensures an ambient and even heating temperature for the food to cook evenly while trapping the steam efficiently.
  • Keeping the food you’re going to cook moist and flavorful. This technique is more useful when you want to reheat something such as fish and chicken.
  • Some people put paper towels in the microwave to contain the hot mess and avoid cleaning inside the microwave more often.
  • Keeping both your food and microwave safe from each other by acting as a buffer to lessen messy casualties.

How To Microwave Paper Towel Safely?

You may think that you just need to throw in the paper towel. But there are a few ways to microwave paper towels on top of the food.

Check out the methods below to learn how to steam food in the microwave using paper towels:

1. Lay Flat The Paper Towel on Top Of The Food

One of the simplest ways is to put paper towels in the microwave. If you want to heat some leftover pizza slices or chicken nuggets, put some damp flat paper towel (DON’T STACK) on top and microwave.

This way, the pizza, and nuggets will not lose moisture and dry out.

2. Put The Paper Towel On The Plate

Another way to heat food without drying out is to put paper towels on the plate and place the food on top. It is an excellent method when you are microwaving some burritos or sandwiches.

Doing this will prevent them from getting too dry or too soggy.

3. Wrap The Food With The Paper Towel

Another excellent method to heat sandwiches and burritos without drying them out. You only need to wrap the burrito with sheets of paper towel and heat it in the microwave.

By doing this, the towel will retain the moisture inside and absorb all the excess moisture quickly.

4. Use The paper Towel As a Steam Vent

In case the food you are going to microwave splatters a lot, like pasta or soup, you should cover it using a paper towel like a lid. With this, the food will stop splattering as much as before.

Besides, this will ensure the soup doesn’t dry out, and the consistency remains balanced.

Thus, these are a few methods you should follow to microwave paper towels without any hassles.

See More: Green Beans Sparking In The Microwave [5 Easy Solutions!]

How Long To Microwave A Paper Towel?

Paper towels are designed to be microwave-safe and can be used to cover food items or absorb excess moisture during the microwaving process.

You can microwave paper towels for about 30 seconds to 2 minutes, depending on how you use them.

  • If the paper towel you’re using is thin, microwave it for 30 seconds. Or if it is thicker, 1 minute of time will do.
  • The above period is also suitable for simply using dry paper towels.
  • When you use a damp paper towel, double the above time, and it should be alright (the key is to avoid paper towels catching fire).
  • If there is any hint of a spark or smoke, turn off the microwave, and take out the paper towel immediately.

Suppose you have any doubts about using a particular paper towel in the microwave. In that case, it’s best to err on the side of caution and find an alternative microwave-safe cover or container.

Can You Put A Bounty Paper Towel In The Microwave?

No, it is not safe to put a Bounty paper towel in the microwave. Bounty paper towels are made of cellulose fibers, which are flammable. When exposed to high heat, such as in a microwave, the paper towel can catch fire and potentially cause a microwave fire or even an explosion.

When using a microwave, you only use microwave-safe materials, such as glass, ceramic, or microwave-safe plastic. These materials are designed to withstand the heat generated by microwaves without melting or catching fire.

If you need to heat or reheat food in the microwave,  use a regular paper towel instead of a Bounty paper towel. It will ensure safe and efficient heating without the risk of fire or damage.

can you put a towel in the microwave

Essential Tips To Microwave Paper Towels Safely!

Here are some tips you may need to microwave paper towels safely:

  • Not every paper towel is microwave safe. So, check the packaging for the manufacturer’s recommendations and suggestions.
  • Avoid folding, crumpling, or stacking the paper towels on the food. Or it may start to smoke and fire.
  • Never use recycled paper towels; it is more flammable than other types of towels.
  • If the paper towels are Printed, keep the printed side on the other side of the food.
  • Always dampen the paper towels a bit, as it decreases the probability of making a fire and keeps the food moist.
  • Wrap the wet paper towel around foods like fast foods, tamales, chicken, burritos, tortillas, veggies, or pizzas to ensure better microwaving.
  • Always set a low temperature and time when heating food, along with a paper towel.

Read More: Can You Cook Bratwurst In The Microwave? How To Cook Brats

Alternatives Of Paper Towels You Can Microwave!

If you are thinking, what else can you use to cover your food instead of paper towels in the microwave? You are in the right section. So, here are the three best alternatives to use in the microwave:

  1. Get a microwave-safe cover to stop foods from splashing and also retain moisture.
  2. Use microwave-safe plates or bowls to cover foods in the microwave. You can just spray some water on the food, and all is good.
  3. You can put tea towels in the microwave more effortlessly.
  4. Cover the food with wax paper or aluminum foil, which is a great alternative to prevent splashing and drying out (this option is only for low-heat microwaving).

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

Can You Put A Wet Paper Towel In The Microwave?

Yes, it is more reliable to use wet paper in the microwave. So, the chances of fire and food splashing decrease significantly.

Can I Use Paper Towels Instead Of Parchment Paper?

Yes. But parchment papers aren’t as effective as paper towels and are more flammable than most paper towels.

What Material Cannot Be Put In The Microwave?

You mustn’t put anything containing plastic, metal, and other explosive content in the microwave. For example, plastic containers, paper bags, styrofoam, aluminum foil, and metal containers aren’t microwave-safe.

What Does Microwaving With A Wet Paper Towel Do?

Not only microwaving with a wet paper towel decreases food from splattering and drying out. Dampening also ensures the paper towels avoid creating smoke and catching fire.

Can You Put A Paper Towel In An Air Fryer Or Oven?

No, paper towels can easily catch fire inside an overheating oven and air fryer. In addition, the food inside the air fryer will fail to cook evenly due to the paper towel hampering the hot air flow.


Of course, putting paper towels in the microwave helps with a lot of things. But just like everything, paper towels are not perfect and have a few disadvantages:

  • Paper towels can cause smoke and fire.
  • A faulty paper towel can make a mess by creating sparks which will make the food splatter even more.
  • The towels can leave lint in the greasy food you microwave.

So, can you put a paper towel in the microwave? Yes, as long as you follow specific precautions. In addition, you mustn’t worry about whether you can microwave a towel safely or not, as I have explained the right way to do that.

Moreover, you can follow additional yet helpful tips to get rid of your thoughts over the “Can you microwave a towel” question. Thus, enjoy reheating your food using paper towels in the microwave without a mess.

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