Saran Wrap is sometimes referred to as plastic wrap or cling film. It is usually used to cover food and keep it from being contaminated. Since it use cases are so vast, you can not help but wonder can you put Saran Wrap in the microwave?
Saran wrap is made of plastic and is very light. It does not do well in most levels of heat. Despite this, it is quite safe to use saran wraps from most brands in the microwave but with precaution as laid out by USDA.
With the potential effects of plastic on meals and the health, saran wrap brands ensure that they adhere to the safety guidelines and precautions prescribed by the FDA.
In this article, we will discuss saran wraps, how effective it is when used in the microwave oven and safety precautions to follow when using saran wrap in your microwave to avoid major complications.
What is Saran Wrap?
Saran wrap is usually made from polyethylene. It is a thin material made from plastic that is usually used to preserve food, it is used to keep food from being contaminated and sometimes cover food before it is stored in a freezer.
Saran wrap is made from extremely light plastic which means it can melt very easily.
Polyvinylidene Chloride vs Polyethylene
Saran Wrap used to be made out of Polyvinylidene Chloride (PVDC), however due to environment and health hazards, its production was changed to the safer Polyethylene material.
Polyethylene, however, allows more oxygen to seep through as compared to PVDC and therefore has a higher spoilage rate in comparison.
Saran Wrap Temperature Limit
Saran wrap has low temperature limit compared to other items that are usually in the kitchen; like parchment paper and glass. Saran wrap will usually begin to melt around 220-250° Fahrenheit.
This should not be an issue with microwave ovens, since most microwave ovens reach a lower temperature compared to this.
Can You Put Saran Wrap in the Microwave?
It is quite safe to use saran wrap in the microwave.
Unlike a toaster oven, heat from a microwave oven directly penetrates the container used to cook the food to heat it up.
Therefore saran wrap can be used in your microwave oven. But before using saran wrap in your microwave oven, you should take some precautions.
Below are some precautionary measures you can follow before using saran wrap in your microwave oven.
Labelled Microwave Safe
It is important to reiterate the fact that Saran Wrap is generally used as a term to describe plastic wraps.
Plastic wraps from generic brands may NOT be microwave oven safe.
Therefore, you must look for microwave-safe label on the product box. You should avoid using generic brands that you are unfamiliar with.
Follow USDA Instructions
USDA has instructions for cooking in microwave. For example, when talking about plastic wraps, USDA recommends that:
- It should not touch the food
- Venting should be providing for the food.
Use Perforated Saran Wrap or Make Holes in it Before Putting it in Your Microwave
Saran wrap is air proof. When you cook in your microwave oven, always make holes in your saran wrap.
This is to allow air escape from the food while it cooks. Otherwise, your saran wrap will try to find a release for the air in your food. This can cause the wrap to burst or melt as the heat inside the container rises.
Follow All Cooking Instructions and Microwave Precautions
Recipes have one thing in common, they have been previously practiced by someone. If you follow such recipes, ensure that you always follow all cooking instructions to avoid complications in your food.
Also ensure that saran wrap is not used as an alternative to some other food covering item because it is more vulnerable alternative compared to most of the other ones.
Make sure that you also follow all instructions in your microwave manual concerning the use of saran wrap in your microwave oven to avoid any issues that might occur from its use.
Do Not Cover Oily Foods with Plastic Wrap
Oil has the tendency to get much hotter compared to other food types. Heating up oily foods in your microwave oven while they’re covered with saran wrap might cause the wrap to melt.
This is because oil tends to get hotter than most food types. When it gets too hot, your saran wrap will likely melt and can possibly contaminate your food.
Don’t Microwave Saran Wrap for Over 5 Minutes at Once
Ensure that you don’t cook your food for over 5 minutes when you have saran wrap in your microwave. This will help regulate your oven temperature at any point in time and reduce the chances of the saran wrap melting.
For every 5 minutes that you cook, turn off your microwave oven for 1 minute.
Also longer cooking time and lower temperature is much safer than short cooking time and high temperature. High heat, even if it is for a short moment will damage your saran wrap.
Leave Some Space Between Your Food and the Saran Wrap
Hot food can also melt your saran wrap. Most brands recommend that you cook your food using containers that will not fill to the brim.
Then, It will be easy to leave at least 1 inch of space between your food and the saran wrap. This will reduce the chances of the wrap melting while you’re cooking in your microwave oven.
Don’t Eat Food that Has Saran Wrap Melted Residue
If you discover that your saran wrap has melted plastic into your food, do not eat from it.
Although microwave oven safe saran wrap is healthy for cooking in your microwave, it is plastic and is not meant to be ingested.
Follow all precautions to keep your saran wrap safe while using in your microwave, but if for some reason, part of it gets into your food, dispose of that food as it might be poisonous and can cause harm to your health
Does Saran Wrap Release Harmful Chemicals into Your Food
That depends on the chemical. Any Saran Wrap or plastic wrap made out of PVC, for example, is more dangerous than the one made out of polyethylene.
Fortunately, there has been various precautions over the years to ensure that harmful chemicals aren’t released into your food. The FDA only approves saran wraps that have less than 1% chances of PVC getting into your food.
Saran wrap that have over 1% are not suitable for use in your microwave. Since it is made from plastic, when exposed to heat is quite harmful to the health.
The chances of these heath hazards have been largely reduced in saran wrap. Therefore you’re very unlikely to get sick or poisoned from using saran wrap in your microwave oven.
Despite the precautions that have been taken with saran wrap, avoid too many kitchen wares with PVC bases. It is a harmful chemicals.
Unfortunately, there is not enough information to sensitize people on the disadvantages of getting such items or the potential dangers that can result from its use.
In this article, asked and answered can you put Saran Wrap in the microwave? Generally, it is quite safe to use Saran Wrap in your microwave oven.
In fact, most people use it to cover and preserve their food. While using it in your microwave, do not expose it to extreme heat.
Also when you use any item in your oven or you’re dealing with things that come in contact with your food, ensure that you follow all precautions to the letter.
1. Is Saran wrap and plastic wrap the same thing?
Yes, they are the same. Plastic Wrap- The word plastic wrap refers to a variety of different materials. Food plastic wrap, often referred to as cling film, food wrap, or saran wrap, is a thin plastic film frequently used to seal and secure food products in containers to keep them fresh.
2. What is Saran Wrap made from?
Saran wrap is made from polyethylene, a type of plastic. It is made by extruding the plastic through a narrow slit, which causes it to form into a thin film.
3. What happens if you microwave Saran Wrap?
If you microwave Saran Wrap, it will heat up and the plastic can melt. The wrap is made of polyvinyl chloride or PVC which is a type of plastic that melts at high temperatures. This means when microwaving Saran Wrap, it could start to leak toxic fumes into your home and release dioxins as well. Dioxins are carcinogenic substances that are released by burning plastics like PVC.
4. What are the Risks of Using Saran Wrap in the Microwave?
There is a risk of fire when using Saran Wrap in the microwave. The plastic can melt and create a spark that could ignite something else in the oven.
5. Is it safe to use cling film in the microwave?
Yes, as long as the cling film is not directly in contact with the food. It's ideal for lidding containers and reheating plated meals. To achieve the best results, lay the film over the container and pierce or turn back the corner to allow steam to escape.