Can You Microwave A Tervis? The Ultimate Guide for Tumbler Users

Categorized as Microwave Safety

Tervis tumblers and cups are popular choices for people who want to keep their drinks hot or cold on the go. The insulated double-wall design does a great job of maintaining temperatures. But can these plastic cups go in the microwave?

Here’s a quick answer: Yes, Tervis plastic tumblers are microwave safe but with limitations. Only microwave for 30 seconds maximum with no lid. Check for metallic decorations which cannot be microwaved. Pre-fill cup with cool liquid before reheating to prevent warping. Avoid microwaving empty Tervis cups. While labeled microwave safe, leaching from all plastics is still possible so microwave cautiously.

Keep reading to learn all the details about microwaving Tervis drinkware.

Are Tervis Tumblers BPA Free?

An important question when putting any plastic in the microwave is – does it contain BPA?

BPA or bisphenol A is a chemical used to make some plastics more durable. It’s found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins.

BPA has been linked to:

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Developmental problems in children
  • Hormone issues

To avoid BPA, choose glass or ceramic containers whenever possible. Look at the recycling code on the bottom of plastics – #3 and #7 may contain BPA.

The good news is that as of 2011, all Tervis tumblers are made from BPA-free plastic.

Older Tervis products (before 2011) may still contain BPA. Check the bottom for the manufacture date if you have an older model.

The BPA-free Tervis cups are made from a proprietary polymer blend that Tervis calls “Made in America quality.”

Are Tervis Cups Microwave Safe?

The BPA-free plastic used in modern Tervis tumblers can be microwaved, with some limitations.

Here are the official microwave instructions according to Tervis:

  • Remove the lid before microwaving. Never microwave the lid.
  • Microwave the empty cup for no more than 30 seconds at a time.
  • Fill the cup with cool liquid before microwaving hot liquids.
  • Do not microwave cups with metallic paint or decoration. Check the bottom.

The concern with microwaving an empty Tervis cup is warping from excessive heat. That’s why it’s best to pre-fill it with cool water or food.

Any metal elements like decorative paint or logos should be avoided in the microwave completely. The metal can damage the microwave or get hot.

Also be cautious of microwave wattage. A high 1200+ watt microwave can generate hot spots that may damage plasticware. Use a lower setting if possible.

In summary – Tervis tumblers are labeled as microwave safe for short 30 second bursts IF pre-filled with cool liquid and checked for metallic decorations.

Always refer to the directions on the bottom of your specific cup before microwaving.

Concerns About Microwaving Plastic

While Tervis cups may be BPA-free, there are still health concerns around microwaving plastics in general.

Heating plastics can cause chemicals to leach into food and drinks. This includes bisphenol compounds similar to BPA.

A 2013 study found that even BPA-free plastic released estrogen-mimicking chemicals when microwaved:

95% of plastic products tested released estrogenic chemicals
including BPA-free plastics

Chemicals released increased under conditions simulating
real world microwaving


The FDA considers current BPA-free plastics safe, but recommends avoiding plastic containers for microwave use.

For optimal health, transfer microwaved food or drinks into ceramic or glassware before consuming. Especially for children and pregnant women.

Proper Care Of Tervis Cups

To get the most out of your Tervis tumblers, avoid mishandling them. The durable plastic can still crack or warp under certain conditions.


  • Microwaving with lid on
  • Microwaving empty cup
  • Microwaving over 30 seconds
  • Microwaving designs with metal
  • Stacking cups when hot or freezing temps
  • Dropping cups on hard surfaces

Best Practices:

  • Hand wash only with mild soap
  • Do not use abrasive brushes
  • Line dishwasher top rack for washing
  • Air dry completely after washing
  • Store at room temperature

Also do not leave cups outside in extreme hot or cold weather. The plastic can become misshapen if left in a hot car or freezer.

With proper care, your Tervis should last for years.

Tervis Warranty

One great benefit of Tervis drinkware is the lifetime guarantee. This “Made For Life” warranty promises to replace your cup if certain defects occur.

Covered defects include:

  • Cracks
  • Condensation between walls
  • Chipping or peeling
  • Breaks

Warping and bent tumblers may also be replaced depending on the damage.

Just note that microwaving improperly can void the Tervis guarantee. Make sure to follow microwave instructions precisely.

Normal wear and tear is also not covered after the first year. But Tervis typically has great customer service if issues pop up down the road.

Origins Of Tervis Drinkware

So where did these ingenious double-walled Tervis cups come from?

The history of Tervis goes back to 1946 and two invent-minded guys:

  • Frank Cotter
  • G. Howlett Davis

They realized that air was an excellent insulator. Just think of how warm a layer of air keeps you on a cold day.

By creating two walls with air space between, drinks could retain their temperatures much longer.

Combining the last 3 letters of each inventor’s name, they arrived at the TERVIS brand.

Over 70 years later, not much has changed in the basic Tumbler design except using advanced plastics.

Comparison To Other Brands

Tervis certainly wasn’t the last company to make insulated drinkware. Yeti, RTIC, Ozark Trail, and other brands now offer similar products (also read: Can a Yeti be microwaved safely?).

So how does Tervis compare to the competition?

Tervis Pros

  • Made in America quality
  • Lifetime “Made For Life” guarantee
  • Hundreds of colors and customizable styles
  • Cooling performance on par with top brands
  • Microwave safe for short term use
  • Invented the insulated tumbler category

Potential Drawbacks

  • Only keeps drinks hot/cold for 6-8 hours
  • Not as durable for outdoor use as stainless steel
  • Limited size options compared to other brands

For a plastic insulated cup that offers custom styles and good portability, Tervis is a leading choice.

Stainless steel brands like Yeti or RTIC would be more ideal for rugged outdoor use. But they lack the decorating and color options.

No matter which brand you choose, avoiding microwave use is the safest option. But when you need to briefly reheat in a pinch, Tervis has you covered.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some ideal uses for Tervis tumblers?

Tervis cups make great everyday drinkware for school, office, or travel mugs. Their ability to customize with logos and designs make them popular for corporate promotions and retail businesses. Tervis is also the perfect accessory for poolside and beach adventures to keep your beverages cool.

How long does a Tervis cup keep drinks hot or cold?

Expect around 6-8 hours of temperature retention with a Tervis tumbler. Simple designs perform better than cups with elaborate decorations or logos. Thicker 24 oz models also tend to retain heat/cool better than thinner 16 oz cups.

Can you put Tervis cups in the dishwasher?

Yes, Tervis tumblers are top rack dishwasher safe. Use gentle settings and avoid high heat drying. Hand washing is recommended for longest life.

Do all Tervis lids fit every Tervis cup?

Lids are made to fit specific cup sizes like 16oz or 24oz. Generic lids in matching colors can be purchased for universal fit. Each decorative lid design is made for a certain Tervis cup, so ensure it’s made for your specific model before ordering.

Does Tervis make different styles like water bottles or mugs?

In addition to traditional tumblers, Tervis offers water bottles, mugs, stemless glasses, and more. Water bottles have screw on lids and plastic straws while mugs have permanent easy-grip handles. There are also Tervis coffee mugs with cafe style lids (related: Are Coffee Mugs Suitable for Microwave Use?).

Is it safe to let kids or pregnant women use Tervis cups?

To limit chemical exposure from any type of plastic, avoid microwave use. Babies and pregnant women especially should not drink from microwaved Tervis containers. For kids over 3 years old, Tervis makes a great drop-proof mug if microwaving is avoided.

Can metal Tervis designs be microwaved?

Any Tervis Tumbler with metallic elements like decorative paint or logos should NOT be used in the microwave. The metal can damage the microwave and get extremely hot. Always check the bottom of cups for the “do not microwave” sticker if unsure.

How do I wash Tervis lids and straws?

Lids and straws should be hand washed only with warm soapy water. Avoid high heat and let pieces air dry before re-assembling. Do not put lids, straws, or handles in the dishwasher.


Tervis tumblers are a cool way to show off your unique style while keeping drinks tasty. Their insulating properties work well for maintaining temperatures on the go.

While microwave use is possible, it’s best limited to 30 seconds at a time. To prevent plastic degradation and leaching, microwaving Tervis cups routinely is not recommended.

For occasional rapid reheating or defrosting though, Tervis has you covered. Just be sure to follow all safety guidelines.

With some basic care, your personalized Tervis can be your favorite on-the-go companion for years. Never use a boring gas station coffee mug again!

So bring your Tervis tumbler along and tell the world what you’re passionate about. Just don’t nuke it too long and you’ll avoid any problems with the lifetime guarantee.

Your warm or frosty beverage will thank you!

By Rosie Elliott

I’m Rosie. I’m a professional chef with experience in Western, Mediterranean, and Italian cuisine. I’ve been cooking for over 15 years, and I have two daughters that keep me busy!

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