Can You Microwave Napkins? (Answered)

Categorized as Microwave Safety
microwave napkins

You’ve just made your lunch and are about to heat it up in the microwave when you realize you don’t have any paper towels. You rummage through the kitchen drawers, but they’re all empty.

Suddenly, you remember that there’s a cloth napkin on the table. You hesitate for a moment, unsure if it’s safe to use a cloth napkin in the microwave. After all, you don’t want your lunch to end up covered in lint.

So, Can You Microwave Napkins?

Yes, you can microwave napkins. There are two different types of napkins: cloth and disposable. Both types can be used in the microwave.

Cloth napkins are a great option for eco-friendly households. They can be used multiple times before being laundered, so they don’t create a lot of waste as disposable napkins do.

Disposable napkins are the most common type of napkin. They’re usually made out of paper and can be thrown away after one use.

Disposable napkins are perfect for when you need a quick and easy way to clean up messes. They’re also great for packing sandwiches or snacks for on the go.

When it comes to using napkins in the microwave, there is a big difference between using cloth napkins and disposable napkins.

With disposable napkins, you should never let them touch the food that you are microwaving. This is because they can stick to the food.

Why Do You Cover Food with Napkins in the Microwave?

Many of us just throw a paper towel or napkin over our food without a second thought. We may put a paper towel over our food to avoid splatters, but do we really know why we’re doing that?

Turns out, there are a few good reasons to cover your food with a napkin when microwaving it.

First of all, it helps to ensure even heating. This is important because if one part of your food is undercooked or overcooked, it can ruin the entire dish. By covering your food with a napkin, you’re ensuring that all of the food will be cooked evenly.

Secondly, covering your food helps to keep it moist. When food is microwaved without a napkin, it can often become dried out and taste bland. By keeping the moisture in, you’re able to retain more of the flavor and create a tastier dish.

Lastly, covering your food can help to keep it safe. This is because the moist heat created by the napkin can help to kill bacteria. Bacteria can cause food poisoning, so it’s important to take precautions against them whenever possible.

Will napkins burn in the microwave?

Napkins, like most other paper products, will burst into flame if heated to a high enough temperature. In theory, this could happen if you get the temperature up to around 480 degrees Fahrenheit.

However, in practice, it’s very unlikely a napkin will catch fire in the microwave. This is because the napkins won’t effectively absorb enough microwaves to heat up to this temperature.

So, while it is technically possible for a napkin to catch fire in the microwave, it’s not something you need to worry about.

Nonetheless, it’s always important to be aware of potential dangers when using appliances like microwaves.  Napkins are generally safe to heat in the microwave, but be sure to check the label just in case.

And if you’re ever unsure about whether or not something is safe to heat in the microwave, it’s always better to be safe than sorry and avoid doing so altogether.

How To Use Napkins in the Microwave

Now that we’ve answered the question, “Can you microwave napkins?” it’s time to talk about how to use them in the microwave.

  1. Take your leftovers out of the fridge and place them in a microwave-safe dish.
  2. Cover the food with a napkin. Use several napkins if necessary to completely cover the food.
  3. Place the plate in the microwave and heat the food according to your desired time and temperature.
  4. Once the food is heated, carefully remove the plate from the microwave.
  5. Carefully remove the napkins from the top of the dish. Beware of steam!

Alternatives to Using Napkins in the Microwave

If you’re not a fan of using napkins in the microwave, there are a few alternatives that you can use. Here’re a few of the most popular ones:

1. Glass lids

One of the best materials for microwave lids is glass. Glass lids are made of a nonporous surface, which means they won’t absorb any liquids or odors from the food.

The glass is also designed to handle high temperatures. This means you won’t have to worry about the risk of the glass shattering or breaking.

Best of all, glass doesn’t produce dangerous chemicals when heated, so you can feel confident that your food is safe.

2. Paper Plates

Paper plates are another great alternative to using napkins in the microwave. One thing to keep in mind is that not all paper plates are microwave-safe.

Some are coated with plastic, which can release harmful toxins when heated up. For this reason, it’s important to only use paper plates that have been marked as microwave-safe.

If you can’t find a microwave-safe symbol on the packaging, you can also visit the manufacturer’s website to double-check.

3. Paper Towels

Paper towels are another common kitchen item that can be used in place of napkins. As with paper plates, it’s important to make sure the paper towels you’re using are microwave-safe since some are made with plastic.

4. Ceramic Plates

Ceramic plates are another good option for microwaving your food. While we should always be careful when dealing with ceramics made in China, most glazes are safe in the microwave.

Ceramic plates are a good choice because they are durable and can withstand the heat of the microwave. They are also easy to clean and can be used over and over again.

5. Wax Paper

Compared to plastic, wax paper is a much safer alternative to use in the microwave.

Plastic containers and wraps can release harmful chemicals into your food when heated, but wax paper is made up of just paraffin wax and paper. This means that it’s safe to use in the microwave without any risk of chemical contamination.

6. Parchment Paper

Lastly, we have parchment paper. Parchment paper is often used in the microwave to prevent foods from sticking to the dish or to create a barrier between the food and the dish.

The silicone coating on parchment paper allows it to hold heated steam next to the food. This is particularly helpful for foods that tend to become soggy when microwaved.


So, can you microwave napkins? The answer is yes, but it’s important to check the label first to make sure they are safe to use. If you’re not sure, there are plenty of other materials that can be used in place of napkins, such as glass lids, paper plates, paper towels, ceramic plates, wax paper, or parchment paper.

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!