Saran wrap or plastic wrap, also known as cling wrap is often used by people to cover food when they are reheating leftovers in the microwave. However, can you put saran wrap in the microwave? Is it safe?
Yes, you can put saran wrap in the microwave, however, there is a lot more you need to know before you place saran wrap inside the microwave.
Continue reading to find out more.
What is a saran wrap? What is it made up of?
Saran wrap is a plastic film that is used to cover food in containers. Since it is air-tight, the food remains fresh for long periods.
Types of saran wraps
Did you know that there are a total of 4 different kinds of saran wraps available in the market? They are differentiated based on the material that they are made up of, which corresponds to their respective properties.
Polyvinylidene Chloride (PVDC) Saran wrap
PVDC saran wrap works great at higher temperatures that are 140°C to 180°C. Most of the microwave-safe saran wraps are made up of PVDC which is ideal and completely safe to go inside the microwave.
Polymethylpentene (PMP) Saran wrap
Polymethylpentene saran wraps are the most common type of saran wraps. The one lying in one of your kitchen cabinets is probably made up of PMP. They also work great just as PVDC saran wraps and are microwave safe.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) saran wrap
This kind of saran wrap is suitable only to cover foods that are at room temperature or lower temperatures. This includes fruits and vegetables etc. and must be avoided coming in contact with leftover food.
Polythene Saran wrap (PE)
This type of saran wrap is easily available at grocery stores. This is mainly used to wrap meats, poultry, seafood, vegetables, and fruits; however, this is not microwave safe. Remove this wrap before you put your items in the small microwave.
Can you put Saran Wrap in the microwave?
We are sure that you might have also heard about the rumors that food that has been heated in plastic wraps inside the microwave can cause cancer.
However, despite these claims, many people continue to use plastic wraps to heat their leftovers in the microwave.
If you’re also one of those people who are using saran wrap in the microwave, you might as well continue to do so. According to FDA, all saran wraps come with a “microwave safe” label on them. These saran wraps are heat-resistant and non-toxic. They will not cause health issues so nothing is holding you back.
The USDA confirms that you can put saran wrap in the microwave; given the condition that it doesn’t make contact with your food.
How to safely use saran wrap inside the microwave?
The procedure to safely use saran wrap inside the microwave is quite simple.
- Take a clean bowl with high sides.
- Place your food inside the bowl and cover it with saran wrap.
- Punch some holes in the film using a fork or knife.
- Set your microwave at low or medium heat.
- Heat your food for no more than 2 minutes.
What precautions do you need to take while using saran wrap inside a microwave?
You must take all the necessary precautions before microwaving food covered in saran wrap.
- Check if the saran wrap you’re using is labeled as microwave-safe or not.
- Make sure that the food is not touching the saran wrap, especially the foods that have a high-fat content.
- Provide vent holes so that excess heat can escape.
- Food wrapped in saran wrap shouldn’t be microwaved for more than 5 minutes.
- Do not microwave at high temperatures
How long can you microwave saran wrap?
The maximum temperature range for heating plastic wraps is 220° F to 250° F, but it is recommended to lower the temperature up to 150° F. At this temperature, you can heat up your saran wrapped food for about 2 minutes. If the temperature is lowered further, then you can heat it up to 20 minutes.
When should you avoid saran wrap heated food?
There will be times when heating leftovers using saran wraps can go wrong. There may be times where the food touches the wrap, or the temperature is not well maintained, or you have microwaved it for a long time.
These conditions may cause the plastic to deform, melt and get into the food. Ingesting plastic is not a good idea, after all, plastic was not made to be eaten.
Frequently Ask Questions
There are several types of plastic wraps available for general use. Those which come with a label that says “microwave safe” are safe to be used in the microwave. According to FDA (Food and Drug Association), those plastic wraps do not cause cancer when microwaved.
What are microwave-safe plastic wrap alternatives?
A few microwave-safe alternatives to plastic wraps are Bento boxes, silicone bowl covers, extra plates, tin foil, glass jars, oilcloth, fabric bowl covers, parchment cloth, wax cloth, and glass jars, etc. These options are microwave safe, potentially risk-free, and do not harm the environment either.
Can saran wrap be used inside an oven?
Saran wraps are plastic wraps. Even the finest quality wraps cannot withstand the heat of the ovens and melt. There are chances of plastic mixing in with your food and therefore saran wraps
What happens if you eat saran wrap along with your food?
In case you ingest saran wrap, the chemicals present can affect the prostate glands and brain of children. Some researchers have concluded that ingesting plastic can affect behavior patterns in children and induce hypertension. The most common side effect is an upset stomach.
Saran wraps are plastic wraps that are used in every household and are easily available at grocery stores. They abide by the FDA and USDA standards are suitable to be put inside a microwave while heating food.
However, consumers are advised to check labels on the packaging to ensure that the wrap is microwave safe. You need to ensure that the wrap is not touching the food and the temperature is not too high.