Can You Put Saran Wrap in the Microwave?

Saran wrap, also known as plastic wrap or cling wrap, is an amazing tool for keeping food fresh and protected. After refrigerating your food in saran wrap, it can be convenient to microwave it in it as well. So, is it safe?

If you are worried about saran wrap burning in the microwave, it is safe to put it in the microwave as long as it’s marked microwave safe. However, before you go ahead and do it, you must know that the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has advised against it in some cases. Many use it without this assurance, but it could potentially lead to chemical intrusion into your food. Without being marked microwave-safe, it should be avoided. 

How long is it safe to microwave Saran Wrap?

Although it is safe to use saran wrap in the microwave, it’s best not to microwave it at high power for more than two minutes. It’s better to microwave your food for longer at a lower power setting. At a low-power setting, you should be able to microwave food covered in saran wrap for up to 20 minutes.

Use Only Microwave Safe Wraps 

Yes, you can feel free to use saran wrap in the microwave, and many do it without giving it a second thought. However, the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has advised against it in some cases. 

According to the FDA, saran wrap should only be used in the microwave if it is labeled microwave safe. To qualify for this, the FDA requires the plastic wrap to possess a less than 1% chance of leeching PVC into food. 

Many of the major brands of plastic wrap qualify for this, and Saran Wrap is no exception. The company uses safe polyethylene that is safe to use in the microwave. 

You may have heard that saran wrap used in the microwave is associated with cancer; however, that link is far from established. According to the U.K. Cancer Research Institute, there is no evidence to substantiate that claim. 

Regardless, melting saran wrap into your food certainly can’t do your health any good. So, remember to stay within the temperature bounds on the labeling. With saran wrap, that is below 220-250° Fahrenheit. Within this range, it may start to melt, so just be careful to remain below that, and you can place it in the microwave safely. 

Now, let’s talk about how to safely use saran wrap in the microwave. 

How To Use Saran Wrap In the Microwave

It is safe to place saran wrap in the microwave, but you should be careful how you use it. Depending on the food and how it is placed, it could cause it to become too hot and melt into your food. So check out the tips on how to use it safely. 

  • Avoid Contact With Food: One of the biggest things to avoid is directly resting saran wrap against food. This can cause the wrap to mix into the food if it begins to melt at high temperatures. 
  • Leave a Gap: By leaving a gap between your food and the saran wrap, you can ensure they do not come into contact and mix. At least a one-inch gap will help reduce the chances of contact and give room to lower the chances of splatter. 
  • Leave Ventilation: Saran wrap is airproof, so it is important to make ventilation to help hot air escape and prevent bursting. All you have to do is poke some holes in the wrap, and your food is ready to microwave. 
  • Avoid Oily Foods: We don’t mean to avoid eating oily foods, though your arteries may thank you. What we mean is to try and avoid using saran wrap over it in the microwave. These foods tend to heat up much more, and if the oil comes into contact with the wrap, it can melt and mix with the material. 
  • Take 5 Minute Breaks: To avoid the risk of exceeding the temperature bounds of the saran wrap, try to cook in five-minute intervals. For long cooking times, try to keep your microwave’s temperature low as well. 
  • Do Not Eat Corrupted Food. If you suspect that saran wrap may have melted and potentially mixed with any food, do not eat it. When consumed, this material can be poisonous and cause you considerable harm. Just throw it away and save yourself some stomach aches.

How To Choose a Saran Wrap for the Microwave

Now that you know some saran wraps are safe to use in the microwave, and some are not, you are probably wondering how you should choose. So, let’s talk about that.

  • Labeled Microwave Safe: We have said it before, and we will say it again; check the label. There are still many saran wraps that do not have this label and are not safe to use in the microwave.
  • Quality Materials: Always try to choose a saran wrap made with safe polyethylene and bisphenol A (BPA) free. With these two assurances, you can know your saran wrap won’t be leaking dangerous chemicals into your food. For this, the Saran Brand plastic wrap is suitable.
  • Consider Your Options: Saran Brand Wrap is certainly not the only variety of plastic wrap out there. Other brands such as Stretch-Tite, Glad Press’n Seal, and Kirkland’s are popular alternatives that you can consider. All of these brands and more are very likely in your local supermarket, and they are all microwave safe, so you can feel free to cook with them.

Is it Safe to Eat Food That Has Melted Saran Wrap on It?

If you happen to eat some melted saran wrap, it will probably not cause any immediate problems. It will likely just pass through your system.

However, people were not meant to eat plastic. It is a petroleum product and can have harmful effects on your system. It can deplete your body’s supply of vitamins A, D, E, and K.

It’s really best not to let the plastic wrap touch the food at all if you can avoid it. This is true of a number of plastic containers as well as saran wrap. It is thought that some of the chemicals in plastic containers may cause health problems, including cancer.

So, probably no need to panic if you eat some melted plastic wrap once. But, you may be harming your health if you do it too often.

What About Non-Microwavable Plastic Wraps?

You may notice a lot of saran wraps marked microwave-safe in your supermarket, and this is because they have been approved by the FDA. As long as you are purchasing your plastic wrap in your local supermarket instead of online, chances are it is microwave safe as these wraps must comply with stringent standards applied by the FDA.

However, if you purchase your saran wrap online, you must be cautious. These wraps are far more likely to be unsafe for use in a microwave and may not even be designed for food use at all. You may not want to choose the cheapest option and instead opt for the same brands you would find in a supermarket.

Saran Wrap

Saran wrap is a thin, stretchable plastic material designed to provide protection for food. Named after one of its original inventor’s wife and daughter, Sarah and Ann, respectively, this thin, stretchy wrap was first sold commercially by the Dow Chemical Company in 1953 in rolls to be used for preserving food in the microwave. 

Subsequently, the Saran Wrap brand was purchased by S.C. Johnson. The wrap is typically made with low-density polyethylene (LDPE), a light plastic with low permeability. Older wraps and some current brands use polyvinylidene chloride.  However, the prevalence of this older style of wrap has declined due to growing awareness of its risks to health and the environment. 

Related Questions

Is it necessary to cover food in a microwave?

It’s not necessary to cover your food while microwaving it, but it’s a good idea. Covering the food helps it heat more evenly. Also, as long as you don’t use an airtight container, it will help keep your microwave cleaner.

Are there any good alternatives to saran wrap for the microwave?

Saran wrap is incredibly convenient, but there are some really good alternatives, and the first one you very likely have in your kitchen already. You can always cover your food with paper towels before you put it in your microwave. Often it’s good to put a few of them in to catch all the spatter, and you can even use the paper towels to wipe off your microwave when you are done.

Another option is microwave-safe silicone suction lids. These are great for sealing your food in any container with just a push. Then, you can just slightly remove them before microwaving to let heat and steam escape.

Final Thoughts

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Saran wrap makes storing our leftovers fast, easy, and leaves them fresher for longer. Hopefully, now you can make the process of heating your food as easy as storing it. As long as you follow the safety tips in this article, your food can be safely heated with saran wrap included. 

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