Can I Microwave Melamine Safely?

Updated on January 10, 2013
M.S. asks from Troutdale, OR
7 answers

I have found a couple of microwave frozen dinners, and of course left overs that my kids like. But, I have to take it out of the plastic it came in, put it on a ceramic plate, microwave it, then transfer to a kid safe plate. This seems SO redundant and makes more dishes. I have a couple of kids melamine plates that I was wondering if it was safe to microwave. I know that most plastics aren't, hence the ceramic plates. Do any of you great mamas and papas know? Thanks in advance!!

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answers from Portland on

Actually most plastics can be used in the microwave with some exceptions. I learned the hard way that microwaving anything containing primarily tomatoes with some oil does cause stains in a Rubbermaid storage container.

Some people are concerned about toxins leaching out of the plastic into the food. I have read that we cannot get enough toxins in the small amount of plastics and time we use plastic to endanger our health. I do limit the times that I microwave in plastic storage containers.

Melamine is a different kind of plastic. It has different ingredients and it's surface is much more smooth and without pores. It's surface is slick and solid unlike storage containers.

We had Melamine dishes when I was a child 55 years ago. Once we had a microwave we used Melamine in the microwave only to heat food. Some research suggests that when it's heated to an extremely hot temperature it will bubble and release a toxic chemical. I believe it to be totally safe when use to only heat foods for a short period of time. I wouldn't cook foods in melamine.

Later: I did find that some Melamine type dishes do say microwaveable and one site I looked at said to use only Melamine that says it's microwaveable. I agree with MartyMOMMA's description of what happens to Melamine when it's used for cooking rather than just heating.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Why not microwave in the containers the dinners come in? They are made for the microwave.

We are in the plastics industry and there is all this hype about plastic and the microwave but in reality.... to get enough "bad" stuff in your food or BPA in your body, you would have to inject yourself with it daily for a long time to cause damage to your body.

We sell materials that are used to make these containers as well as many other plastic items and there are FDA guidelines with manufacturing that must be used.

Relax, and use the container the food comes in and save dishwater and time.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

unless is states its Microwave safe, then dont. What is said that Melamine absorbs heat much more quickly than other plastics. It can become unstable in the quick heating microwaving process. Where the plate itself can become hotter than the food, and sometimes scorch or crack. There is no definitive proof, but some say it causes bubbles in the plastic that can leach into food. I did find some sites that said its safe as long as your keeping it under 3 or so minutes. Anything above that, use a Microwavable plate.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

My son is nearly 10 now, but all of the "kid" character plates we still have hanging around here say "not for the microwave" very clearly on the bottoms.
For the microwave, glass is the way to go.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

No. Melamine was made before the time of constant microwaving. It is not made of the same safe materials they are made with today.

I don't get why you have to take a microwave frozen dinner out of the container it comes in to microwave it. They are made to go in the microwave to cook. Then they eat out of the same dish. Then it throws away. No dishes, no mess, no problems.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

I copied this little snippet:

"Is it Safe to Use Melamine Tableware in a Microwave Oven?

It is fire and heat-resistant. Thus, if you have been using it in microwaves, you won't find it catching fire or getting charred. However, it tends to absorb the radiation and heat. This makes one wonder if it safe to use in a microwave. The answer is 'NO', because it tends to absorb the radiation and this makes it highly dangerous.

If it absorbs enough heat, it will become unstable and release bubbles as it breaks down in structure. It contains nitrogen that does not allow it to burn. Thus, it just breaks down to its original element like urea and cyromazine. These two compounds are extremely dangerous and, if ingested they can prove to be highly toxic.

Experts have found melamine to be harmful when inhaled, swallowed or absorbed through the skin. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has found that when melamine and cyanuric acid enters the bloodstream it forms crystals that can block the renal tubes leading to kidney damage. Thus, heating it in microwave ovens is a big No-No."

Why not just cook the frozen dinners in the containers they come in - they ARE designed to be used in the microwave!! Same with left-over containers - most are safe but I would check the packaging they came in; it will say whether they are, or are not, safe for the microwave.

Good luck!!


answers from Jacksonville on

I did when I was in college, but I seem to recall reading somewhere along the way that it was not good to do that. That some of the chemicals can leach out?
I wouldn't. I would just use what the frozen stuff comes in (it is designed for it after all) and put leftovers on a ceramic plate.

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