Is it Right to Boil Water in a Microwave?

The first microwave was invented in the 1940s. Since then, it has become a staple household appliance.

The microwave is a unique tool, one that eases kitchen work, and helps you to get things done faster. So, it is right to say that a microwave is a versatile appliance.

But then, answers to questions regarding its safety, especially if it is right to boil water in a microwave, remain elusive. So, that’s the goal of this article – to review whether you can boil water in a microwave, if it is safe, and the necessary precautions to take.

boil water in a microwave
Photo Credit: Mitaan Express

Is it safe to boil water in a microwave?

Microwaves heat water by using electromagnetic waves to cause rapid movement and friction between molecules of water.

A particular study examining the effect of microwave temperatures on the properties of water found that microwaves have the potential to heat water to boiling point (1).

However, it is worth noting that the electromagnetic waves that are typical of microwaves heat molecules of water in random spots. This implies that if the water is not sufficiently heated, pockets of boiling water may form beneath a cooler layer.

As such, it is important to stir microwaved water before usage. Water should also be microwaved in a microwave-safe cup.

To better control the temperature, you are better off using other heating methods such as the stovetop.

There’s still some controversy surrounding the health effects of microwaves. There is no definite proof that microwaves cause cancer. This indicates that it is a safe method of heating (2).

Precautions to take while boiling water in a microwave

It is safe and easy to boil water in the microwave no doubt, but it is also important that one takes certain precautions.

Hot water causes damaging effects on the skin, so, you should take precautions to avoid spilling it. Ensure that you use hot pads when removing taking the water out from the microwave.

When boiling water in a microwave, use only the approved containers. Never use glass or plastic unless it is rated “microwave safe.” It is also worth noting that metals should never be used in a microwave.

One may also get burnt from the steam vapor. So, make sure you protect your skin. Allow the water to be slightly cooled before placing your hands above the water.

Follow the usage instructions with great care before making use of your microwave to boil water. Be familiar with the device’s settings, power output, and suitable containers.

The right way to boil water in a microwave

Microwaving water is a quick and simple process. Here you go:

  • Choose a bowl that’s considered microwave safe. Ceramic bowls and glass bowls are the best options.
  • Pour the water into an unsealed vessel.
  • Place an object in the water (non-metallic). The object will prevent the superheating of the water. A popsicle stick or chopstick would be a good option.
  • Heat the water in short intervals. Stir after 1-2 minutes until the water is completely boiled.
  • Check if the water is superheated. You may do this by tapping the side of each bowl. Tapping causes a slight disturbance of the molecules, thus releasing the trapped heat.
  • When removing the container, do it with great care. Use hot pads to prevent heating.

The water you’ve boiled can serve many purposes including making tea, cooking, making hot coffee or cocoa.

In conclusion

There’s nothing bad about boiling water in a microwave. It is safe and convenient.

You should only boil small quantities of water in a microwave. Why? Because the microwaves do not distribute heat evenly.

Current research has found no evidence that boiling water in a microwave has any negative effects on health.

So, when next you want to boil water speedily, use your microwave.