Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Is Your Pottery Microwave Safe?

Microwave ovens are now a common feature in most kitchens. Their use both to heat and cook food means a wide range of ceramics is being used in microwave ovens. However the question remains….Is all pottery microwave safe?

Technically this question is a little more complex than it appears. There are general rules such as:-
do not use ceramics decorated with gold, silver or precious metal in microwave ovens”

 Indeed ceramic with any metal should not be used in a microwave oven. However additional rules depend on recognising which type of ceramic is being used. For the consumer this is not an easy task.

All ceramics are not the same!

Ceramics are now made all over the world and it is not always easy to establish their source or quality or type. However ceramics that have been fired to a high temperature and are non porous are generally considered to be acceptable for use in microwave ovens. These ceramics include stoneware, porcelain, bone china, and vitreous cookware. Other ceramics which have not been fired to a high temperature have to be used with caution. For these type of product to be used safely there is a need to ensure that they are both dry and have not absorbed water. This can happen in many circumstances particularly during washing or in storage in the fridge. These products need extensive safety instructions to be used safely.

Top brands help the consumer by labelling their products as ‘microwave safe’. Less well known products cannot give this assurance and often do not label at all. So buyer beware and if in doubt do not use in a microwave. Look out for BS or CE standards as a sign of meeting a quality standard.

In summary, most high fired ceramics are suitable for microwave oven use. Lookout for the labelling used by branded products to give reassurance on acceptability for microwave oven use. If in doubt “keep out” is a good motto to remember!

Why not test your pottery knowledge with my quick pottery quiz

More information and other technical articles on pottery and ceramics can be found at my website The Potters Friend

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  1. If not all ceramics are the same, than if I get ceramic tiles does it matter what type of ceramic I get?

    1. Hi Phil,
      Sorry for the delay in responding. You are correct in thinking that it matters what tiles you use in each location. The detail has been covered in one of my previous blogs

      Hope this helps?

  2. I enjoyed reading your work. I'll come back for more

    Keep up the good work :) from, Home Buys Plus

  3. Hi.. what if ceramic pots r decorated with colours then these pots microwavable? Which colours r food n microwave safe to decorate pots?

  4. Hi Suvama. Colour applied on top of the glaze provided it is correctly formulated and fired should be acceptable for microwave use. Metallic colour is not acceptable eg gold, platinum and silver.

  5. Thank you again for all the knowledge you distribute,Good post. I was very interested in the article, it's quite inspiring I should admit. I like visiting you site since I always come across interesting articles like this one.Great Job, I greatly appreciate that.Do Keep sharing! Regards,

  6. Interesting and informative. I have an extensive collection of Frankoma. Is it safe to microwave?

    1. Hi Pauline,I am not so familiar with Frankoma ware but the following is advice from Frankoma's own website:

      Regardless of age, Frankoma dinnerware should first be inspected for chips and crazing. Frankoma items in excellent condition can then be used in the oven and dishwasher. Regarding microwave usage, we recommend using most Frankoma pieces only for reheating food for short periods of time only. We do not recommend microwave cooking for extended durations.


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