Microwaves are modern-day magical beasts that indulge our expectations of instant gratification and rescue children who forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer from the wrath of the parents who told them to do so. However, if you try to nuke the wrong thing, your microwave just might breathe fire.
To answer all your definitely not dumb questions about what the “wrong thing” to microwave actually is, there’s a website called Can You Microwave?. It covers everything from clothes (surprisingly, yes, with a few caveats) to cookie dough (sadly, no), and each entry contains an explanation of why it does or doesn’t belong in a microwave. If the item is safe, the site also provides directions on how best to microwave it.
As Lifehacker reports, the site is organized by category—“Cheese N Stuff,” “Materials,” “Breakfast,” and “Meat,” among others—if you’re interested in exploring, but you can also search for your item in the search bar if you have something specific in mind. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Submit your question on the contact page and wait for an email response.
By including such thorough answers, the site debunks some common myths that may be impacting how you usually use your microwave. For example, though plastic Ziploc containers seem like they should be kept far away from your microwave, they’re actually fine in there. As Can You Microwave? explains, people often think plastic shouldn’t be heated because it contains toxic chemicals called dioxins—but Ziploc doesn’t even manufacture any products with dioxins.
And questions that may sound a little off-the-wall to begin with, like “Can I microwave wine?” often turn out to make perfect sense. The person had refrigerated red wine to preserve it and then had forgotten to let it warm to room temperature before a dinner party. Interestingly enough, the answer was “Yes,” and even pointed to an old New York Times article claiming that sommeliers often use the microwave trick (though they might not admit it).
To learn even more about your microwave, here are 25 things you didn’t know it could do.