General Question

pshizzle's avatar

Will my mug be able to handle being microwaved?

Asked by pshizzle (1100 points ) February 26th, 2012

My aunt came back from Disney World yesterday. As a souvenir, she gave me a mug. Usually on the bottom, it either says “microwave safe” or “not microwave safe.” The bottom of my mug says neither. Help? The reason I put this in general is because I don’t want to hurt myself or anyone else with shards of glass. Otherwise, I would have placed it in social.

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8 Answers

john65pennington's avatar

When in doubt, don’t.

My mother in law brought me a mug back years ago. I warmed up some coffee in it and the paint came off. The paint contained lead.

I was a sick puppy from lead poisioning.

When in doubt, don’t !!

pshizzle's avatar

@john65pennington Thank you very much. Isn’t it illegal to use lead paint? Sorry about your ordeal with lead poisoning by the way. Hope all is well now!

wilma's avatar

I wouldn’t put it in the microwave.
When in doubt, don’t. I say that too John.
Better safe than sorry @pshizzle

pshizzle's avatar

@wilma Thank you very much for your input. For all we know, you could be saving my life! I guess I will have to gulp down my scalding hot drinks. Le sigh. It was a careless mistake on Disney’s part. With the enormous fortune they have, they could at least spend 3 more cents on ink to tell you if it is or isn’t safe to microwave it.

elbanditoroso's avatar

It isn’t the lead paint to worry about, at least not as the major worry.

It’s the clay (or whatever was used to make the mug). You want to be sure that the mug wasn’t made with metallic particles in the clay. (this sometimes happens for weight and/or hardiness).

The problem with metal particles is that they reflect the microwaves (food absorbs microwaves, which is what make stuff get warmer and cook). Metal particles reflect microwaves and can (a) break the mug, (b) damage the inside of the microwave cube, and© explode – if the percentage of metal is too high.

Having said that, you’re probably OK, but why risk trouble?

creative1's avatar

Did she buy it in Disney World?? I would see if its on this Site and if so and it doesn’t tell you on the site then click on the contact us and ask them. They have most of the authentic disney park collectables on this site.

thorninmud's avatar

If the glaze contains lead, then it shouldn’t be used regardless of whether or not you microwave it. Microwaving doesn’t make it more dangerous.

There are a few things that will make a mug unsuitable for microwave use:

If the clay isn’t properly vitrified (not fired to a high enough temperature), then water will soak into the clay and turn to steam in the microwave. This can break the mug. To test for this, turn the mug upside down to expose the unglazed ring at the base. Place a drop of water on the ring and see whether the drop is drawn into the clay or not. If not, then it’s vitrified.

If the decoration has any metallic accents (typically gold) then these can arc in the microwave.

If the glaze contains lots of iron oxide, it can get too hot in the microwave. Test it be putting the empty mug in the microwave alongside a glass of water (the water is to protect the oven). Run it for a minute, then carefully check to see if the mug is hot to the touch. If it is, then don’t use it in the microwave as you risk burning yourself.

If clay has metal added, this will be to create a speckled appearance for visual interest. This is virtually never done with mass produced ceramics; it’s more often seen in artisanal pottery.

Moegitto's avatar

Truthfully speaking, if you have a mug you should keep/have the packing. Some ceramic mugs actually do have a thin sheet or twine of metal in it for structural purposes. I learned the hard way, I was microwaving a mug with just water in it so I could make some hot cocoa. When I went to get the mug out of the microwave I noticed a smell, then I opened the door and my mug was leaning a little. Also, the ceiling of the microwave was blackened. It was already messed up so I went ahead and smashed the mug for fun and I noticed a thin strip of metal in the handle part.

Not all do this though, but that’s why I say read the packaging. Also sometimes the writing on the mug will have lead flakes.

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