Can You Microwave A Solo Cup

Can You Microwave A Solo Cup? – Is It safe?

We are too familiar with Solo cups. They became a part of our lives for so long. They save us from the awful chore of doing the dishes after a night-long party.

Solo cups are the life of parties and other occasions. People too lazy to prepare their coffee or tea in the morning: try to put a Solo cup in the oven. They want to put a Solo cup in the microwave to heat their morning drinks. But can you microwave a Solo cup?

Are Solo cups microwave safe? No. Solo cups are not microwave-friendly. You ought to know more about Solo cups.

What Is A Solo Cup?

A Solo Cup

The Solo Cup is an American brand of disposal (one-time use) plastic receptacle (or cup). The red cup, also known as the Solo Red Cup, obviously because of its color, is the most popular. However, the cup comes in five other colors: blue, clear-orange, clear-blue, clear-green, and sometimes solid pink (in support of breast cancer awareness).

The Solo cups are thick molded polystyrene materials that are easily stackable, disposable, and withstand drops. The red color hides drink contents compared to the other light colors. The Solo Red Cup is cheap and popular in schools (colleges & universities), homes, parties, and other events.

The cups have lines for measurements of drinks (alcoholic beverages) you pour into them. Solo cups are tall and broad. They have color on the exterior (red is the most prominent), while it is white on the interior.

Can You Microwave Solo Cups?

Can You Microwave A Solo Cup

This question has been around for so long. But Solo cup is not microwave-friendly. You cannot microwave it for a long time in the oven, even if it contains a beverage or anything you think is microwaveable.

If you want to try microwaving a Solo cup to see what will happen: You should think twice. The Solo cup has been part of our lives for quite some time; we should know its limitations, advantages, and proper use.

But if you have no other container to use to heat your coffee, tea, or soup (whatever): maybe we can advise you of something safer.

Let us say that you are camping or in a very remote place: and there are no other utensils available but your microwave oven and a Solo cup.

And you need a hot coffee. So, you decide to heat your coffee in the microwave.

But first, continue reading and find out more about Solo cups! We will tell you later the possibilities that may happen.

Things To Do Rather Than Microwaving A Solo Cup 

The red Solo cup: like any other plastic, may emit hazardous chemicals (we will talk about them later) once overheated. You should transfer its food content into a microwave-friendly container if you want to rewarm it.

The same with its liquid content (like coffee, chocolate, or tea) if you want to heat it: Pour its content on a microwave-friendly container, like a pot, and heat it on a burner. It is a safe method and takes just a few minutes.

What Happens If You Microwave Solo Cups?

The Solo cup is plastic or polystyrene (No. 6 thermoplastic polystyrene), and like other plastics, they melt at high temperatures. Once they melt, the cup content will spill inside the oven and may damage the gadget.

The No. 6 thermoplastic polystyrene is a cheap material. It is also moldable. However, when heated more than a warmer temperature, the plastic cup may leach harmful chemicals into the liquid it contains.

Although Solo cups do not melt at extra-hot temperature (about 60C), it starts to soften at 100C. However, as you go longer microwaving the cup, it may reach its melting point (240C) within three to five minutes.

The red and blue Solo cups have phthalates and bisphenol (or BPA), two of the most common plasticizers available today. Exposing a plastic Solo cup to high heat in a microwave melts and allows these chemicals to come in contact with heated food and beverages.

Several studies show BPA and phthalates can seep into food or beverages from containers having these chemicals. Exposure to these substances has health effects: on the brain and prostate gland of fetuses, infants, and children.

What Happens If You Microwave A Non-microwavable Mug?

The same thing will happen when you microwave a non-microwavable mug: it cannot withstand the heat. The container most likely melts and releases harmful chemicals into the food or beverage it contains.

At What Temperature Do Solo Cups Start To Melt? 

Although Solo cups are sturdy and firm than ordinary plastic cups, they have low melting temperature than other solid containers. The polystyrene content of Solo cups softens at 100C (212F) and melts at 240C (464F).

How Long Can You Microwave A Solo Cup?

Solo cups may be inside a microwave for only a few seconds (30-45 seconds). Although some plastic containers (thinner ones) start to melt at 170C, Solo cups have a higher melting point (240C). But do not be too assured because you may miss the temperature rise.

During this period, the Solo cup will not get damaged, but it will not heat the liquid in it.

Do Solo Cups Work In The Microwave To Boil Water?

Remember that you cannot microwave Solo cups. It also follows that you cannot use Solo cups in the microwave oven to boil water. Before the water boils, the cup will start to soften and then melts in just a few seconds. It is also harmful to health to ingest the boiled water in the cup.

The presence of hazardous chemicals in the plastic container may leak into the water once the Solo cup melts. To boil water inside a microwave is effortless, but always ensure that you utilize a microwave-friendly cup.

Once the water boils in a microwave-safe mug, you could pour its content into a Solo cup if you want a lightweight coffee container while roaming around.

Are Solo Cups Microwave Safe? 

No, they are not microwave-safe! We suggest you ditch heating your coffee or tea using a Solo cup in the microwave. Solo cups are single-use utensils for parties and other gatherings for drinks.

Plastic products are categorized 1 to 7 as identification if they are reusable, recyclable, or microwave-friendly or not. Solo cups, as we stated, are polystyrene or the usual Styrofoam material and are not microwaveable. Moreover, the red and blue Solo cups fall under category 6, which means they are not for microwave ovens.

Microwave-safe plastic containers are those under Category 5. Materials that fall under this classification are polypropylene plastics (PP). Some of the applications or uses of PP are food packaging and plastic parts in various industries.

The PP comes more heat resistant than polystyrene, making them microwave-safe. You can check the label of the utensils or cutlery you use at home. If they are microwave-friendly, you can read a label that reads ‘Microwave Safe’ on the products.

How To Microwave A Solo Cup? 

A red solo cup

We are not encouraging microwaving a Solo cup. It is not microwave-safe unless labeled as such. As we told you before, if you are in a remote place (or other unusual situations), and you have no other choice: Take these steps to keep you safe.

1. Place a Solo cup in the microwave without the lid.

Set your cup with food or drink without a lid: to avoid exploding due to the accumulation of steam. Regulate the timer appropriate for the cup content. In heating coffee, set the timer between 30 and 60 seconds.

2. Add enough water to the cup so it won’t dry up.

If you are rewarming something with broth, like stew or soup, add a little water to it. It will prevent the soup from drying as water will distribute the heat. But do not put in too much water because it may end up watery.

3. Set it on high heat for a maximum of two minutes

You can set microwaving the Solo cup on low heat if you are afraid it will explode. But it will take you too long. When you are in a rush: set the temperature to high heat for quick heating. Clean the microwave of spills, if there are any when you are finished. Throw away the cup in a recycling bin once you are done eating, and do not use the cup again.

4. Be careful getting the cup from the microwave – it is surely hot!

Always take precautions in removing the cup from the microwave once it undergoes heating. You can use gloves or clean cloth in handling hot food or drinks. Once you learn these tricks and become a pro, ensure safety in everything you do!

Safety Tips Whenever You Are Microwaving A Solo Cup

Again, we are reiterating that a Solo cup can make or break your day when microwaving it out of necessity. Once you have no other option, here are care tips for keeping you safe when microwaving Solo cups.

  • At first, try to microwave a Solo cup for just a few seconds and observe what happens next. Set the timer first within the 30-60-second range so the cup won’t melt. Once you are an expert, do the steps we gave you above.
  • Hold the Solo cup carefully: It will be too hot to handle bare-knuckles when it is time to remove it from the oven. Use the proper hand insulations, like cooking gloves or a heating pad, in getting the cup from the microwave.
  • Do not spill the cup when removing it from the oven. It might burn your skin or damage the interior of the stove.

What Other Options To Use When Heating Drinks?

Microwave ovens are useable in other processes, such as cooking or disinfecting kitchen items, unlike microwave oven toasters. The latter is primarily for toasting solid or processed foods. Here are alternatives you can use when reheating drinks instead of plastic cups.

1. Microwave–friendly mugs

Some of the safest mugs to use in a microwave are the Bosmarlin Ceramic Coffee Mug and the Tervis Insulated Tumbler Mug. We highly recommend these mugs because they are safe, cheap, and will keep your drinks hot longer.

2. Ceramic or glass bowls

The ceramic and glass bowls are microwave-safe, as long as they do not have gold or silver rims. You can try the versatile and BPA-free Homestockplus Unbreakable Cereal Bowls and the Mora Ceramics Hit Pause Travel Coffee Mugs.

3. Disposal cups (but Microwave-safe)

Pick microwave-friendly disposal cups labeled ‘Microwave Safe’ by their manufacturer. If you don’t see a warning sign like this, it is better not to put that cup in the oven.

Is It All Right To Put Plastic Cups In The Microwave?

Many foods and drink storages, serving products, and preparations are common plastics. Putting them in the microwave could accelerate the release of hazardous chemicals like phthalates and BPA. So, unless the plastic product is strictly microwave-safe, avoid microwaving it. Also, keep replacing worn-out and disposable plastic containers with new ones.

Are Solo Paper Cups Microwave Safe?

The Solo paper cups are superbly safe for microwaving. They will not melt, burn, or become sticky inside the oven, unlike other paper cups: But can you microwave all paper cups? Not all of them. Paper cups that are glue-bound are not safe inside the microwave, as is the construction paper. Also, newsprint is not microwaveable.

What type of cups are microwaving safe?

Solo paper cups are microwave-safe. Glass and glass-ceramic cups (without silver or gold rims) are also microwave-friendly.


So, now you know the answer to the question: can you microwave a Solo cup? We advise you not to do it. It is not safe.

But if you are still in doubt about what materials are safe to microwave, read the products’ instructions if they are microwaveable or not. That’s the simplest thing you could do.

Read more: Can You Microwave Toaster Strudels? Detailed Guides To Follow

Gerry Bugas
My name is Gerry Bugas. I am a Co-Founder and COO of Pluto's. I graduated from Cornell University, a school dedicated to researching solutions that improve people’s lives. Over the past 15 years, I have worked in the restaurant industry and have gained an expertise in kitchen equipment and products. Currently, I am the main owner of a website that specializes in evaluating kitchen equipment so that people can shop for the best product for their needs.You can follow me Pinterest-Linkedin.