Is it safe to boil water in a microwave


Our electric kettle broke. So this morning I used the microwave to boil water for the first cup of coffee.

Only thing is – the water in south Africa is not really the best of quality when you get it from the tap. I presume using a kettle kills of some of the bacteria that is still in the water.

So my question is:

Is it safe to boil water in the microwave and then consuming it in coffee? What other complication might boiling water in the microwave bring other than from a bacterial point of view?

Best Answer

There is one very different issue to be kept in mind - water in a microwave can overheat and "explode" once it is disturbed.

Another poster had exactly this problem a short while ago: Water exploded in Microwave

So follow the usual precautions, e.g. putting a wooden toothpick or a small, very clean stone (chemists have them in their labs) in your vessel. In a pinch, a spoon will do, but not all microwaves handle metal objects well.

If you are worried that heating your water in a microwave might not be sufficient to kill all "nasties", remember that killing bacteria is a function of time and temperature, so you might feel safer if you not only bring your water to a boil, but continue boiling it for another minute or so. I would assume that this is mostly for your psychological benefit, but it certainly won't hurt. The temperature reached is identical for different heating devices as physics dictates the boiling point of water and it can't exceed that as long as it's liquid.