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Microwave Safe Tape | Does It Exist?

“Is this thing microwavable?” I ask myself that question all the time when I’m looking to throw a plate of food in the microwave. Luckily for me, dishes usually have a little stamp on the bottom that tells you if it is. Unfortunately, tape rolls don’t usually have this marking as well.

While not so easily identified, there are tapes that are microwave safe. Although, there are caveats to using them for this purpose.


Some tape varieties are microwave safe. Cellulose tape is microwave safe because it is made of materials that do not melt and release harmful chemicals. Freezer tape is microwave safe because it is made to withstand a wide range of temperatures.

Cellulose Tape Can Be Used in the Microwave

Cellulose tape, a clear tape commonly used on stationary and to package boxes, can be used in the microwave.

It is ideally used for short periods of time as opposed to semi-permanent repairs to the microwave itself.

Composition

Cellulose tape is a transparent tape made of cellulose acetate film. To make it sticky, it is treated with a rubber-based solvent or an acrylic-based adhesive. 

Cellulose acetate is a material that is made from the fibrous cell walls of plants, often cotton and various trees.

The plant fibers are treated with acetic acid, which breaks down the material, allowing it to be processed into a pulp and then extruded into a sheet-like form. 

Once extruded, the cellulose is made into tape by cutting it into thinner strips, which are then treated with a layer of adhesive made of acrylic polymers or natural rubber-based resin.

How It Is Adapted for Use in the Microwave

Cellulose tape is safe to use in the microwave due to a few of its key characteristics.

Since cellulose is made from plant fibers, as opposed to plastic material, it will not melt in the microwave or release harmful chemicals as some other tapes may do

Man pulling a cellulose tape

That’s a plus for use in the microwave and also for the environment! Biodegradable cellulose tape creates less waste than plastic tape varieties.

The adhesives used on cellulose tape are also not toxic when heated. The acrylic or rubber resin adhesives may degrade in the heat of the microwave, making them less effective, but they do not release harmful fumes when heated. 

Is It Actually Helpful in the Microwave?

Although cellulose tape can be used in microwaves, it may not be the best material for your intended purpose. 

When you think of a typical roll of clear tape sitting on an office desk, you are most likely picturing a roll of cellulose tape.

Cellulose tape is most commonly used for packaging items in bags and cardboard boxes. It is also often used for tasks such as gift wrapping because it creates a seal that is easily torn by hand, unlike other heavy-duty tapes, such as duct tape. 

Although the lightweight nature of cellulose tape works well for these tasks, it may not be ideal for use in the microwave.

The rubber-based or acrylic adhesives used on cellulose tape are not manufactured to handle large changes in temperature.

The microwave, an appliance whose purpose is to heat things up, would effectively break down the tape’s adhesive.

Cellulose tape may function decently enough if you plan to use it in the microwave for short periods of time. For example, maybe you need to close a bag of food before you heat it up for a minute. 

However, using cellulose tape to make any sort of repairs to your microwave is not advised. This lightweight tape is not durable enough to endure multiple heatings. 

Where to Find the Tape

You can find cellulose tape at just about any supermarket. It is commonly sold in packaging aisles, office supply aisles, or even in crafting aisles.

Office supply stores such as OfficeMax and Office Depot carry cellulose tape.

Hardware stores such as Home Depot and Menards will carry more options if you are looking for a particular size or brand of cellulose tape. These cellulose tape options may also be more suitable for home use instead of office use.

Online stores also carry a variety of types and brands of cellulose tape.

WOD BCST Biodegradable Packaging Tape, Clear, 1/2 inch x 72 yds (Pack of 3) Cellophane Stationery Eco Friendly Tape for Carton Sealing, Moving, Shipping, & Office
  • ENVIRONMENTTALLY FRIENDLY - WOD Cellophane Carton Sealing Tape is durable and promises to keep all types of boxes sealed. This eco-friendly clear transparent tape holds very well and does not come off...
  • FOR YOUR HOME OR BUSINESS - WOD Biodegradable Tape is designed to use for sealing, attaching, and mending carton boxes. Overfilled Cellophane bags can be sealed quickly and perfectly with this tape....
  • EASY APPLICATION AND DISPENSABILITY - WOD packing tape can be dispensed with hands (tears by hand) and scissors or with a tape gun or a tape dispenser as it will fit perfectly. This transparent tape...
  • MUST HAVE FOR SHIPPING AND ELECTRONICS BUSINESS - WOD Cellophane Sealing Tape works great for light packing and strapping jobs. A 20lb package can be packed with this tape perfectly with no fear of...

Last update on 2023-02-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Average Cost

On average, a roll of cellulose tape will cost you anywhere from $2 to $8. That’s about $0.02 cents per foot of tape.

More expensive rolls may be manufactured with higher-quality cellulose and adhesive materials.

The extra few dollars may be worth your money, as these tapes usually perform way better than their lower-budget counterparts.

Keep in mind that buying rolls in bulk may lower the average cost, and thicker rolls will cost more money.

Freezer Tapes Can Be Used in the Microwave

Freezer tapes, although named after an appliance that does the opposite job of a microwave, can be used in the microwave. This is because they are made to withstand a wide range of temperatures.

Composition

Freezer tape is a form of masking tape. Masking tape is made of thin, tearable paper that is easily removed from objects after it has been attached. Other masking tapes include painter’s tape.

Woman pulling a masking tape

Unlike other masking tapes, the adhesive on freezer tapes (made out of acrylic polymers) is specifically engineered to keep its stickiness in low temperatures.

Traditional tape becomes hard and brittle when put in a freezer. The acrylic adhesive on freezer tape has a lower freezing point, so it keeps its stickiness and strong bond even in the freezer.

You can apply freezer tape to items at any temperature above 20 °F (-6 °C). It will remain adhesive down to temperatures as low as -15 °F (-26 °C).

How It Is Adapted for Use in the Microwave

Although specifically made for frigid temperatures, the composition of freezer tape allows it to be used in the microwave as well. 

Plastic tape varieties may melt in the microwave and release harmful toxins. Since freezer tape is made out of paper, it will not melt onto food, containers, or the microwave itself when it is heated. 

The Scotch Freezer Tape (amazon link) even mentions that their product is safe “from freezer to microwave.”

The adhesive formula that allows it to keep its stickiness in cold temperatures also helps in warm ones. The adhesive does not create harmful fumes when heated in the microwave. 

Is It Actually Helpful in the Microwave?

The intended purpose for freezer tape is (unsurprisingly) to be used on items that are going in the freezer. It adheres well to plastic wrap, foil, paper, and other containers.

Since it is a paper masking tape, it is often used to label items. It can also be used to seal containers. 

So, if you plan to thaw something in the microwave and it has freezer tape on it, you don’t need to worry about taking the tape off. It will not cause harm to you or the microwave.

That being said, we can also consider if freezer tape is actually helpful in the microwave. 

Similar to cellulose tape, freezer tape is not used for heavy-duty repairs. It is not recommended that you use freezer tape for any repairs on your microwave. 

Freezer tape can be used to seal food bags and containers that will only be in the microwave for a minute or two. 

The adhesive used in freezer tape is engineered to last longer in cold temperatures, not hot. So, although it has a wider temperature range in which its adhesiveness works well, it will eventually lose its stickiness in the hot microwave as well.

Where to Find the Tape

You can find freezer tape in a variety of stores.

Many grocery stores sell freezer tape, as it is mainly used for labeling food items. Hardware stores, such as Ace Hardware and Fleet Farm, sell freezer tape in the kitchenware or labeling ailes. 

You can also find freezer tape at online stores.

Scotch Freezer Tape, 0.75 in x 1000 in, 1 Roll/Pack (178)
  • Quickly identify frozen food content in a freezer with labels that hold up to hold up up to -40°F
  • This tape sticks easily and tight on even bulky, odd shaped items because of this special low-temperature adhesive
  • Ideal for a variety of surface like paper, film and foil
  • Surface is writable to included details such as date packaged and item contents

Last update on 2023-02-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Average Cost

Freezer tape will cost an average of about $4 per roll. That adds up to about $0.08 per foot of tape. 

Cellulose tape was about $0.02 per foot of tape, so freezer tape is typically more expensive.

However, considering the other uses of both tapes, you can decide which tape would be more useful for your household. 

Sources

https://www.scapaindustrial.com/products/tape-product-types-scapa/cellulose-tape#:~:text=What%20is%20Cellulose%20Tape%3F,packaging%2C%20sealing%20and%20splicing%20applications.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072LMG1Q7?tag=hvacbuzz-20,frozen%20foods%20and%20storage%20bins.

https://phoenix-tape.com/resources/2021/02/04/what-is-unique-about-freezer-tape/

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