Unless you want a fire or kitchen disaster, keep these things away from your oven.

Isadora Baum
March 25, 2020
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You use your oven for so many things: roasting Brussels sprouts, making a baked potato and, of course, baking delicious desserts. Yet, there are some things you really shouldn't put in your oven, as they can ruin your dish or cause a disaster in your kitchen.

The last thing you want when cooking is to have a messy cleanup, or worse, set off your fire alarm! So, to keep your baking easy (and safe), here are a few things to keep away from your oven.

Plastics

Plastics will unfortunately melt in the oven, says Alex Lewis, RD, LDN, a dietitian for Baze. Just like how you shouldn't put some plastics in your microwave, "they are equally discouraged for use in the oven," she says.

Most plastics will melt to some extent, depending on the temperature setting you use. "It's best to use cookware explicitly labeled 'oven-safe,'" she says, so check labels first, and if there's plastic in your cookware, nix it. (We love this oven-safe set from Pyrex.)

Wax Paper

"Wax paper is literally paper sandwiched between two thin layers of wax, and it's not heat-resistant, so the wax will melt at high temperatures, leaving the paper exposed," she says. Not to mention, the paper can actually catch fire! Instead, use parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, as they can withstand high temperatures without melting, keeping your home and food safe.

Getty / John Keeble

Glass

Glass is sensitive to intense and rapid temperature changes (for example: taking a hot dish from the oven and plunging it into a sink full of cold water), and it can explode or shatter due to “thermal shock.” Anyone who’s ever experienced this knows how terrifying it is. Look for thermal-shock resistant glass, be sure to follow manufacturer's guidelines regarding safe temperatures, and always let your baking dishes come to room temperature before sticking them in the oven or freezer.

Food Spillage

Cooking can get messy at times, so often food will drip down on the oven rack and other materials, getting stuck or causing some residue. And if you've ever made a pecan pie or casserole that's bubbled over, you know it's not a good idea to keep your oven going after the spill.

If you notice food spillage (or smell smoke) while you're cooking, carefully remove your dish from the oven, let your oven cool down and then check it for spills. Lewis says, "Too much food debris increases the risk for oven fires." Simply wipe away any food spills and let it dry before using again. (Made a big mess? Here's how to clean your oven the right way.)

Wet Pot Holders or Oven Mitts

Keep those wet pet holders and oven mitts outside of the oven! "This is an easy way to get burnt very quickly. If you use wet oven mitts to pull something out of a hot oven, the heat can transfer to the water in the oven mitt and cause scalding burns," Lewis says. Always make sure they are dry before opening the oven door, or else it could be pretty dangerous. (Pro tip: Invest in some silicone oven mitts if you're prone to burns!)