Melamine plates and bowls are gorgeous and designed to fit in any household, but what are they, and are they safe to use? If you haven’t tried melamine yet, you may have tons of questions about what they are, how they’re used, and whether they’re the right option for you. Read some of the most common questions asked about these dishes below and get the information needed to find out if they’re something you should try.
Is it Safe to Use Melamine Plates and Bowls?
Melamine is an organic-based compound used in the manufacture of dishes as well as various other plastic products. It’s considered to be food-safe and typically BPA-free. Melamine resin is used to make plates, bowls, utensils, and more, as it is shatter-resistant and durable. This means it’s going to last longer than other types of plastic and will not break easily if dropped.
Melamine also has antibacterial products and is very easy to clean, making it an excellent product for dishware. Today, professional cooks and homeowners enjoy using melamine because of the numerous benefits and variety of options, as well as because it’s safe to use and not easily broken. Often, restaurants will prefer melamine dishware, as they don’t have to worry about replacing the dishes any time one is dropped.
It is important to note that melamine should not be used in the oven or microwave, as it may not be as durable due to the exposure to heat. It is possible to wash melamine in the dishwasher, though, as this will not cause damage like the high heat from cooking appliances. As long as the dishes are cared for properly, though, they will last a long time, even if they’re dropped or fall. This makes them a perfect option for not only restaurants but homes too, where kids may accidentally drop the dishes as they’re learning to set and clear the table.
Is Melamine a Better Option Than Ceramic for Dishes?
Ceramic and porcelain dishes have long been used in restaurants and homes, and while they do have their benefits, they have downsides, too. Melamine is more lightweight, making it easy to carry more than one dish at a time, and it is more durable, so if it falls, it’s not going to break. This means there’s no need to worry about the fancy China set being incomplete just because someone dropped their plate.
Many melamine dishes are designed to look similar to ceramic or porcelain dishes, so they can be used for any dinners or events, but they won’t break, so the fancy set of dishes will stay intact. There’s no need to worry about having to replace the set when one or two dishes are dropped, and they won’t wear out as quickly.
Those who want something that looks fancy or that can be used for dinner every night may want to consider melamine over ceramic dishes. While ceramic dishes can look amazing, melamine dishes just have far more benefits and won’t have the downsides that ceramic dishes can have. With the plethora of options available today, it’s easy to see why these dishes are often chosen over ceramic plates and bowls and why many people prefer the durability compared to ceramic options.
Can Melamine Handle Heat?
Common concerns are whether melamine dishes can handle the heat, whether it’s from the microwave or from hot foods placed on the dishes. It is not safe to use melamine in the microwave or the oven, as over time, this can lead to compounds leaking from the melamine and getting into the food. For microwaving food, it’s better to use ceramic or other microwave-safe dishes.
Once the food has been heated, though, it’s fine to place it on a melamine plate. Melamine is made to withstand some heat due to the way it’s manufactured; it’s just not recommended for extremely high temperatures like those that occur in the microwave. It is okay to put hot soup in a melamine bowl or to place heated food on melamine plates.
Melamine is considered an insulator, not a conductor, so it will typically stay cool to the touch even when there is hot food on or in it. When there’s hot soup in a melamine bowl, for instance, the person carrying the bowl won’t have to worry about burning their hands. Since it is so good at insulation, it is often also used for times when food needs to stay hot or cold, like buffets, as it will help keep them at the right temperature longer compared to other types of dishes.
How Long Will Melamine Dishes Last?
The question of how long melamine lasts involves considering its use, the wear and tear on it, and the potential for it to break. Heavy use will mean the melamine dishes will need to be replaced more frequently, but this is typically a concern in restaurants and not as much of a concern in homes. In homes, expect melamine plates and other dishware to last around two to five years, though having more than one set can help extend this timeframe.
Wear and tear is not seen as quickly on melamine plates as it might on other types of plastic dishware. Knife and fork scratches are possible, but they don’t appear easily and most often appear after years of use or heavy use, like in a restaurant setting. When wear and tear do appear, it is a good idea to replace the plates. The scratches can harbor bacteria, and though melamine does have some anti-bacterial properties, it’s still a better idea to go ahead and replace the plates with a new set.
Often, plate sets in the home are replaced when they start to run low because they’ve been scratched or dropped and broken. When there aren’t enough dishes left, it’s time to replace them. Since melamine dishes won’t break when dropped and don’t show signs of wear and tear as easily, they can last a lot longer than other types of dishware. In fact, it is very difficult to break melamine, so a set of dishware can last years longer than ceramic ones, especially if they’re in homes with small children or the elderly, who may be more likely to drop plates.
What’s Needed to Care for Melamine Dishes?
Though they’re more durable than other options and can be a fantastic choice for homes or restaurants, melamine dishes do require proper care to keep them in fantastic shape and help them last as long as possible. Before buying melamine dishware, learn more about the care to know the right way to keep them looking great for as long as possible.
Soak the Melamine
Even if the dishes will be washed in the dishwasher, it’s recommended to soak them as long as possible first. Soaking helps remove all of the food particles left on the plates, which means they won’t be as likely to get scratched while being washed. Use a high-quality dish detergent and soak it as long as needed before using the dishwasher to help keep them in great condition.
Avoid Serrated Knives
Serrated knives can cut through the protective coating on the melamine, making the plates look worn even if they otherwise would have a lot of life left. For anything that needs to be cut with a serrated knife, cut before placing it on the plates. It is recommended to use care with other types of utensils, but they aren’t as likely to damage melamine compared to serrated knives.
Never Use it in a Microwave or Oven
Avoid using melamine dishes, bowls, or utensils in the microwave or oven. While they can handle heated foods, they can’t handle the high heat of being in the microwave or oven and can start to break down. This may mean compounds in the melamine can leach out, or it can make it more likely the dishes will be damaged and need to be replaced sooner.
Avoid Abrasive Cleaners
Abrasive cleaners, metal scouring pads, and steel wool have the potential to scratch the dishes, causing damage to them. Instead, let the melamine dishes soak and then use a gentle cleaner and scrubber to remove any remaining food particles from them. Washing carefully will help the plates last a lot longer.
Avoid Chlorine Bleach
Though the plates are durable, it’s recommended to avoid using chlorine bleach on them, as this can impact the durability of the plate, cause colors to fade, and more. Instead, use a dish detergent when washing melamine plates, bowls, and utensils to help keep them in good shape and prevent damage.
If you’re in the market for new dishes for your home, chances are you’ve heard of melamine dishes, but you may have wondered if it’s the right option for you. Though it’s newer than other types of plastics or other dishware like ceramic, melamine is an excellent option that may be perfect. Take a look at the various options available today to find the perfect set for your home.