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    Smarter: Can You Put Paper in an Oven?

    Person opening oven Photo: Adobe Stock

    This week I’m ending the guesswork around which materials are oven-safe and which aren’t. Also in this issue: How to prevent pipes from freezing, and can you kill ticks doing laundry?


    ‘The Heat of the Moment’

    In cooking, you sometimes learn things the hard way. My partner, for instance, learned that cold glassware and a hot oven aren’t a good mix after his roommate shattered a glass tray into a thousand pieces and left the shards in the oven for my partner to clean up. (I guess the other lesson he learned is that you should get better roommates.)

    But it can be hard to keep track of what things are safe to put in certain kitchen appliances. In the past issues of Smarter, I have explored what is safe to put in a microwave and a dishwasher. If you’ve ever wondered which materials are oven-safe and which are not, here’s what you should know:

    First of all, because ovens can get really hot, you should be mindful of any material that can deform, melt, or burn due to heat, says LG Electronics, which makes ovens.

    More Tips From the Smarter Newsletter

    Plastics, Styrofoam, and rubber products should be avoided in the oven because they might melt.

    Paper and cardboard products, in general, are off-limits because they can be a fire hazard, LG Electronics says. 

    Wax paper, for instance, is not typically oven-safe because it’s coated in wax, says Bree Lemmen, a kitchen brand manager at home appliance company Whirlpool. 

    But parchment paper is an exception to the paper rule: It’s designed to be oven-safe, so it’s a great nonstick option for lining pans to go into the oven.

    Cold glassware or non-tempered glassware are also not oven-safe because they could, as demonstrated by my partner’s roommate, shatter due to temperature shock, LG Electronics says.

    And in general, it’s safer to not put non-metal cookware directly under the broiler unless it’s explicitly marked for broiler use because the temperature might be too hot, says Tara Casaregola, who oversees CR’s range and wall-oven testing.

    You should also be careful about using wet towels, oven mitts, or pot holders when getting things in and out of an oven because the heat can transfer to your hands via the wet fabric much faster, increasing the chance of you getting burned. 

    So what is safe to use in an oven? Ceramics, such as pie or casserole dishes, are fine. So are cast iron, enameled cast iron, stainless steel, and aluminum trays and cookie sheets.

    And as one final tip: Aluminum foil is safe to put in an oven, but don’t place the foil directly on the oven racks because it could melt and damage your appliance, Bree says.

    You should also make sure you don’t use the foil to directly cover the bottom of the oven, LG Electronics says. 

    Some people think they can keep the oven clean by doing this to catch food drippings, but the high heat can actually fuse the thin aluminum sheet with the oven cavity surface. Instead, you should try a cookie sheet or tray if you want to catch any food.

    Bonus link: Why you should never use your oven or range for heat.

    You’re reading Smarter, a newsletter that answers consumer questions with useful tips from our experts. Sign up to get Smarter in your inbox or check out more Smarter issues here.


    Can you kill ticks doing laundry? Asking for a friend.

    @consumerreports Replying to @sirsixpack Great question! Here are a few important points to consider. See insect repellent ratings and reviews at #lawntok #laundrytok #ticks #laundrytiktok #tickseason ♬ original sound - Consumer Reports


    Are you considering getting an induction cooktop for your kitchen? Here are some of the pros and cons of induction ranges, compared with gas or conventional electric ranges:


    👍 They’re more environmentally friendly. Induction cooktops are more efficient than both, and they’re better for indoor air quality than gas.

    👍 Food cooks faster, according to our testing.


    👎 If you’re converting from gas to electric, it can be expensive. You can expect to pay an electrician several hundred dollars or more for the installation of the outlet.

    👎 You need the right cookware. Not all pots and pans are induction-compatible. You can use this simple test to make sure.

    And if you’re concerned whether your gas range is a health risk, our experts have conducted an investigation into this.


    🧊 How to Prevent Your Pipes From Freezing
    A burst pipe could cost you thousands of dollars in water damage.

    💨 Keep Your Indoor Air Clean This Winter
    “There are pollutants in our daily environment that, if you are sensitive, could have impacts on your breathing.”

    📄 Cheapest Printers for Ink Costs
    It’s a truth universally abhorred that you’re spending more on ink cartridges than the printer itself over time. So here are efficient models that will cost you less ink.


    Today is a sad day in history. It is the day I learned that many dark chocolates contain dangerous heavy metals.

    We measured the amount of two heavy metals in 28 dark chocolate bars. The bad news is that we detected cadmium and lead in all of them.

    In particular, five of the bars, shown below, had comparatively high levels of both metals, which could lead to health risks over time.

    Dark Chocolate Bars High in Both Lead & Cadmium

    Data visualizations: Andy Bergmann/Consumer Reports Data visualizations: Andy Bergmann/Consumer Reports

    Read more for the dark chocolates that were found to be safer and how you can consume chocolate in less risky ways.


    Your CBD gummies might be cheating on the CBD.

    Owl Icon

    "Say it ain’t so, dark chocolate."

    Thanks for reading Smarter! If you want more tips that will make you a little bit smarter, sign up to have the newsletter delivered straight to your inbox every week.

    Headshot of CR Author Pang-Chieh (BJ) Ho

    Pang-Chieh Ho

    I'm a newsletter writer who likes looking into the different ways we can live smarter. The topics I cover typically explore unanswered questions we have about the products we use every day and bridge the gaps between what owners' manuals advise and what we actually do. In my spare time, I like to take photos, critique movies out loud while I watch (at home!), and take care of my ever-increasing plant "children."