Can You Microwave A Nalgene Water Bottle?

Nalgene water bottles in a row

I like using my Nalgene for hot tea and coffee so I’ve often been tempted to put it in the microwave. Insulated covers help keep my drinks warm for a little bit, but they always cool before I can finish the entire bottle. They’re fine to use with boiling water, but that doesn’t mean it won’t melt. So I decided to reach out to Nalgene to ask the question: Can you microwave a Nalgene water bottle?

It’s safe to microwave modern Nalgene water bottles that were made after the 2008 BPA Recall. Nalgene water bottles are made out of polycarbonate so they can withstand heat and UV radiation. The bottle shouldn’t melt, warp or deform in any way. Just make sure you take off the lid so the steam can escape and the bottle won’t explode.

Please note that you shouldn’t put hot liquids in old Nalgene water bottles that were made before the 2008 BPA Recall. Heat and UV rays speed up the release of dangerous chemicals and you don’t want BPA, BPS, BPF, and Phythatlates getting into whatever you’re drinking.

After learning that I decided to put my Nalgene water bottle to the test and tried putting it in the microwave. A few minutes later I had my answer and found a new way to use my Nalgene water bottles. Keep reading to learn how and when I use my Nalgene’s in the microwave.

Is It Safe To Put A Nalgene Water Bottle In The Microwave?

hand opening microwave to put in Nalgene

It’s safe to put a modern Nalgene water bottles in the microwave. Modern Nalgene water bottles are made out of Tritan plastic which can handle temperature ranges up to 540°F so you won’t have to worry about the bottle melting, warping or deforming in any way. Microwaves only reach 212°F temperature so it’s not even close to Tritans max temperature rating.

Just make sure you remove the bottles lid so steam can escape! You don’t want to accidentally create a small water bottle bomb in your microwave.

Older HDPE and Polycarbonate Nalgene’s can withstand a microwaves heat without warping, but you have to worry about another problem. Heat and UV radiation speed up the release of BPA, BPS, BPF and Phthalates into the bottles contents.

It’s an invisible danger, but those chemicals are known to cause cancer and hormonal imbalances with long-term use. Pre 2008 BPA recall Nalgene’s probably won’t cause any problems with occasional use, but I wouldn’t use them on a regular basis. It’s not worth the risk for the price of a new Nalgene.

There are two main things to remember when heating Nalgene’s up in the microwave. Remove the lid and use an insulated sleeve to keep it hot. You can heat coffee, tea, hot chocolate, etc. It’s really not complicated!

  • Remove Nalgene’s Lid: This is probably the most important thing you need to remember. You have to leave the bottle’s lid off when it goes in the microwave. Leaving the lid on will cause steam to build up and the bottle will eventually explode. I shouldn’t have to explain why this is a problem!
  • Use Insulated Sleeves: Plastic is a terrible insulator so you will need to use an insulated sleeve (On Amazon) to keep your contents warm. You’ll be at room temperature in 10 minutes without the insulated sleeve. Any of the cheap sleeves will work in warm weather, but I like to use this Nalgene Brand Bottle Carrier in the winter. It’s highly insulated and has a zip top lid so the bottle won’t freeze on winter backpacking and camping trips. It’s kind of a pain to use the zip lid in the summer, but it will keep ice from melting.

Take Off The Lid To Let Out Steam

As I mentioned above, removing the bottles lid is by far the most important step when microwaving a Nalgene water bottle. The lid is made out of Tritan Plastic that can withstand 540°F temperatures so it’s not about melting anything. It all has to do with the steam that comes off heated liquids.

When you heat up liquids steam will start to build up and release into the air. That’s not an issue with the lid off since it can disperse into the microwave, but it can be a serious problem if you forget to remove the lid. The steam will slowly build up creating pressure and the bottle will eventually explode.

Use Insulated Sleeves After Heating Nalgenes In The Microwave

Insulated Nalgene Water Bottle Sleeve

I highly recommend picking up an insulated sleeve to use with your Nalgene. They’re kind of pricey (check them out) for what you’re getting, but they really help insulate the bottle. Hot drinks stay warm and cold drinks stay cool. You’ll have a cold bottle of coffee in less than 10 minutes without an insulated sleeve.

I like to use Nalgene’s Insulated cover with the zip top lid when I’m backpacking in the winter. The zip top lid really helps keep out the cold and I don’t have to worry about my water freezing. It may have to go in my jacket in ridiculously cold weather, but that’s to be expected.

Heat Up Your Coffee and Tea In The Nalgene

It’s safe to use your Nalgene to heat up coffee and tea. I was always worried that coffee would leave an aftertaste in my water bottle, but that’s not a problem. You will be able to taste the coffee for a little bit, but it should go away once you clean out the bottle.

It doesn’t matter how well you scrub out the bottle that coffee taste eventually starts to linger. like to use water bottle cleaning tablets (check them out), when my Nalgene starts getting funky. Just drop a tablet in a full bottle of water, shake it up a bit, and your good to go. It should help remove any after taste or mold/mildew that was growing in the bottle.

You can also use a water/bleach solution to clean the bottle, but that’s not as easy. Just mix 2 capfuls of bleach in a bottle that’s filled with water and shake it up. Let the bleach mixture sit for 30 minutes to an hour, drain it, and clean it with regular soap/water.

Great For Heating Up Soup

I’m definitely not a morning person so waking up early to eat breakfast isn’t going to happen. That’s why I like to toss a can of soup in my Nalgene so I have something hot to eat when I get to work. It goes in the microwave for 2 minutes and I’m good to go when I head out the door.

Just make sure you use an insulated sleeve so it can maintain its temperature.