This trending internet fad has kids putting metal in the microwave

Move over slime, the internet has a new obsession and it involves nuking a tin foil ball. Pro tip: Don't let your kids do this.

Pretty much everyone knows the cardinal rule for using a microwave: NO METAL (closely followed by NO FISH, but that’s less a safety than a stench issue—let’s move on). We shouldn’t need to say it, but if you put foil in a microwave it will most likely catch fire and burn, which could ruin the integrity of your unit and put your family at risk. It bears repeating: Microwave + metal = big no no.

Eraser challenge 12 crazy YouTube challenges kids are doingThat being said, the internet has gotten it into its head that putting a ball of aluminum foil in the microwave will automatically polish it into a shiny sphere with a mirrored surface. Generation TidePod has seen this online and is now trying it out for themselves—obvi.

Now to be clear, the whole turning-a-ball-of-foil-into-a-polished-sphere thing is a real craft, and it gained popularity on the internet thanks to a recent viral video showcasing it. However, there are no microwaves involved in the process. Getting a ball of tin foil to shine takes hours upon hours of hammering it down to a compact sphere and sanding then polishing it by hand until it shines.

The microwave “tip” spawns from a tweet that was meant to troll people into doing something dangerous—some people on the internet just suck, don’t they? It states that instead of hammering away for hours, you can achieve the same results with three minutes in a microwave. News flash: This doesn’t work. Take a look at the date the tweet was posted, and you’ll know it was nothing but a cruel joke.

Now, like we said, you really can make a tin foil ball shine like that, and it totally sounds like it could be a fun activity for bored kids to spend a weekend doing (that is, if they do it with parental supervision and if they have the attention span for it). Just. Don’t. Use. A. Microwave.

To be fair, a compact enough foil ball won’t necessarily burn up if you microwave it—there’s a scientific reason why, but we won’t get into that—but for the sake of your kids’ safety, the no-metal-in-the-microwave rule is probably something best left in absolutes. If you’re curious to see what does happen, a dad on YouTube put this to the test by microwaving foil in different states, so you don’t have to. Check it out in the video below…

Read more:
How to reheat baby food (without a microwave)
8 essential craft supplies to keep on hand

Stay in touch

Subscribe to Today's Parent's daily newsletter for our best parenting news, tips, essays and recipes.