Science, Tech, Math › Science How to Microwave a CD (Safely) Share Flipboard Email Print Science Chemistry Projects & Experiments Basics Chemical Laws Molecules Periodic Table Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated February 05, 2020 Microwaving a CD or compact disc produces plasma and a firework-like display of sparks. The CD ends up with an interesting burned pattern. As you might imagine, you'll never be able to use it for data ever again! It's easy to microwave a CD, but there's a chance of ruining your microwave or harming your health. Here's how to microwave a CD safely. How to Microwave a CD PiccoloNamek / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0 Choose a CD or CD-R that you don't mind ruining. If it has data, you'll never see it again. Similarly, you'll never be able to record data after microwaving the CD.Prop the CD up against a glass of water or a damp paper towel. Do not place the CD against a metal object. It's not a great plan to run your microwave with nothing in it except for the CD.Close the microwave door and nuke the CD for a few seconds. Do not microwave the CD for an extended period of time (more than a few seconds is too long). You'll see a glow and sparks almost as soon as you turn on the microwave.Allow the CD to cool before removing it. The heated metal and plastic is hot and can burn you.Avoid inhaling vapors from the microwaved CD. Melted plastic produces toxins. Similarly, vaporized aluminum isn't good for you. Some CDs are coated with gold instead of aluminum, but you still shouldn't inhale it.Discard the CD and wipe down the microwave. Warning You'll certainly ruin the CD in the name of science, but you should be aware you may ruin your microwave also. There is a risk that a stray spark might damage the mechanism of the microwave. This will not be covered by the manufacturer's warranty. You can minimize the risk to your microwave by using the minimum time you need to see the effect. Sources Peek, Hans B. (January 2010). "The Emergence of the Compact Disc". IEEE Communications Magazine. 48 (1): 10–17. doi:10.1109/MCOM.2010.5394021Immink, Kees Schouhamer. (2018). "How we made the compact disc". Nature Electronics. 1.