Hot potato bag causes fire

KurtkampyJanuary 17, 2012


I saw some people discussing hot potato bags and how great they are for cooking baked potatoes in the microwave. My sister in law was cooking with one and they smelled something burning. Her husband took the bag to the garage because it smelled bad but he didn't notice any heat coming off the bag. The cotton of the bag must have ignited and half the house burnt down. These bags are not safe and should not be used. Even though the potato might cook fine the bags may ignite also.

Kurt Kampy

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I've never heard of a potato bag (other than the ones they come in from the store). A casual look seems to indicate that these are a crafty, novelty item and may not have gone through sufficient safety testing for use in a microwave. I think too, folks don't necessarily associate microwave with "fire" because there aren't the visual indicators as with a traditional oven.

Still it's unfortunate for your family to have something so terrible happen. I hope no one was injured.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 7:37AM
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They probably operate about the same as microwave popcorn, a ferrite absorber heats up from the microwaves and then heats and cooks the food.

The popcorn ones occasionally burn through the bag also (you only need around 450F to ignite paper, that is where Michael Crichton got 'Fahrenheit 451' for the book tile from).

We have drips of melted oil in our microwave at work from the burn troughs (and as usual, not everyone cleans up after themselves).

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 11:45AM
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These bags are a home crafter thing. They are quilted cotton bags. You wrap your potato in a wet paper towel and nuke them in a quilt.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 4:26PM
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I have never liked steamed potatoes, and they are a poor version of baked.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2012 at 9:49AM
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Yes, those potato bags are dangerous. They also steam, not bake, potatoes.

And Michael Crichton did not write "Fahrenheit 451", Ray Bradbury did in 1953.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 3:28PM
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Actually I've never had a problem with mine. The problem is when you poke holes in the potatoes (which the instructions specifically tell you not to). The DH should never have put anything in his garage that smelled burnt. It should have been put outside. Years ago I had a roommate who knocked over a candle on her bed. She thought she had it out (boy was there a lot of smoke) but I made her pull it out onto the grass in the back. In the morning there were just springs.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 3:05PM
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I don't like the way these potato bags "bake" either. Glad no one was injured.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 12:07PM
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I had one catch fire in my microwave last week. I was able to grab the end of the bag that was not burning and throw it outside onto the driveway. It was very disturbing and unexpected. Bizarrely, the potato was fine.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 12:00PM
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Potato bags are not for me. Tried one, did not like the thought of eating a potato baked in a bag that had been used before without being washed between times. Steam penetrates the bag leaving a wonderful place for germs to live.

Something to think about, all those germs multiplying inside the bag.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 4:58PM
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If you dry it afterwards, I doubt many microbes survive. Actually, I doubt many survive the microwaving and the live steam in the first place.

Too bad such dangerous products are on the market...consumer protection seems to be more and more 'look out for yourself!' these days.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 2:30PM
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Supposedly the all cotton ones are safe while any with polyester/cotton blend might go up or if the batting is not 100% cotton it's not safe, apparently the other batting is more likely to catch fire. A lady in CA. makes & sells lots of them & all materials must be 100% cotton she says. So any DIY person who decided to make them without finding out what is safe could put all their customers at risk & at Fairs & Boutiques you often don't get the maker's name. I wouldn't use 1 & wouldn't buy 1. I heard some people dry wet newspapers in microwave-another dumb idea!! Sofas often have had match or cigarette dropped in them & the person 'thinks" sofa is OK & goes off to bed only to find his home on fire in middle of night sometimes with fatal results .Candles must be on plate & watched, never go to bed or use them in small space, they burn up all the oxygen in the air, they also manage to burn down houses or smoke up walls even if in a tall glass container. Some from China can shoot up a sudden tall flame, happened in my family, it was small in a can smaller than tuna can & flames went about 15 in. in air. Not something you let burn all night. Be safe!!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 8:08PM
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I just put holes in the potato and stick it in the microwave for 5 minutes. I don't understand why you need a bag or a quilt.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 12:48PM
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