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What is Melamine Dinnerware, and Is It Ideal for Everyday Use?

12 September, 22

If you have been looking to replace your dinnerware and tableware, you must have come across melamine dishes. But, just what is melamine dinnerware? Let us answer this and more questions below so you can see whether the utensils are a good fit for you.

What is Melamine Dinnerware?

Melamine dishes are made with an organic, nitrogen-based compound. Compared to other dishes made from porcelain, fine china, stoneware, and more, melamine looks and feels quite durable despite being the most lightweight material. As a result, melamine dishes are the best alternatives to porcelain, glass, and ceramic dishes.

Most melamine dishes are heat-resistant, not easily breakable, and come in stylish designs to complement any kitchen or dinner table.

Pros of Melamine dish ware

  • Affordable

  • Durable

  • Reusable

  • Dishwasher safe and easy to clean

  • Elegant

Cons of melamine dinnerware

  • The bowls and plates should not microwave food

  • Not ideal for serving acidic foods due to melamine migration

Benefits of Using Melamine Utensils

There are a few of the main advantages of using melamine dinnerware, such as;

a) Melamine tableware is durable

Before we talk about how durable and reliable melamine plates, bowls, and cups are, it is vital to understand how the material is made. Melanin is commonly produced by breaking down and treating urea with heat. The resulting melamine resin is durable and strong, and it is then molded into plates, cups, bowls, and other utensils.

After creating the melamine resin through thermosetting, the dishes it makes are not only heat-resistant, but they are also shatter-resistant and quite lightweight. With such durability, the melamine bowls and utensils are suitable for a busy kitchen.

b) Melamine tableware is safer than plastic tableware

As the world continues looking for ways to improve the environment, it is imperative to avoid using plastics at any stage of life. So, if you lack the high budget to buy porcelain and ceramic dinnerware, you can always turn to melamine tableware. Luckily, melamine dishes are also available in fancy designs, colors, and finishes, so they will hardly disappoint your guests.

c) Melamine dish ware is affordable

If you want a fancy dinner table, chances are you have to part ways with big bucks to afford certain glass, ceramic, and porcelain dishes. However, melamine tableware will cost much less than those materials and still look as fancy. In addition, melamine utensils come in different colors with glossy finishes, so you can enjoy serving your guests in elegance.

d) Melamine dinnerware is easy to clean

After hosting your loved one, the last thing you'd want is a pile of dirty, stained dishes on your table. Luckily, all melamine dinnerware sets are easy to clean and, in most cases, dishwasher safe.

The dishes are stain-resistant, and they hardly allow food particles to stick to the surface. As such, they are easy to hand-wash with cold or warm water. In addition, the dinner sets are top and bottom rack safe in the dishwasher.

e) Melamine dinnerware is versatile

If you need a dinner set you can use every day without worrying about breaking dishes, melamine is the material to go for. Since the melamine utensils are easy to clean, hard to break, and stain-resistant, you will find it easy to use them daily when serving food to guests and family.

Are Melamine Dinnerware Sets Safe?

While there are many benefits of using melamine dinnerware, some people also worry about the potential melamine poisoning suspected from the dishes. So, let us discover some points to help you understand how safe or risky these dishes are.

Melamine dishes are safe to use daily. The US Food and Drug Administration noted that melanin does not contaminate foods to pose a risk to your health.

After the FDA's melamine safety and risk assessment, they found that only some acidic foods allow melamine contamination, and even then, the levels are over 250 times lower than the expected poisoning level.

However, even after these results, it remains important to note some safety concerns to avoid melamine toxicity.

Firstly, understand that some foods allow melamine to pass through. According to the FDA, most acidic foods will attract melamine particles, so you may want to avoid serving these foods on melamine plates and bowls. While melamine exposure is small in these instances, continued exposure could lead to certain health problems.

Apart from acidic foods, it is also best to avoid heating foods in melamine bowls in a microwave. Before heating foods in a microwave, ensure the melamine dinnerware is labeled microwave-safe.

If you fear you have melamine poisoning, you can look for symptoms such as

  • blood in your urine

  • high blood pressure

  • little urine production

  • your bladder feels full all the time

  • pain in your flank area

  • kidney stones

However, it is better to visit your doctor to confirm the symptoms. These symptoms can indicate other health issues not necessarily connected to melamine contamination.

Which Are the Best Melamine Dinnerware Alternatives?

If your plates and bowls need replacing and you do not want to use melamine products, you can consider buying the following types of dinnerware sets to improve your dining elegance.

  1. Ceramic dinnerware

  2. Stainless steel dishes

  3. Bamboo dinnerware

  4. Glass dinnerware

  5. Enamel dinnerware

In most cases, look for utensils labeled melamine, plastic, and chemical-free.

Frequently Asked Questions About Melamine Dishes

a) Is melamine safe for serving food?

Yes. After the FDA's risk assessment of melamine bowls and plates, they found that melamine hardly migrates into your food to pose serious health risks. However, it is best to avoid melamine exposure from other melamine products such as milk formula or pet food.

b) Is melamine microwave safe?

While melamine is safe to serve food, you should avoid using melamine utensils to heat food in the microwave. When you heat the melamine material in the microwave, you risk encouraging faster wear on the surface. Melamine is a thirsty material that can start warping, chipping, changing color, and cracking when exposed to too much heat post-production.

c) Is melamine better than ceramic dinnerware?

Melamine utensils are elegant, durable, and even more affordable. Compared to melamine, ceramic will be easier to break.

However, ceramic dinnerware is more suitable for busy places such as restaurants. In addition, ceramic has better quality compared to melamine, and you can also use the plates daily at home.

d) Is melamine plastic?

Yes. Melamine plates and bowls are made with a very tough plastic that undergoes a rigorous thermosetting process. However, unlike cheaper plastic products, melamine is more durable, so you can use it for many years. In addition, the dinnerware sets are more classy and ideal for serving all types of foods, apart from acidic foods shown to attract some melamine resins.

e) Can I serve very hot food on melamine utensils?

Even though it is not advisable to microwave foods in a melamine bowl, the dinnerware has high heat resistance, so you can serve food straight from the pot. Consequently, the plate or bowl will remain cool to the touch, thus ideal for children's bowls.

f) Are melamine utensils durable?

Yes. Since the material is heat-resistant and tough to break, most melamine utensils can last two to five years. However, note that the appearance, especially color and texture, will likely change with continued use and cleaning, so your five-year-old plates will probably need replacement.

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