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CraftSanity On TV: A Potato Bag Tutorial For Microwaving Tasty Potatoes On The Fly

I love baked potatoes. But the potato setting on my microwave has failed me so many times, leaving me with shriveled and lifeless potatoes.

Thanks to a fellow Michigan crafter I’ve stopped shriveling potatoes. Gerri Nielsen gave me one of her fabric potato bags and I swear it’s taken the frustration out of rapid potato baking. These fabric bags create a sort of a steam chamber for the potatoes that come out soft and tasty 4 to 8 minutes later. I’ve been so happy with the results that I whipped up a few more bags.

To make your own you will need cotton thread, two 11 x 24-inch pieces of cotton fabric and one piece of cotton quilt batting cut the same size. (I used a print for the outside and muslin for the inside.)

Step 1: Place your your interior fabric right side up. Place the outer fabric on top right side down, followed by the piece of batting. Pin the stack and sew around the perimeter leaving about a 4-inch opening on one of the 11-inch sides for turning.

Step 2: Turn right side out and press with iron. Top stitch across the short side to stitch the opening closed.

Step 3: With the right side facing up, fold the rectangle into the bag shape. First, fold the top down about 3 inches, then fold the other end of the rectangle up to meet the top edge, overlapping the edges by about a half inch. Pin and stitch along each long side.

Step 4: Turn right side out and you’re ready to bake some potatoes.

Baking directions: Wash potatoes and wrap in the paper towel you use to dry them. Do NOT poke holes in the potatoes. Place the potatoes in the bag and microwave for 4 to 8 minutes. Check the potatoes every 2 minutes to be safe and do not leave them unattended.

Buy  a potato bag: If you want a potato bag, but would rather not make one yourself. No problem. Gerri Nielsen will make you one for $10. Write her at 14426 U.S. Hwy. 45, Bruce Crossing, MI 49912-8704 to place your order.

Watch the video: Today’s “Take Five” TV segment was a bit off the hook. Watch the clip to see me forge on with my demonstration of the making of a potato bag after I bust my sewing machine on live TV. Fun times, folks.


Comment from toni in florida
Time: January 23, 2010, 8:28 am

You’re such a pro! I love it that you keep going without a noticeable pause and had the next “step out” ready. And, man, does that five minutes fly by or what??

Pingback from Tutorial: Potato bag for microwaving baked potatoes · Sewing @ CraftGossip
Time: January 23, 2010, 10:17 am

[…] I’ve recently found out that the secret to perfect baked potatoes in the microwave is to put them in a bag while you cook them.  I’d always used a paper sack, but that was until I saw this tutorial by Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood of Craft Sanity.  She shows how to make a fabric bag for microwaving your potatoes.  Go to the tutorial. […]

Comment from Anne Weaver
Time: January 23, 2010, 10:19 am

My sister just recently shared that “the secret” of perfect microwaved baked potatoes is to cook them in a bag. She uses a paper sack, but your fabric version is much friendlier to the environment.

I blogged your project on Craft Gossip Sewing:


Pingback from I REALLY Want to Make This « Just a glimpse
Time: January 23, 2010, 10:29 am

[…] | In Crafts, cooking, diet, food | Leave a Comment Jennifer, over at CraftSanity, had this really cool microwave potato bag on her website. I need to make this. Hmmm…which of my friends do I get to help […]

Comment from Kristy Medina
Time: January 23, 2010, 2:08 pm

Thank you!!!! I’ve been wanting to make one of these :)

Comment from Tayla B
Time: January 23, 2010, 4:52 pm

I have seen these before but had no idea they were so easy to make! I guess I always assumed there was some secret to it. lol

Comment from Rachel
Time: January 24, 2010, 4:05 pm

Whoa- that’s super creative! I never thought about anything like that, what a great idea. Thanks so much, I’ll be linking.

Comment from Rachel
Time: January 24, 2010, 10:17 pm

I too was so impressed with how you handled yourself with the broken needle. Very impressive. (C: I’ve seen these before but I hadn’t researched how to make one, thanks for sharing!!

Comment from Syndi
Time: January 25, 2010, 8:43 pm

LOL! :-) What a pro!
LOVE the segment and the actual tutorial. I’ll have to try one of these!

Comment from Sally
Time: January 26, 2010, 10:48 am

Great tutorial. I’ve been making these for a while now and thought I’d share a tip I use. I print the directions for use on Fusible Ink Jet Fabric Sheets, then iron them to the flap of the bag. I saw a site somewhere that had the directions on a piece of laminated cardstock to give with the bag – but – I knew the folks I was giving them to (mostly my graduating high school kids) would end up losing the instructions. With them sewn (I do sew around the patch) that isn’t a problem.

By the way they make great graduation gifts. I’ve put together a little recipe booklet to go with it and sometimes I add a $5-$10 grocery store gift card. Perfect for the dorm.

Comment from molly
Time: January 26, 2010, 4:41 pm

Does it matter what kind of batting you use? It looks like you use a a thin almost wool like batting the thickness of felt. I have lots of thicker synthetic batting that’s been kicking around. Would that work?


Comment from jennifer
Time: January 26, 2010, 6:26 pm

I used 100 percent cotton quilt batting. Gerri uses polyester batting. The key is to make a sample bag and test it out while carefully monitoring the baking process before making bags for all your relatives and friends. And you can bake the potato in 2-minute bursts just to be safe.

Comment from kat whitten
Time: January 26, 2010, 10:42 pm

i’ve purchased many items from Gerri, of Gerri’s Crafts and Things, over the years and have been pleased with all of them. Amazing the quantity and quality of all that she does! Jennifer, did you get to see her entire stock? Awesome isn’t it! kat

Pingback from Microwave Potato Bag | Sarchix Finds
Time: January 30, 2010, 1:29 pm

[…] over at CraftSanity has posted not only the directions to make “baked” potatoes in the microwave but has […]

Comment from Marie
Time: May 17, 2010, 3:40 pm

I made a similar bag using a piece of felt for the batting and cotton outside with muslin lining. the bag schorched pretty bad and now I am concerned about the fabric I used. please advise.

Comment from jennifer
Time: May 17, 2010, 6:07 pm

Hi Marie. I think the felt is the problem. I used cotton fabric for the interior and exterior and cotton batting inside. I’ve used the bag loads of times and never had a problem. Also keep in mind that every microwave is different, so you might want to make a new bag using cotton batting and cook the potatoes on shorter bursts. And to be safe, never leave it unattended. I hope this helps. – Jennifer

Comment from Kristina
Time: May 31, 2010, 5:53 pm

I would like to make the small version you mentioned to take to work, do you know what the dimensions are to make the small version of the bake potato bag. I also read using 2 pieces of flannel instead of batting, what is your take on it?

Comment from jennifer
Time: June 18, 2010, 1:23 am

Hi Kristina. The finished mini bag measures 5″x9″.

Comment from Jill
Time: August 6, 2010, 1:53 pm

I just purchased a potato/vegetable microwave bag at a craft fair. I want to duplicate this because I love it and want to give to some friends. I does a great job on corn on the cob. The question I have is that this bag does not have batting it only uses to pieces of cotton sown together just as you did. How important is the batting?

Comment from jennifer
Time: August 7, 2010, 10:39 am

Hi Jill. If the bag you bought is working for you without batting, then by all means duplicate it without batting. I’ve never made one without batting, so I don’t have any first-hand knowledge of what it’s like to bake things without it. The key here is that it’s working for you. This is a sign that the batting may be unnecessary. If you make some of the batting-free bags, consider posting a tutorial to enlighten the rest of us who have always thought we needed to use batting.

Comment from KAY ANDERSON
Time: September 26, 2010, 11:46 am

What was your seam allowances on this . My machine only has 1/4, 1/2 and 5/8

Comment from Ruth S
Time: October 26, 2010, 9:43 pm

I am concerned about the batting since many have had them catch on fire. Is there any fire retardant batting you could use and wash. Do you have to microwave on a lower setting/

Comment from sheila s
Time: November 29, 2010, 10:21 am

I made two this weekend but my needle kept breaking too. The material gets really thick. What am I doing wrong? Also, do you sew just to overlap ( to make the pocket) or all the way up the sides? I couldn’t tell from the video. Thanks!

Comment from LINDA
Time: December 12, 2010, 9:56 pm

on the instructions for making the potato cooking bag, do you sew just to the overlap or all the way up the sides. Thank you.

Comment from jennifer
Time: December 13, 2010, 1:53 pm

I sew all the way up each side, right across the fabric overlap.

Comment from Irene Brillhart
Time: December 15, 2010, 8:52 am

Is it too late to order potato bags for Christmas?

Comment from Shirley
Time: December 15, 2010, 5:52 pm

I made a couple of these and used polyester batting..they seemed to schorched. So, I am making some for Christmas presents using 100% cotton fabric and batting. I just tested one and it schorched as well. I left in in the microwave for 4 minutes. Perhaps that was too long. I was wondering if it was the polyester thread??

Comment from jennifer
Time: December 17, 2010, 8:14 am

Hi Shirley. Yes, switch to cotton thread and try baking in shorter bursts instead of a four minute span.

Comment from Stephanie
Time: February 18, 2011, 7:47 pm

I made 2 of these bags with cotton fabric and cotton batting, i was baking a potatoe and the bag scorched and was smoking, i cooked it for 3 mins and then put it back on for 2 more and i smelled the bag and had to get it out of the microwave and run it under water? I think i used polyester thread, am wondering if that was the difference? Thanks

Comment from traci
Time: February 26, 2011, 12:54 pm

I just made this.. and yes the fabric is Very Thick. When my machine seemed to have a difficult time with the thickness, I manually turned the hand wheel and gently pulled the fabric through. I especially had to do this where the bag overlaps at the top. It took a little more time, but saved my machine and needle.
I used 100% cotton thread, and 100% Cotton Batting(warm tator batting). This type of batting is made for this project.

Comment from sewiquilt
Time: July 6, 2011, 2:59 pm

Hi, I just found this website. I made a bag and it turned out great. I generally quilt so I have cotton batting on hand. My question is do I need to wash fabric first? I prefer not to when I can. What do you think?

Comment from Cas
Time: July 17, 2011, 9:52 pm

I made this bag from a friends directions, but I had to refer to your wonderful video which showed me what the directions had tried to say. Thanks for the video.
I did not wash the fabric first, I washed it after everything was sewn and before baking a potato, it worked just fine, the fabric and batting shrunk about the same.
I made sure when I bought the fabric and the batting that everything was 100% cotton and not just mostly cotton. There were two types of batting that were 100% cotton and two that I thought were, but after carefully examining the tags, I realized that they had some polyester in them.
I did use cotton thread too. I microwaved for 12 minutes total at 4 minute intervals to check the potato for it to be done.
My potato turned out perfect. No scorching at all.

Comment from Debbie
Time: July 27, 2011, 7:22 am

Please beware of using anything but cotton materials for these. I have a friend who has sold these at craft shows for years. She used to use polyester batting, and cloth that was cotton blend. She had customers calling her because the bags had caught on fire while baking. It was random, and might have depended on the microwave being used. Once she switched to 100% cotton batting and cloth, the problem stopped.

Comment from Pamela Graham
Time: July 27, 2011, 8:06 am

Never use anything but cotton in the microwave, including the thread. However, I have a very powerful microwave, put mine on 5 minutes and it did catch fire!! So do not go over the 4 minute recommendation! As for the papertowel, if is going to catch fire, that is just going to make it worse! Thanks, Pamie G.

Comment from Sandy
Time: July 27, 2011, 9:08 am

WARNING!!!! Do not use regular batting. It has the potential to catch fire. There have been a lot of instances of fire in the microwave. There is a special heat resistant batting made especially for bake potato bakers. You wouldn’t want to give one as a gift and burn someones house down.

Comment from Billie Janes
Time: August 3, 2011, 2:19 pm

Just like to thank you for the potatoe bag, info===I have made a few, but can’t fine the pattern, this help me .Thanks
again. Billie Janes–Michigan

Comment from karen klein
Time: September 27, 2011, 3:32 pm

I have been making these for years and never had a problem with scorching or burning. You might also try corn on the cob – same directions – especially great for 1 person, 1 cobb takes about a minute and a half. Enjoy

Comment from Jenn
Time: October 6, 2011, 9:55 am

Everything you use should be 100% cotton including the thread. They make a special batting for these bags called Warm Tater batting.

Comment from Jenn
Time: October 6, 2011, 9:59 am

Also, check the size of your microwave. You don’t want the bag touching the sides of the microwave. If you don’t have a turn table you need to flip the bag over about half way thru cooking time.

Comment from Joan
Time: October 16, 2011, 7:28 pm

My friend gave me a large potato bag with instructions. I have used it for corn on the cob and accorn squash. It works GREAT on both. The squash I cut in half and removed the seeds, put it back together and wrapped paper toweling around it,placed it in the bag and microwave for 3 min. then flipped the bag and cook another 3 min.For corn,peel husk back, run under cold water.Put the husk back over the corn, make sure you have it tight on the cob. Put in bag and cook 6 min. Again 3 min. and flip it. The silk will remove real easy. I do have a turn table in my microwave but I still flip it.

Comment from Kelly
Time: October 29, 2011, 4:56 pm

Hi Jennifer! I have made several of these bags and I love them. I would like to make the single potato bag! What are the measurements?

Comment from jennifer
Time: October 29, 2011, 6:50 pm

Hi Kelly. The finished mini bag measures 5″x9.″

Comment from Kelly
Time: October 30, 2011, 2:16 pm

Thanks! What are the cutting measurements?

Comment from Trish
Time: November 17, 2011, 12:00 am

Ive made these bags…and just wanted to send everyone a tip when sewing…..Use your walking foot it will help get over the thickness of the fabrics….Trish :)

Comment from Kay
Time: November 20, 2011, 2:03 pm

Make your own bag?

Comment from Kay
Time: November 20, 2011, 2:10 pm

Great idea!

Comment from Wendy
Time: November 21, 2011, 8:36 pm

I also made this bag with all cotton and it did scorch mostly at
the overlap areas, even checking every 2 minutes. But the
potato did come out great!

Comment from Heidi
Time: December 17, 2011, 6:34 pm

I had never heard of using a fabric bag before. That’s neat. I just use pull out a Ziploc bag and I don’t seal it. I do poke hole a cut off the ends. I hadn’t heard you didn’t need to. I’ll have to try that. :)

Comment from Janet
Time: December 21, 2011, 8:31 am

I have made these with the potato batting and I have made them with muslin in the middle of two pieces of cotton fabric… I also have one that I purchase at a flea market that has just one piece of cotton with one piece of flannel.. I am going to try to make that one next… My opion, all three work just fine… must be all cotton materials though… thanks for sharing.

Comment from Julieann
Time: January 21, 2012, 6:46 pm

It would be interesting to know the wattage of the microwaves for those that had scorching issues. I just ordered the batting to make some and my microwave is 1100 watts. Am curious to know if the wattage has anything to do with it?

Comment from Jean
Time: April 1, 2012, 1:48 pm

I’ve been making potato bags with the cotton batting which come out fairly thick. I’ve been reading about using cotton flannel & wonder if I’m sacrificing quality for a cheaper version & if it does as well. Am stuck in a quandry!! Help!!

Comment from ANNE
Time: April 23, 2012, 8:32 pm

Is it ok to bake a sweet potato in one? I made one for my niece and she baked a sweet potato in hers and it caught fire, and I used everything 100% cotton. Could you tell me what could have happened to have caused that?

Comment from Kathy
Time: June 11, 2012, 12:03 am

I purchased a potatoe bag from a craft fair awhile back. Be careful what materials you use or if buying. Mine started to burn up in the mircowave smoke was apparent I believe it was the thread used so please be careful. It’a a great bag if made with the right materials.

Comment from Pat Connolly
Time: July 24, 2012, 11:10 am

I purchased a potato bag in Panama City when we used to be snowbirds from the Toronto area, and have used it for 10 years with great results. I have finally made one from your instructions, which I appreciate very much. However, after reading all the comments from fellow crafters, I am a little sceptical about its usefulness as I used Polyester thread and a blended cottom for the outside and batting that I bought to make oven gloves which is very thick and cumbersome to work with. I shall use it very carefully, 2 minutes at a time.
Thank you all.

Comment from Connie McDaniel
Time: August 29, 2012, 12:09 am

thanks for the tutorial and the instructions. I’m ready to start my first potato bag. I intend to give these to friends for gifts. My question is do I need to wash and dry my cotton batting, muslin, and fabric first. Everything is 100% cotton and I’m concerned about it shrinking when they go to wash them. Thanks so much.

Comment from Natalie
Time: October 21, 2012, 11:19 am

I received one of these as a gift from an elderly lady and loved it so much I purchased 2 more for family. I was wondering if you could use the quilted material that is already batted-as ong as all cotton. Seems like that would eliminate one step.
Thanks so much for the tutorial-I would turn mine inside out and wonder “how did she do this”.

Comment from Lauretta Good
Time: November 28, 2012, 3:30 pm

I was wondering if I could use quilted material and not put any batting in it

Comment from kess Tobias
Time: November 30, 2012, 9:45 pm

Can I use flannel for batting

Comment from CAROLYN
Time: January 14, 2013, 5:48 pm

I Love the this bag. Could you steam other veg. in it also?

Comment from NO POLYESTER
Time: February 8, 2013, 10:27 pm

Do not use polyester in the microwave; not even blended cotton poly’s, and also not thread. And here’s why. Do you know what polyester is? It is plastic. Do you put plastic in your microwave? No. Why? It melts. If it doesn’t catch fire, it leeches into your food. Science has finally caught up with common sense, recently, and publicized that some plastics and other chemicals can cause cancer when ingested or rubbed into the skin.

Your polyester clothing and blankets are fine. Just don’t be eating them, lol!

You also want to make sure not to use cotton that’s been made fire retardant by chemicals. These will leech into your food as well. Certain weaving processes (such as being denser so as to not allow so much hot air between threads) can make some cottons less prone to fire than others, and that is your best bet. Some batting companies are taking small swatches of their denser cottons and marketing that as ‘potato’ batting. Use that. It’ll be a little more per ounce for shipping and packaging, versus getting huge blanket-sized batting, but that’s worth it for when just starting out.

Comment from Charlotte Cole
Time: February 15, 2013, 10:23 am

I bought all cotton material, thread and batting. I was going to make these for Christmas presents for my senior choir at church. I gave one to my daughter-in-law first and hers caught fire in the microwave. She put one potato in the bag and set the time for 3.5 minutes. The bag is black and disintegrated at the corner. I’m glad she tried the bag and gave me a heads-up before I gave these out as gifts. I think I will make pot holders instead.

Comment from Linda
Time: March 2, 2013, 4:56 pm

What measurements do I use to make a single potato bag. you said the finished size is 5×9 but I need the beginning measurements. thanks.

Comment from ewe beauty
Time: April 4, 2013, 6:22 am

so GLAD that others had problems with the thickness of the material!! ( thought it was just me?) I love these bags. I purchased one when visiting the Amish 2 yrs ago in the USA. have returned home and now making them for my friends in Australia!BUT taking heed to use 100% cotton fabric and batting…would hate to see a fire in the microwave…! loved reading your comments about the making and taking it ALL on board.. cheers .

Comment from Pam K
Time: April 13, 2013, 12:14 pm

I think I have figured the “fire thing’ out. I have two homes and two very different microwave ovens. My potato bags are identical and one scorched and the other one has not. It is the power of the microwave. I have learned to cook in short bursts in the more powerful oven. I cook in two minute intervals, turn, and cook two more times, usually for eight minutes total. In the older oven I cook for four minutes, turn and cook for the remainder of time needed to cook.

Comment from Mernie
Time: June 16, 2013, 4:21 pm

Can I use Pellon Thermolam-Plus for the batting? Or regular Warm and Natural batting? Or something else I can find easily at JoAnn Fabrics?

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Comment from Cindy
Time: August 5, 2013, 5:38 pm

I used Warm and Natural and it scorched terribly and stunk up the house. Hopefully can use it for hot pads instead of potato bags.

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Comment from Linda
Time: November 14, 2013, 3:50 pm

I was wondering what kind of potato is everyone using. I just made two with Russet potatoes. I did not like the taste that much. Our favorite potato is Golden Yucon. I will try that when I buy some.

Comment from Linda
Time: November 14, 2013, 3:55 pm

One more comment. I used cotton fabric, thread and the tater battering from Joann Fabrics. I did turn it after two minutes and it took about 5 minutes for the potato. No problem with scorching. My microwave is new and I think the wattage is 1000. My bag is small. I used 9 ” by 21″. Second bag will be bigger. I could not figure out where to place embroidery and was worried if I did not use all cotton thread. I guess I posted more than one comment

Comment from Betty Everett
Time: November 22, 2013, 10:39 am

I purchased 100per cent cotton cloth,batting,and used muslin lining, could not find cotton thread, my bag got burned black on the 2top corners, smelled terrible, so I will just keep using my baking dish. Not worth the trouble.

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Time: November 29, 2013, 8:57 am

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Comment from Duane
Time: November 30, 2013, 1:10 pm

i would like to puchase a couple of these bags from Gerri Nielsen, does she have the ability to contact her by email rather than writing to her from your address you provided? I live in Canada.


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Time: December 11, 2013, 10:24 pm

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Comment from Beth
Time: December 24, 2013, 8:44 pm

The potato bag turned out great, but on cooking 2nd potato the bag started to burn. I used 100% cotton material, batting and I thought cotton thread. What did I do wrong? I want to make another that doesn’t burn.

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Time: January 14, 2014, 5:06 am

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Comment from Judy
Time: January 31, 2014, 8:09 am

When making the potato bags you HAVE to use 100% cotton fabric, batting and thread. Double check and read the bag the batting comes in. It will say cotton batting on the front but the back says it also has a percentage of polyester in it. I have made many many of these bags over the years and have learned from experience. Some have scorched and some have caught fire. They are not to be used in a microwave that is over 1100 watts either. Just be careful. Made properly, they make the best baked potato and the bag keeps your potato hot until ready to eat.

Comment from Jane
Time: February 10, 2014, 5:54 pm

Received a potato bag as a gift. Have a friend that uses hers often. Well, not good. My bag caught on fire. Had one large potato in bag set for 6 minutes. I started to smell material burning Peeked in glass door of microwave and it was smoldering. I cracked the door open slightly then there was a flame. I verily cracked the door and waited a while to get it out. Took it outside where it continued to smolder and then of course I put it out with water.

Comment from kathy Lewis
Time: February 26, 2014, 3:46 pm

I ran across your video on the potato bag for the microwave. I bought the Hobbs Heirloom 100% cotton batting and using 100% thread and fabric, my question is on your video it doesn’t say anything and the 100% cotton batting containing scrim binding. That is what I am using is this ok? It seams to work ok but I want to give them as gifts so I wanted to check with someone first.

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Comment from barb
Time: June 5, 2014, 9:05 pm

I just finished reading all the comments on potato bags. I have been making these for 10 years and have had only a couple problems that were their fault. Do not use any material that has gold printing etc. that will cause fire. Sweet potatoes are great. They are in demand here the bags I mean.

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Time: June 10, 2014, 10:08 am

[…] 9. Microwave potato bag. If your lunch room has a microwave, make and pack this microwave bag for perfect baked potatoes. […]

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Time: June 10, 2014, 12:53 pm

[…] 9. Microwave potato bag. If your lunch room has a microwave, make and pack this microwave bag for perfect baked potatoes. […]

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Comment from Betty
Time: September 24, 2014, 10:58 am

Things I have learned from this site and other sites.

Fabric, thread, and battering must be 100% cotton. NO scrimb in the battering. No blends in the thread or fabric. Battering must say it is microwave safe or go on that company’s web site or phone the company for their input.

Bake at 2 min intervals and check the bag for signs of fire. NEVER MORE THAN 2 MIN. INTERVALS. Turn half way thought the baking process, even with a turn table. Rest between uses so the bag does not overheat. Do not touch the side of the microwave with the bag.

Must wash the bag before first use. Sizing can cause the fire. Always use a clean bag and microwave. Wrap the potato in a damp paper towel. Do not leave unattended. If testing the bag in the microwave, a food item must be included or the empty bag could catch fire.

Each microwave is different. Some have higher wattage which changes the bag’s directions. Baking time is different with the age, wattage, turntable, no turntable, etc. of the microwave.

Have I missed anything?

Comment from Betty
Time: September 24, 2014, 11:02 am

I forgot to add

no metal in the fabric.

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