Can Boiling Water Break A Mug?

Mugs hold sentimental value to many. Although they may not last forever, you want to ensure that you can hold on to them for as long as possible. No; matter the special occasion, a mug is one of the gifts that will forever remain timeless. With regular usage, the question is, Can Boiling Water Break A Mug.

The effect of boiling water poured into a mug can depend on a few factors—the quality of the mug’s material and current condition. As well as the care routine you are currently using. These factors are instrumental in determining if boiling water may or may not cause breakage.

Let’s explore the effects of pouring boiling water into a mug and, if possible, what you can do to prevent the mug from breaking.

Effects Of Pouring Boiling Water Into A Mug

Although boiling water kills many disease-causing microorganisms, such as bacteria and viruses, the effect on a mug may not be as beneficial. Pouring boiling water into a mug may or may not cause it to break. The ripple effect of breakage depends on several factors listed below.

 Current Condition Of The Mug

Humans are creatures of habit in more ways than one. If you are guilty of reaching for your favorite mug each day, you will be able to relate. Our patterns often come at a price, so we overuse the mug until it breaks.

The effect of pouring boiling water into a mug that needs replacement due to cracks and chips could cause it to break.

Poorly Constructed Mug

Due to the ability to retain heat effectively, ceramic is one of the most commonly known materials. Often these mugs are enameled to prevent the mug from absorbing the water.

The challenge comes when these mugs are not correctly constructed. Pour in some boiling water, and instead of retaining the heat, the boiling water has a detrimental effect and it causes the mug to explode.

If you use a mug made in a pottery class, ensure it is well constructed. There has to be a ratio of silica to the clay body of the mug. Too much silica and the effect of boiling water reaching the mug could result in breakage.

Material Of The Mug

On average, a person will drink about 3 cups of coffee or tea daily, equating to about 86,000 cups over a lifetime. That is precisely how many times boiling water is poured into a mug. Can you imagine how many times you will have to replace your mug? If you are not using the appropriate cup constructed of the suitable material.

Years of research have gone into creating the most heat-resistant materials to construct a coffee mug. If you pour boiling water into a mug that cannot withstand the heat, then the chances are it will break.

How Can I Avoid Boiling Water From Breaking My Mug?

Although there is no guarantee that your mug will last forever, you can take methods to prevent boiling water from causing it to break. And if it still does, at least you know you tried. Besides, there is a famous saying, “Better to try and fail than never to try at all.”

By Placing A Stainless Steel Spoon In The Mug

A phenomenon called “heat shock.” although there is no scientific proof, there are often instances where a ceramic mug will crack or break when it comes into contact with boiling water. So in hindsight, you want to avoid the effect of this so-called “heat shock.” By diverting the impact of the heat to another element.

Try placing a stainless steel spoon into the mug before pouring the boiling water. Since stainless steel is heat resistant, the spoon will absorb the impact of the heat and protect the mug.

Avoid Pouring Boiling Water Into A Cold Mug

One lesson I learned was never to put boiling water into the fridge, causing the mug to explode. An experiment I would not repeat. Perhaps the same concept applies when pouring boiling water into a cold mug. I think pouring boiling water into a cold mug tends to cause heat stress leading to expansion of the cup, eventually causing breakage.

The uneven thermal profile from the cold outer surface to the hot inner surface of the mug causes shrinkage.

Discard Or Recycle Old Cracked Mugs

Perhaps you want to keep that pre-loved mug until it breaks. The good news is that you can still retain it without risking the chance of it breaking when boiling water is in contact with the mug.

To avoid boiling water breaking your mug in poor condition with cracks and chips, you can either discard it or put it to good use. Your cracked chip mugs can make perfect planters and stationery holders.

Use Good Quality Mugs

A mug is an investment. If your mug has some sentimental value and breaks, it can cause you some tears. A mug made of suitable quality materials will ensure that it provides you with years of usage, in the long run saving you money and many tears.

Choose a mug made of materials that can resist heat and the added benefit of keeping your coffee warmer for longer. Insulated stainless steel coffee mugs are the best for heat retention. It won’t crack or break when in contact with boiling water. The downside is that it might result in a metallic aftertaste in your mouth.

Ceramic and porcelain mugs are both mugs that won’t retain smells or tastes. In comparison, ceramic is likely more resistant to heat than porcelain. In hindsight, although glass looks good, the tensile strength of glass is not strong enough to withstand heat; if you are adamant about purchasing a glass mug, choose one made of toughened glass.

The chances are when in contact with boiling water, it won’t break.

 Test If Your Mug Will Break

Suppose you want to be sure that your mug can withstand heat retention and stand the test of time when in contact with boiling water. You can preheat your mug in the microwave. If the mug can handle the heat, it should be able to withstand boiling water.


Boiling water may or may not break a mug. The tensile strength of the mug to withstand this heat will depend on the current condition of the mug, the material, and the care routine. Pouring boiling water into a cold mug can often jeopardize the longevity of the mug.


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