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Tin Foil vs Aluminum Foil

What Makes You Mistake Tin Foil With Aluminum Foil?

At this point, you can tell that aluminum foil and tin foil are not the same. So what makes people mistake them? Well, I can tell you 3 leading causes why:

Similarities In The Appearances

You may only be able to identify aluminum foil wit
You may only be able to identify aluminum foil with tin foil in physical tests.

Let’s put the visible cause on top. Despite all the differences above, you can barely identify them in their appearance since they’re both thin sheets with one dull and one shiny side.

However, If you have both of these foils on the table, you’ll notice that tinfoil is slightly brighter than aluminum foil, and you may only feel their differences with physical tests.

Historical Truth Of Tin Foil And Aluminum Foil

To this particular misnomer, history has given it a touch. Aluminum foil has slowly taken over the place of tin foil that many people didn’t recognize the alteration. Let’s see why and how tin foil has been replaced by aluminum foil.

Aluminum Foil Begins Its Conquer Since 1910

In the late 19th century and early 20th century, tin foil was commonly used for packaging and insulating (2). Then there comes a higher durability foil with a lower price: aluminum foil.

Nevertheless, thanks to the ductility and cost-effectiveness of aluminum, many other manufacturers have begun to use it in their products in place of tin. Then aluminum quickly turned into a standard material of the packaging industry in the 1920s.

1940: When It Comes To Cooking

After 1940, tin foil was replaced by aluminum foil
After 1940, tin foil was replaced by aluminum foil and is widely known as a kitchen tool then.

In the 1940 Thanksgiving event of Reynolds Wrap, an employee could not find a pan to carry his turkey. Suppose to be a quick-witted person; he grabbed some foil nearby to hold the turkey.

The trick surprised people at that time. After that, aluminum foil began to be used in cooking and ended up being known worldwide as a kitchen tool today.

Generation Influences

We all believe in what our parents told us, aren’t we? It’s completely normal that you’ve grown up in a family where your parents use the name “tin foil” instead of aluminum foil.

After 1940, only a few groups preferred to call aluminum foil by its actual name, while others continued to use the phrase “tin foil”. Though the trend has changed, that can be considered the leading cause why the term “tin foil” still exists today.

Some Particular Geographical Places

In some parts of England, people tend to call the
In some parts of England, people tend to call the metal container “tin”.

In many countries, people have the behavior to call the new things by their original. Therefore, though tin foil was obsolete a long time ago, people still use that name for aluminum foil.

For example, people in some parts of England still prefer to call “tin” for their daily items today, such as a tin of coke, a tin of beans, etc. While those cans were actually made of aluminum, the same thing goes with foil.

Most of them will tell you that that’s what their parents used to call those items, and they’re just followed. I believe it wouldn’t benefit you to argue with them.


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Things To Avoid When Cooking With Aluminum Foil

Even though aluminum foil has a wide range of uses in cooking, there are some risky things that you should avoid. Unsure if aluminum foil is compatible with toaster ovens? Worried about foil’s compatibility with crockpots? Read on to find out what you need to avoid!

Cooking Acidic Foods With Aluminum Foil

If you’re cooking acidic foods with aluminum foil,
If you’re cooking acidic foods with aluminum foil, you should stop it for good!

As mentioned above, tin foil has been taken over by aluminum foil because of the bitter taste that it retains in the foods. However, there are cases that you could also feel the metal taste in your food if you’re cooking acidic food with aluminum foil.

Overusing aluminum foil, and you’re accidentally consuming an excess amount of aluminum. Though it is a metal that already exists in our body, having too much aluminum than necessary will give you some symptoms such as confusion, muscle or bone pain.

Scientifically, the recommended amount of aluminum is no more than 24g for a 60-kilogram person (3). In plain English, you should simply limit using aluminum in your daily cooking.

Putting Aluminum Foil In The Microwave

When it comes to aluminum foil’s compatibility with the microwave, it’s a lot more complicated than it appears to be. Although aluminum foils are famous for their flame resistance, using them in the microwave oven is a risky thing to do since they are made of metal.

Putting aluminum foil into the microwave oven would bounce back the microwaves, thereby, may damage your oven. Moreover, your foil can start to arcing or even catch on fire by itself.

With the notable distinctions between microwaves and toaster ovens taken into account, it’s not a good idea to put aluminum foil in microwaves whereas it’s okay to do so with toaster ovens. So you should be mindful about this.

Some recipes call for a small amount of aluminum foil in the microwave oven, which is less risky. But if you see any spark, remove your food from the oven immediately and try to find some substitute utensils.

There’s a high chance of an explosion using aluminum foil in the microwave oven.

Watch this video: What Does Metal Really Do In A Microwave?

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How Thick Is Aluminum Foil?

Regular aluminum foil, also called standard household or standard duty foil, will typically be around 0.63 mils thick. Some thicker aluminum foils or extra heavy-duty household foils can be up to 0.94 mils thick.

Manufacturers measure the thickness of foil, or the width of the foil, using a micrometer which measures the width to one-thousandth of an inch, represented as mils.

The Downsides Of Tin Foil

Tin foil is so convenient in the kitchen.

Tin foil is so convenient in the kitchen.

You reach for it when you want to cover a lasagna that’s cooking in the oven, or when you want to wrap some food leftovers or cover your fresh salad (after tossing it with eco-friendly bamboo salad servers, of course!). But aluminum foil comes with many drawbacks.

These include the following:

It Can Be Harmful To Health

Some research has found that tin foil can be harmful to our health by increasing the amount of aluminum in our bodies.

Aluminum containers and cooking utensils, as well as aluminum foil, all leach aluminum into food, as reported by Healthline. While the amount of aluminum we’re exposed to is considered safe, the site goes on to say that research has found higher levels of aluminum in people with Alzheimer’s disease.

It’s Bad For The Environment

Producing a ton of aluminum requires 170 million BTUs (British Thermal Units, a measure of energy).

This is the equivalent of 1,400 gallons of gasoline. It also releases approximately 12 tons of greenhouse gases.

Unlike the regular aluminum, which is often used to contain refillable zero-waste products, aluminum foil is not infinitely recyclable. When it’s disposed of, aluminum takes 400 years to decompose, as Curiosity reports.

Luckily, you don’t have to continue using aluminum tin foil in your home.

There are safer and eco-friendlier options available to you. 

When did aluminum foil take over?

The foil roll in your kitchen is made up of about 99 percent aluminum alloy, with a dull, silver appearance on one side and shiny one on the other. Basically, in 1910, a Swiss inventor created a continuous rolling process for aluminum, which changed the foil industry. In 1926, Americans started using aluminum foil for packing material in the U.S., and then it became an industry standard.

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Still, the new foil didn’t become a household item until a Reynolds staff member was caught in a dilemma on Thanksgiving with nothing to hold the turkey. Thinking quickly on his feet, he grabbed some aluminum foil he had lying around, it worked wonders, and the rest is history.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is aluminum tin foil eco friendly?

No. Aluminum foil or tin foil is not eco friendly because it is not reusable, is tricky to recycle and the production of aluminum foil is energy intensive. Luckily, there are some great alternatives that will cost you less in the long run and are much better for the environment! Check out these 5 Green Alternatives to Aluminum And Tin Foil here.

Can you recycle aluminum foil?

Aluminum foil can be recycled in the same way that aluminum cans/tins can be recycled but it needs to be thoroughly cleaned (if it is contaminated with food stuffs it cant be recycled) and many recycling centers do not accept it. Check with your local recycling depot if they accept aluminum foil or check out these 5 Green Alternatives to Aluminum And Tin Foil.

Are beeswax wraps better than aluminum foil?

Beeswax wraps are better than aluminum foil because they can be reused for much longer than aluminum foil, do not require a great deal of energy to produce and are compostable. Aluminum foil used a lot of energy to manufacture, is difficult to recycle and takes hundreds of years to breakdown in landfills. Read here for more info on beeswax wraps and other green alternatives aluminum and tin foil.