Direct Cremate

What CAN’T Be Cremated EVER

Need to know what can’t be cremated with the deceased? Find out what items should never go in a cremation retort and why they can’t be cremated.
Items That Should Never Be Put in a Cremation Retort
Items That Should Never Be Put in a Cremation Retort

Often, we think about what we’ll be cremated or buried with, but have you ever wondered about what items should never be put in a cremation retort? The cremation process can make it dangerous for some items to be scorched inside. 

We’re here to guide you through the sensitive topic of what to leave out of a cremation chamber so that direct cremation is an easy and seamless process for all involved. Let’s take a look at six things you should never put in a cremation retort. 

Medical Devices

Some medical devices absolutely have to be removed prior to cremation. We’ve explained the reasons why medical devices can’t be cremated, but the primary reason is because devices with batteries can explode due to the high temperatures. Pacemakers are the biggest problem. 


When we bid farewell to our loved ones, it’s common for the deceased to wear jewelry that was meaningful to them during a viewing or funeral service. But what happens if the jewelry is worn during cremation?

It’s destroyed. The precious metals that are used to make jewelry – gold, silver, platinum – melt in the extremely high temperatures of a retort. To put it in perspective, 14 karat gold melts at 1,550 degrees Fahrenheit. A cremation retort gets to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit inside. 

Anything Metal, Like Medals

You also don’t want to put anything metal, like medals, in the retort for the same reason you don’t want to cremate jewelry – it will usually melt. Keep this in mind with things like belts, shoes and clothing with zippers. 

But what about metal in the body? Like rods and pins – do they have to be removed before cremation? 

Metals inside a body don’t have to be removed. They will likely melt but can be separated from the cremains at the end of the cremation using a magnet. 

Glass Objects

The problem with glass isn’t that it melts, it’s that glass can explode at high temperatures. Any sort of memorabilia, jewelry, ect. made of glass can’t be cremated. 

Toxic Plastics

Incineration usually leads to smoke and gasses releasing into the air. The possibility of releasing toxic fumes into the air is one of the few concerns about direct cremation. But you can largely avoid this problem by not incinerating certain materials, and many plastics fall into the do-not-cremate category.

Plastics are typically made with synthetic (not-natural) materials, many of which are toxic. What plastics are considered toxic? They include:

  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) a.k.a. “poison plastic”
  • Polycarbonate (PC)
  • Polystyrene (PS)
  • Black plastics

Ornate Clothing or Accessories

Most of the time, the deceased is dressed in something simple for direct cremation since there’s no viewing. However, what the deceased wears during cremation is up to the family and the crematorium. There may be limitations with some clothing and accessories if they are ornate or decorative. The concern for the crematorium is that it could damage the retort or cause toxic fumes. 

A good rule of thumb is that if it’s combustible it can go in a cremation retort. If it melts or explodes in high heat it needs to be left out.

Have questions about direct cremation? Our team is available by phone or text 24/7 to provide answers!