Using the microwave to dry clothes is not an unfamiliar concept; many people have tried this trick on busy days when reaching a dryer was difficult. But is it a safe thing to do? What if the microwave burns your clothes or discolors them? Plus, what about the microwave’s safety?
These are legit questions you should ask yourself before drying clothes in a microwave. And if you’re thinking of using the microwave for this quick laundry task, we have got you covered.
Let’s discuss everything about drying clothes in a microwave and know if this is a practical approach!
Can You Dry Clothes in the Microwave?
Yes, you can dry clothes in the microwave, and its powerful heating mechanism will quickly evaporate their moisture. But, since synthetic and dyed fabrics are not microwave-safe, doing this task is never a practical decision. Drying clothes in a microwave can damage your clothes, cause sparks in the microwave, or burn your skin in the worst scenarios. If you must microwave clothes, be extremely careful of the time and temperature settings to safeguard everything.
People often think microwaves are viable options for drying clothes because of their powerful heating capacity and quick working. However, stuffing wet clothes in a microwave for drying is never risk-free.
If you must dry clothes in a microwave for the lack of a better option, don’t run the microwave for more than 20 seconds in one go. Make sure your clothes are microwaveable and there are no metal objects or bleeding dyes on them.
Even if you follow all precautionary measures, a microwave won’t give as good results as a dryer. It will only evaporate some moisture and heat up the fabric – so there’s no point in microwaving clothes if the results are shoddy.
Is it safe to dry clothes in the microwave?
No, it’s not safe to dry clothes in the microwave, especially when you’re unaware of the clothes’ material. Microwaving the clothes can cause sparks, discolor the fabric, and damage your appliance. Cloth materials like nylon, spandex, and polyester can melt in the microwave, which is counterproductive.
Similarly, pure fabric materials such as cotton can catch fire in the microwave if you leave the appliance on for a long time.
Don’t pull this stunt unless you’re 100% sure that your clothes are microwave-safe. You can risk your safety and damage the microwave if something goes wrong with this.
Metal objects like zippers, elastic bands, and polyester fabric are likely to catch fire in the microwave because of the extreme heat.
If you check the clothes’ materials and heat-bearing capacity beforehand, you can prevent several damages. The optimal time limit for microwaving clothes is 10-20 seconds; if you cross this, you’ll have a burnt mess.
How do I know if a cloth is microwave-safe or not?
Clothing brands are unlikely to categorize clothes as microwave-safe and unsafe because this isn’t a common way of drying them.
But if you want to know whether a certain shirt or jacket can go in the microwave, there are some parameters you can check to make a safe decision.
Check Clothing Labels
Some clothes come with microwave-safe signs that make this decision easier for you.
Check the inside of your shirt’s collar or jeans’ waistband to see if there’s a sign. If it’s marked as heat-proof, you can put that clothing item in the microwave for a short duration to dry it.
Read up on the Fabric Type
Synthetic fabrics are never microwave-safe, so they’re always off-limits.
Clothes with spandex, elastic, polyester, and silk threads are explosive and must not go in the microwave. Similarly, metal buttons, zippers, and chemical dyes are also a no-no for a microwave.
If you stuff a heavily dyed or synthetic clothing item in the microwave, it can set the whole appliance on fire. Cotton, linen, and undyed denim clothes are reasonably heat-resistant; you can put them in the microwave.
No matter which material your clothes are made of, don’t be careless while drying them in the microwave. You can risk fire, smoke, and spark hazards by drying combustible clothes in the microwave.
How to safely Dry clothes in a Microwave?
Once you’re sure that your clothes can bear the microwave’s blasting heat, the next step is to complete this task. Your seemingly safe clothes can create a big mess if you don’t follow certain safety protocols.
Here’s how you can dry clothes in a microwave:
- Squeeze Extra Water
Putting a dripping shirt or towel in the microwave will not only take longer, but it will also risk the microwave’s safety.
Therefore, start with squeezing excess water from your wet clothes. Make sure the clothes you’re about to dry in the microwave are damp-slightly wet, not drenched in water.
- Put the Clothes in a Bowl
Don’t directly stuff wet clothes in the microwave because they need some evaporating space for drying.
Instead, put your wet clothes in a glass bowl and stuff that in the microwave. Even if something goes wrong during the drying process, the bowl will contain the damage, and your microwave will be safe.
- Microwave it for 10-20 seconds
Your clothes’ duration inside the microwave will determine whether they come out safe or damaged. The ideal time to dry clothes in the microwave is 10-20 seconds because its powerful heating system will quickly get done with this task.
Leave your wet clothes in the microwave for 10 seconds and check upon them. If they are fine but still wet, repeat this step unless you’re happy with the results.
Is it worth it to Microwave clothes to kill bacteria?
Heat can kill bacteria and help sterilize surfaces for a safer life. But microwaving clothes to kill the bacteria and other germs present in them is not worth it.
Firstly, you can only microwave clothes for a short duration which is usually not enough to kill bacteria. If you leave clothes in the microwave for too long, hoping it’ll make things better, you might have a burnt mess.
Secondly, a microwave will only heat your clothes’ upper layer, leaving the inner folds wet. And since sterilizing means removing germs from an entire surface, using a microwave for this purpose is not practical.
Putting clothes in the microwave to kill germs and improve their well-being can be counterproductive if you’re careless.
So, taking this risk is never worth it. If you are concerned about your clothes’ safety, use a good-quality detergent and wash them with warm water.
Can I dry my socks in the microwave?
Although you can dry small clothing items like scarves, towels, and handkerchiefs in the microwave, doing so with socks is unsafe. Socks have stretchable threads of nylon and elastic that can melt in the microwave.
If you put socks in the microwave, you’ll damage them and the appliance simultaneously. So, we suggest you never try this at home. The nylon threads in your socks will quickly melt and catch fire if left unattended – drying them in the microwave is not worth it.
Can I microwave a towel to dry it quickly?
Yes, you can microwave a towel to dry it or heat it quickly. Towels are usually made from pure fabric materials that are not as explosive as nylon or polyester – putting them in the microwave is mostly safe.
However, you must be careful of the microwave’s timing while drying a towel in it. The max time your towel can stay in the microwave is 10 seconds in one go. Unplug your microwave after 10 seconds and see if the towel is fine.
Secondly, heating a towel for too long will burn its fur and impact its softness. Dry a towel in the microwave by following the steps we have shared above, and you’re good.
You can also microwave a towel to use it as a heating pad. But be careful of your microwave’s temperature settings, and don’t leave the towel unattended!
Drying clothes in the microwave is not a far-fetched idea because many people have tried this stunt. If you see the microwave as a handy cloth-dryer, drop the idea right away. A microwave is supposed to heat stuff at a blasting temperature, not dry it.
If you stuff wet clothes in the microwave, they can melt, burn, or discolor because of its high heat. Similarly, clothing materials like elastic, polyester, and satin silk are highly combustible when put in the microwave.
When you dry clothes in the microwave, make sure they’re made from microwave-safe materials. Cotton, linen, and denim are generally heat-resistant, so you can microwave them for short durations.
However, clothes with synthetic fibers and metal objects can catch fire in the microwave. Don’t risk your safety by drying clothes in a microwave; prefer air drying or leave them for a while under the ceiling fan instead of risking your safety!