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Can You Dry Clothes in the Microwave? (Microwave Safety Tips)

man using microwave

Sometimes you spill water on yourself or get something wet, and you don’t have time to toss it in the regular dryer. There is a rumor that you can quickly dry clothes in the microwave if you are in a pinch. But can you actually put these items into the microwave and get a quick dry? The answer, in the vast majority of cases, is no. You should not attempt to microwave your clothes in order to dry them. There is only one type of material that can safely be dried in the microwave, and that is pure cotton.

Here is everything you need to know about drying clothes in the microwave and alternatives for a faster and safer drying session.

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Rule Number One: 100% Cotton Items Only

The only thing that can conceivably be dried in the microwave are clothes made from 100% cotton. Since cotton is a completely natural fiber, it will react predictably inside a microwave. But many other types of materials, like wool or synthetic threads, do not behave predictably in the microwave.

Cotton can be dried in the microwave, but you should still refrain from putting any clothes into the microwave. Microwaves are small and can rapidly fill up with clothes if you stuff them full. A full microwave full of water and clothes will not function as intended, and it can actually lead to a dangerous electrical fire in the worst situations.

Clothes You Should Never Dry in the Microwave

While you really shouldn’t be sticking any clothes in the microwave, there are some clothes you should never ever try to microwave. Any clothes with metal parts or pieces are a big no go. Metal can cause a fire in the microwave. Clothes like pants or jackets with metal buttons or zippers will attract the microwave’s heat and can lead to an electrical fire.

Similarly, you should not put any clothes with plastic or synthetic parts or threads into the microwave. Many clothes today have materials like spandex and similar stretchy polyesters that can melt and burn holes in your clothes if they are put in the microwave. Some shirts have small plastic hooks in them, too, to help you hang them up. These can also melt.

Metals and things that melt and burn can destroy your clothes, destroy your microwave and lead to a dangerous fire. Avoid putting any of these types of materials into the microwave at any point but especially when it pertains to clothing.

a woman holding a laundry basket
Image By: Karolina Grabowska, Pexels

Rule Number Two: Check the Label

When in doubt, be sure to check the label of your clothes before putting anything in the microwave. If you are absolutely dead set on drying a piece of cotton clothing in the microwave, against the recommendation of experts, be sure to check the label first. If it says anything other than 100% cotton do not put it in the microwave. Period.

Safer Alternatives for Rapid Clothes Drying

The truth is that sometimes there are situations where you want to try to dry something extremely quickly. In a panic, it might sound like a good idea to throw something in the microwave but there are other options to attempt that are much safer and just as effective. First, you can lay out your wet piece of clothing and then tightly roll it into a fresh towel. Wring out the clothing, then roll it into the towel. Wait a couple of minutes and the clothing should be dry enough to wear even if it is a little damp.

You can also try to use an iron or hair dryer to quickly remove wet spots from a piece of clothing. These two items also use heat to rapidly dry clothing without resorting to using a microwave. Irons and hair dryers can still burn you, but they are much less likely to catch fire than the microwave is.

woman ironing clothes
Image By: Andrey_Popov, Shutterstock

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In most situations, you should absolutely avoid putting any clothing in the microwave. Plastics or hidden metals can cause your microwave to catch on fire which can be incredibly dangerous. Only one type of cloth, 100% cotton, has been proven to be able to be effectively microwaved, but there are other safer alternatives to try instead of forcing your microwave to do something it was never designed to do.

Featured Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock


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