can you microwave clothes to dry them
Kristina Davis

Can you microwave clothes to dry them or not? Considering the primary function of a microwave is to heat things up, it sounds logical to put your wet clothes in it.

✅ But should you really do it?

It takes two liters of water to wring dry a load of laundry, which is plenty for a pair of slacks or a T-shirt.

And that is why your microwave is not likely to work with larger clothing items. Not to mention you increase the risk of getting steam burns.

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So, can you put clothes in the microwave, or is it off-limits?

The truth is that you can certainly put small clothing items in your microwave to dry, but you have to use the right technique and consider the fabric as well. 

The Wonderful World of Microwave Ovens

ovens wonderful world

The food in a microwave oven is heated by electromagnetic radiation.

Carbs, fat, and water all absorb these waves, which “excite” them and cause them to vibrate rapidly enough to generate heat.

You need to understand that these waves can only penetrate up to an inch or so.

This is why you notice microwaved foods are only hot from the outside but still very cold from the inside.

✅ Keeping that in mind, you can decide if it would be a good idea to use your microwave to dry your clothes.

It seems possible, but there are specific guidelines to follow. 

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Can You Microwave Clothes To Dry Them or Not?

microwave drying clothes

Depending on the fabric of your clothing items, you may or may not be able to dry them through your microwave.

When microwaved, clothes can undergo several changes. The clothing may be warm, but it will not be dry.

This is because the microwave acts more like a warmer than a drier.

like warmer than dryer

It warms up everything, including any moisture in your clothes.

Similarly, you will notice that unless it is made of 100% cotton, you can end up with a disaster on your hands.

✅ Even if it is a cotton-polyester combination, polyester will still melt on you.

Also, nylon will behave in the same way, and it is even more dangerous with spandex. 

An Important Consideration

It is always possible to damage your microwave when drying clothes in it. You could hurt yourself and your property if you do not follow all safety guidelines.

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important consideration

It can happen because of metal fasteners, including zippers, buttons, rivets, and studs.

Always remember that metal and microwave just do not sit well together. 

The Size Does Matter When Microwaving Clothes

size does matter

Although an oven is not ideal for drying delicates, you may heat and dry smaller items.

You may consider using your microwave to dry bra tops, undergarments, and other tiny articles.

If you want to do it, you can do the following:

  1. Begin by preheating your oven to 100C for about 10 minutes.
  2. Then, switch off your oven.
  3. Now, put your small clothing items inside.
  4. Ensure that you do not touch any heating elements or oven walls in the process.

Keep in mind that you can dry your smaller items using your oven, but it takes a lot of time. Expect up to an hour to dry a couple of boxer shorts.

What To Expect When Drying Clothes in Your Microwave?

dry clothes in microwave

A microwave oven’s versatility is practically limitless. But do not get your hopes up, though.

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✅ In most cases, socks made entirely of cotton can be microwaved without fear of melting metal or plastic.

But, if the material in question is a combination of cotton, natural, or synthetic fiber, it is a different story.

When you take those socks out of the microwave, they will not be the same size or form as when you put them in.

And even if they are made of natural fibers, they may not come out as dry as you expected.

not dry as expectation

It means your feet may feel toasty when wearing your socks, but you may also notice dampness to a certain degree.

It is mainly because the ultimate goal of your microwave is to ‘heat’ things and not ‘dry’ them.

But if you still try it, be prepared to stay content with less-than-desired results.

Tip: Consider putting your towel inside a microwave-safe bowl to help make it dry in a safe way.

Tips for Drying Clothes in Your Microwave

drying clothes tips

Can you microwave wet clothes to dry them? While you should use it as your last resort, you can still do it nevertheless.

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You have to practice some care if you are going this way. For instance, you should always remove metal pins, tags, or clips from your clothes.

Similarly, putting a dry towel in your microwave is not a good idea, as it would feel rougher afterward.

But it is okay to put your wet towel inside. Just be sure to wring out any excess water before putting it in the microwave.

wet towel inside

Remember to consider its material, no matter what you put in your microwave.

Some synthetic fabrics are easily ignited by intense heat. If you cannot extinguish the fire quickly, your microwave will be destroyed.

Tip: Consider adding a few drops of essential oil to your towels when drying them in your microwave to make them smell lovely.

What Besides Microwave Helps Dry Clothes Without a Dryer?

clothes drying

As you may have gathered that while you can use your microwave, you may not get the best results when drying clothes. 

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However, trying other, more suitable alternatives is possible when you do not have a tumble dryer available. 

Use the Washing Line Outside

Keep utilizing the laundry line if the weather is windy and dry; you do not have to wait for summer to start using it.

If it appears to rain later, you can bring the clothes off the line and cover them with a dry ground sheet.

outside washing lines

It is a cost-effective way to dry your clothes and offers other benefits too.

Cleaning and airing your clothes before putting them away helps extend the life of your wardrobe and ensure that your favorites stay favorites for longer.

Tip: Dry your clothes outside whenever possible because it eliminates moisture trapped in the fibers and helps your clothes smell nice. 

Make Use of the Drying Rack

make use of drying rack

Refrain from fretting if you lack a backyard. To dry clothes quickly and efficiently, you must set up your drying rack next to your radiator.

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While doing so, put a large sheet on your heating appliance and then drape it over the rack.

This will act as insulation, preventing heat from escaping. A steady stream of air from a fan can also aid evaporation. 

Get a Dehumidifier

use a dehumidifier

When you cannot dry your clothes in a dryer, and the weather is not ideal outside, you can simply hang them inside.

But everyone knows it could lead to a problem related to condensation.

To handle that, investing in a dehumidifier is a good idea, which also offers many additional benefits.

For that purpose, you need to look for a dehumidifier that comes with a laundry setting.

If you have a lot of clothes to dry, it might help eliminate the “damp chill” aspect in the room.

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chill of damp

A dehumidifier may seem like a lot of money upfront, which is true to some extent.

But it may save you time and energy by drawing in the room’s air, extracting the moisture, and then releasing the warm, dry air.

Tip: Invest in radiator airers when you want to dry clothes inside, and you will notice your clothes become dry in less time with fewer creases. 

Takeaway

Can you microwave clothes to dry them? You can definitely give it a shot, which might work, especially with smaller clothing items.

But you have to follow safety guidelines and double-check the fabric before exposing anything to the heat of your microwave.

Remember, not all natural fibers can be microwaved. Those that are more easily damaged by heat may collapse into a heap of fabric after a heat cycle.

So, be careful, and if unsure, try other alternatives to dry clothes without a dryer.

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