What’s with people wanting to microwave fabrics? There are several reasons for this, chief among them the quickness of microwaves when it comes to heating up anything with water molecules in them, leading to a steam-pressed feel from freshly microwaved clothes.
It can also disinfect clothes too from the temperatures it could reach. The danger of microwaving clothes comes from dry clothes with little moisture content. Those can catch fire.
Can You Microwave Flannel?
As with many fabrics out there, you shouldn’t. You should not microwave flannel. If you have to, how microwave-safe it depends on what fibers the flannel is made from. If it’s composed of synthetic fibers then it’s not microwaved safe. If it’s composed of organic fibers, it’s kind of safer than synthetic.
Certain fabrics catch fire or melt easier in the microwave than others—such as polyester or anything synthetic and plastic. However, even cotton and wool can catch fire if microwaved while dry. The thing is that plastic synthetics melt faster than organic threads can catch fire.
Temperature and Microwave Time Settings
The temperature and length of microwave time can also affect the microwave ability of your flannel item. 100 percent natural fabrics can withstand microwave radiation better than synthetics but only to a certain point.
Furthermore, there are exceptions to this rule of (wet) organic threads being microwave-safe. If you see evidence of gas or steam coming out of your microwave when microwaving your flannel shirt, then you forgot to moisten the fabric first to make it microwave-safe.
Further reading: Can You Microwave Felt? If It Felt Bad for You to Even Consider Microwaving Felt Then Your Gut Feeling is Correct!
So You Need to Microwave Wet Clothes Instead of Dry Clothes?
The main reason people microwave clothes, arts and crafts, and so forth in the first place is to quick-dry their wet items. It might take the whole day to traditionally dry your clothes on the clothesline. They also probably heard that their flannel shirt can get disinfected by microwaving them dry.
The heat from the microwaved water molecules turned steam kills the bacteria. A microwave can give your clothes that steam-pressed feel and appearance since its wetness is essentially turned into hot steam by microwave radiation.
There are many risks involved in microwaving fabrics. For example, most denim pants contain metal buttons or zippers that could induce arcing or sparks from your microwave oven. There are also plastic Velcro hooks to watch out that could melt from microwaving.
Absolutely Don’t Microwave Flannel Made of Polyester or Synthetics
If you put the wrong type of flannel (made of synthetics or polyester) into your appliance, they’ll melt like cheese on spaghetti, lasagna, or other hearty Italian dishes. They’d then burn inside out, as though you accidentally ironed through them.
Melting polyester flannel can also result in toxic fumes inside your kitchen. Your microwave can also become contaminated with toxicity, if not destroyed altogether. This is the problem with microwaving flannel. You risk ruining the item.
You’ll need to clean up the mess from the burning flannel afterwards. It might even leave a stain on the glass turntable or microwave interior. Transfer the hot ash of your flannel to your sink in a heat-protected pan then flush down the remains instead of putting it inside a trash can.
What about Microwaving Arts and Crafts Materials?
Microwaving arts and crafts material like felt depends on whether it’s made of polyester/synthetic fibers or wool/organic fibers. You might end up with a big mess to clean up if you microwave polyester-type felt. The felt might end up distorting from the heat if it’s polyester plastic felt.
Embroidery floss—a common arts and crafts companion of felt—is less likely to burn than felt because it’s usually made of something organic, like cotton or wool.
When microwaving both felt and embroidery floss, you should get ones made of cotton, rayon, linen, or even silk instead of cheap plastic or polyester to prevent melting issues within your microwave oven unit.
Can You Microwave Fabrics at All?
Fabrics weren’t made for microwaving. Microwaves weren’t made to heat up or dry out fabrics. That’s the long and short of it. Putting your clothing in a microwave is no better than putting your clothing inside a conventional oven or inside a pot for heating on a stovetop.
You shouldn’t even consider it but because microwaves instantly heat anything at the push of a button, people started having weird ideas about the appliance. Tumble drying or air drying clothing is the better option.
Some Microwaveable Fabrics and Their Limitations
Technically, you can microwave fabrics. You can microwave anything really. It’s another matter altogether on whether or not you’ll get good results out of microwaving. Most natural fabrics can be microwaved safely, like hot towels on therapy spas.
If the fabric has any metal on it, don’t microwave it. Arcing or sparks can occur, which can in turn make the fabric or flannel (or whatever else) catch fire inside the oven. If the oven interior gets too hot, it could damage the microwave circuitry itself.
Which Fabrics Are Microwave Safe?
Organic items made of 100 percent wool, cotton, hemp, and linen are microwave-safe but you shouldn’t microwave them dry. Microwave them damp or else the radiation can burn them up and set them on fire.
All-natural fibers can withstand the microwave better than plastics. A tumbler dryer is less likely to set your clothes on fire, whether it’s made of organic or synthetic threads. It’s best to use your microwave to reheat, defrost, or cook meals and make beverages.
Those dishes with milk, sauces, or water will end up ruined and tasting of melted polyester if you insist on using the appliance as an instant dryer. Long story short, microwave your flannel, fleece, Velcro, felt, and so forth at your own risk.
If you absolutely have to microwave clothing, do so when they’re damp or you risk burning them with those microwave rays.
Last Points to Ponder
Regarding how microwave-safe flannel is, here’s the deal. Synthetic polyester flannel is a no-go. 100% cotton or wool flannel can survive microwaving, but you need them wet first before heating.
On that note, you really shouldn’t use microwaves as your alternative to steam presses or irons. You should dry out clothes normally by air drying for good measure. However, if you’re really on the run and in a hurry then microwaving clothes can help instantly dry out wet clothes.