Nylon, like polyester, is a type of synthetic and plastic thread. Invented by Wallace Carothers and DuPont, the nylon family of synthetic polymers is typically composed of polyamides (repeating units linked together by amide links) synthetic plastics.
So can you microwave nylon? No, you can’t. Or rather, you can’t without facing some serious consequences that can ruin your microwave oven and your nylon threads in more ways than one. Keep on reading to find out more about it.
Can You Microwave Nylon?
Nylon a silky thermoplastic material made of petroleum. It’s melt-processed into shapes, films, or fibers. It’s made to melt. Therefore, its worst enemy is something like the microwave oven. Never consider putting nylon inside your microwave. It’s no better than stove cooking it to dry it out.
While there are actually synthetic or plastic materials available that you can microwave safely (not that you should and we don’t recommend it), it’s best to avoid nylon items the same way polyester should never be microwaved.
We emphasize that you shouldn’t be microwaving threads, clothes, and apparel in the first place anyway. Unless the things you’re heating up are heating pads or hot towels for spas, it’s not a recommended practice at all.
Nylon Will Absolutely Melt Then Burn in the Microwave
Nylon will melt then burn when heated with a microwave, especially if it’s the fabric or textile type of nylon. There might be exceptions to this rule but this is still the rule. The plastics that can mainly resist being heated by microwave are of the thick and hard Tupperware variety.
Check the label first to ensure that something made of nylon and that is created for heating inside a microwave—like a medical heating bag or pad—is microwave-safe. If there’s no label, presume it’s not microwave-safe.
Take note that heating bags and hot towels are unlikely to be made of nylon. Instead, they’re probably composed of plant-based cotton or animal-based wool as well as anything else that’s organic and resistant to burning up via microwaving.
If it’s a nylon food container, it should by FDA decree declare whether it’s microwave-safe or not. If it lacks the label, presume it is not safe for microwaving. If it has the label but it’s cracked, old, or compromised, don’t use it for microwaving regardless.
What Should You Expect If You were to Microwave Nylon Anyway?
If it’s just a certain number of seconds below a minute in order to dry out wet nylon, there’s a possibility of the nylon not melting. It’s like there’s always a non-zero chance of you surviving walking through highway traffic without being hit once by speeding cars.
Surviving that hypothetical situation won’t change the fact that the risk of disaster is there and you increase the chances of something bad happening the more you try your luck. Being lucky doesn’t somehow undo the fact that the act itself is risky.
The Consequences of Such Actions
When you microwave nylon at a long enough amount of time wherein the water molecules reach a certain temperature, expect the nylon to melt. When there’s barely any moisture left, the nylon would then proceed to burn.
Be careful when nylon is burning. It must be taken out of the microwave and extinguished immediately. A big enough open flame can ruin your expensive microwave from the inside. You should also watch out for any toxic fumes that can come forth from burning nylon.
Can You Make Microwaving Nylon Safe Somehow?
There are people who claim that if a nylon container is in the blend and you have fillers like cherry pits, corn, or rice inside of it, then the nylon can be safely placed in the microwave. The logic behind this is that the fillers absorb the microwaves, leaving the nylon alone.
However, nylon microwaving should be taken care of on a case-by-case basis. Don’t assume you can use this “solution” to make all types of nylon suddenly microwave-safe. Furthermore, there’s no solid scientific basis for this claim.
Some food containers made of polyester, nylon, or plastic can be heated up to 10 times or more. However, that doesn’t mean they won’t melt after the 11th, 20th, or 100th microwaving.
Further reading: Can You Microwave Flannel or Not? Learn the Truth
Can You Put Rayon Fabric in the Microwave?
Rayon is an artificial textile material composed of regenerated and purified cellulose derived from plant sources. Developed in the late 19th century as a substitute for silk, rayon ended up being the first man-made or synthetic fiber.
Rayon is a third-party fabric that has the best of both worlds by having synthetic and natural ingredients involved in its creation. It’s made from plants like cotton but it’s not a naturally occurring substance like polyester.
So Is Rayon Conclusively Microwave-Safe?
Regarding the microwave-safeness of rayon, there’s a scientific study claiming it’s perfectly microwave-safe. Therefore, we consider it as safe inside the microwave as cotton. Microwave it damp or slightly moist but beware of microwaving it for too long while being too dry.
Like with nylon, microwaving rayon should be taken into careful consideration and on a case-by-case basis. Certain parameters like the power level or wattage of the microwave, how high-grade the fabric is, and how long the rayon is being microwaved can affect its safeness inside the oven.
Err on the Side of Caution
Do people realize how insane it is to ask whether or not it’s safe to microwave nylon? Not as many people wonder about the safeness of putting nylon, polyester, and so forth inside a preheated conventional oven, so why are they treating microwave ovens any different?
Read the recommendation on the label of the product—some of which now have warnings on avoiding microwaving—because manufacturers know the flammability of their product and have disclaimers present to avoid litigation.
Expectations and Realities
First off, don’t microwave nylon. It’s not microwave-safe. Putting fabrics inside the microwave for heating, steaming, or drying purposes should be approached with caution and ample research.
When worse comes to worst, you can always cut a piece of the fabric and test microwave it to see the results for yourself.
When being used for legitimate baking and cooking, you should stick to all-natural fabrics and avoid synthetic ones like nylon, polyester, or even rayon (even though it’s allegedly microwave-safe). When drying wet fabrics, use a tumble dryer or blow dryer instead of the microwave.
- James V., “Can You Microwave Fabric?“, SewingIsCool.com, May 12, 2021
- James V., “Microwave-Safe Thread: Can You Microwave Polyester Thread?“, SewingIsCool.com, January 23, 2021
- “Nylon“, Wikipedia, Retrieved May 19, 2021