You Can Put a Towel In the Microwave But It’s Not Totally Safe!

One of the quickest and most effective kitchen appliances is the microwave. It is pretty normal to use a paper towel to line a plate or cover food to prevent splatter, so it may seem simple to simply toss a piece of paper towel into the microwave when cooking, too.

Stop for a minute and ask yourself: “Can You Microwave a Towel?” The simple answer is, Yes, a towel can be microwaved(But sometimes you can’t, that’s why we have this article, but you can always use an air fryer microwave combo). Microwaving a towel is a quick and easy way to help with cleaning up. With a microwave, a warm towel can be prepared in only a matter of minutes.

A heated towel can even prevent morning shivers during the winter. On chilly mornings, nothing is more soothing and rejuvenating than coming out of the shower and wrapping oneself in a warm towel.

Some people assert that it is no problem to microwave towels, while others are emphatic that it should never be attempted. Read this page for information, advice, and tactics on how to do it safely and correctly. In addition, you will discover what happens when I try microwaving both dry and wet towels!

You undoubtedly already know that placing metal or foil in a microwave is a recipe for disaster. However, what about a damp towel? Have you tried it before? If you haven’t already, don’t worry; we have. You only need to read this experiment carefully once, before you try it yourself.

Why do You Microwave Towels? What are the benefits?

Why would someone want to put a towel in the microwave, and what are the potential benefits of doing so? This is probably a question that a lot of people have.

It could be done for a number of reasons. When trying to maintain good facial skin, using a towel that has been heated in the microwave is an effective technique to open pores.

If you suffer from muscle aches or are looking for a way to help unwind after a long and taxing day, placing your towel in the microwave for a few minutes can create an excellent pain reliever and provide therapeutic benefits.

First, let’s know how a microwave works so that you may know what is safe to microwave.

How does the microwave work?

Microwave ovens heat meals with electromagnetic radiation. The microwave’s non-ionizing radiation does not render food radioactive, however. The only time microwave radiation is produced is while the oven is functioning. The microwaves produced within the oven are received by the food, which generates the heat necessary for cooking. 

Inside the oven, an electron tube called a magnetron generates microwaves. The microwaves reflect within the oven’s metal interior, where they are directed to, and absorbed by the food. Microwaves cause food’s water molecules to vibrate, which generates the heat which cooks the food. The heat energy departing from piping hot food is easily seen by the steam that forms around it. 

Errant metal, such as foil, also has the potential to reflect these waves, causing them to collide unevenly inside the microwave oven. This could cause the transmitter and microwave to malfunction. If you have ever witnessed what appears to be lightning in a microwave, this is the cause. It is extremely harmful to the microwave and can also be quite dangerous, so ensure that you do not insert any metal while cooking. 

What happens when you microwave wet or dry towels? 3 Case study

Many people from around the globe may have tried putting both dry and wet towels in the microwave. I will elaborate on some undesirable scenarios, however, so that you can avoid negative consequences. 

A woman from the US stated her experience with trying to dry fabric in the following manner “I microwaved the item I wanted to dry. First, maybe 60–90 seconds, depending on size. It becomes heated as the water becomes steam. Then, after removing it, I flap it about until cold and the steam disappears. I put it in for another run – but as the object dries, you should shorten the time or it may burn.” 

“Synthetics melt if they get too hot, but I’ve accidentally let cotton get hot enough to burn my fingers, so I now use a dish towel when I flap the material about. Let it dry in front of a fan or for 30 minutes to avoid burning. I may only heat the thing for 15 seconds, but you should always be careful at the end”

In another situation, a man of over 50 told a story of when he tried drying his damp socks in a  hurry, which resulted in some seriously bad consequences. “In my 20s, I had no clean socks left, except for the ones that were drying. I microwaved my socks and waved them to air them out. Then I re-microwaved until they were completely dry.”

“They used to dry faster than air drying or fan-heating. I tried it several times due to my early 20s laziness but, finally, I microwaved socks for too long and discovered them burning! I don’t know if they were damp, dry, or just in a bad spot. I now start my laundry before I run out of socks, so it can dry naturally, which is better for me!”.

Lastly, in another unfortunate scenario, a blind American man died after accidentally lighting his clothes on fire while trying to microwave a towel.

Pennsylvania’s 68-year-old James Shaffer was hospitalized after warming the towel for his leg. Investigators said a dry towel can ignite in a microwave after only 15 seconds, which Shaffer didn’t know. He ended up lighting his garments on fire, and smoke inhalation killed Mr. Shaffer in the hospital the following day.

You must be alert now, after reading a brief overview of these three scenarios. The potential hazard is clearly a fire outbreak, so you should pay attention to the proper method of putting a dry or damp towel in the microwave for only a limited time. 

I am here for you though! I have come up with this article after making some practical experiments and refining the process until the result was perfect. So, you can totally rely on this article. However, do not skip and read till the end to avoid missing any important points. 

can you put a towel in the microwave

How to microwave a wet towel correctly

There are numerous types of towels, but the most common ones are made of cotton or polyester. The main components of cotton towels are air and cellulose, whereas polyester towels contain polyethylene.

If performed correctly, this procedure is fairly quick and straightforward.

1. Moisten the Item

Allow the water to become as hot as possible under the faucet and saturate it fully. Squeeze out as much surplus water as possible until there is no leakage. You just want it moist. Leaking too much water into your microwave can potentially cause it to malfunction and, it will take longer to heat.

2. Utilize a microwave-safe dish.

To prevent contamination, don’t put the towel directly on the microwave plate, especially if you’re going to use it on your face. Put it in a clean, microwave-safe shallow dish or platter.

3. If Necessary, Reduce the Power

To avoid overheating the towel or washcloth, it is advised to reduce the power to between 50 and 75%.

4. Start with Small Steps

In the beginning, microwave the food in 10-second increments and check the temperature after each cycle. If 10 seconds does not appear to be sufficient, you may extend it to 20 or 30 seconds as needed.

It is crucial that you do not leave the microwave running unattended. Always keep a tight eye on it to prevent it from catching fire or scorching the material.

5. Permit to Cool Slightly Prior to Use

This is particularly critical if the material will be used on the face. This skin is extremely sensitive and burns very quickly. So, to prevent scorching, allow the towel to cool for up to one minute before applying it to your skin.

Points to consider when microwaving a wet or dry towel

There are a few things that you need to keep in mind while you choose to microwave a wet towel. 

1. Material of the towel

Microwaving a cotton towel for too long may cause it to smolder rather than catch fire due to its low water content. Towels that catch fire pose a serious risk, particularly to other nearby flammables, like drapes and other fabrics. Microwaving paper towels, with their thin plastic coating, can also contribute to fires. They could spontaneously combust or dissolve. 

2. Set microwave in Low power mode

Towels heated in the microwave commonly raise safety concerns since they may ignite if left in for too long. Towels heated with microwaves can reach temperatures of 160 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, which is hot enough to start a fire. 

Towels heated in the microwave should also be left alone for a few minutes before being removed to prevent accidental burns. You should wait for them to cool down naturally by setting them down for a while.

3. Less water

Always remember if a towel is way too watery it can result into a complete color change or in the worst cases it might cause a malfunction. Thus, you should remove excess water from the towel by putting it aside for some time or you can the towel in opposite direction. It will release extra water and you will be ready to get going. 

4. Time  

Never leave your towel on the heating pad for more than ten or fifteen seconds at a time. Towels can be microwaved, although it may take many bursts to make them warm enough. Simply rinse and repeat until the entire towel is hot or warm, as desired. 

5. Does the towel have a metal tag?

Some towels come with a logo on a metal tag or foil. Always look for such details on the towel to avoid any potential hazard. Metal and foil should never be heated in a microwave. 

Placing a metal object in a microwave will cause it to overheat and possibly spark. It’s important to remember that foil can reflect microwaves, which could result in sparks that start fires, particularly during this heating process. 

6. Make sure the towel is distributed evenly

Distribute the towel evenly in the microwave when placing it for drying or heating. It won’t be properly dried if you put it in there like all balled up! So, take your some time, and don’t be too lazy when following these instructions. 

7. Microwave size

It is not a good idea to use a large towel in a microwave that has a limited amount of space. It is reasonable to take the precaution of ensuring that there is a gap of at least three inches between the top and the sides of the microwave. When you put the tray inside the towel, you need to make sure there is some room between the towel’s edges and the tray, too.

use heated paper towel to warm your face

Can I put a towel in a conventional oven?

You can do this by placing a towel that has been moistened. If you want to dry a damp towel in the oven, you should turn the temperature up to high and keep it there for ten minutes, keeping an eye on it. Before you use your towel, the heat will make certain that it is completely dry.

However, after being in the oven, the towel will have a faint odor of burning, though not quite as strong as the odor you would anticipate from anything that is actually on fire. 


Although microwaving a wet towel may have some useful applications, such as warming up a towel for a baby’s bath or heating up a makeshift hot pack for tired muscles, there are also some significant dangers associated with the process. For instance, if not handled correctly, towels that are being heated could ignite if not carefully. 

If you are going to try heating a towel in the microwave, make sure to read and follow any instructions that the manufacturer of your microwave oven gives you, and handle the heated towel with extreme caution. 

How do you like to make the most of a towel that can go in the microwave? Please let us know, as we are always interested in hearing any more advice or suggestions.

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