Can You Microwave Towels?

For many people, a warm towel is the ideal way to open up pores, reduce muscle pain and relax after a long hard day on the job. For an even greater experience with therapeutic effects, one can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. For many people, heating a towel in their drier is a quick and easy way to obtain that spa-like heated towel effect. But, what about those of us who don’t own a dryer? Can you microwave a towel and get the same effects? And, can this be done safely? The answer is yes, it is definitely possible.

 Can You Microwave Towels?

Before we get into the right way to heat a towel in the microwave, let’s take a look at the varying types of towels out there, and how they may react to being microwaved.

Can You Microwave a Towel? Cotton

Most towels are made from some type of cotton or a blend of the material. One of the best towels for a heated facial or muscle relaxant is an organic cotton towel. This grade of cotton is grown without the use of herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers, making it safer and healthier for the skin. Organic cotton towels are not as flammable as synthetic fibers and this makes them great candidates for microwave heating.


Another common type of towels sold in most department stores is microfiber. These types of towels are made from blended man-made fibers that are split at the ends during processing to make them extremely absorbent. Like cotton towels, microfiber towels are durable and soft. Unfortunately, however, microfiber textiles tend to be extremely flammable, especially if they are made from hydrocarbons (polyester) or carbohydrates (cellulose). They can also emit toxic gases if they start burning, so one must be careful with these types of towels. They are definitely not a good candidate for microwaving.

There are many other types of towels made from mixes of fabrics and fibers. Generally though, fibers that are rich in cotton are best for holding heat and are generally less flammable.

 So What’s the Verdict?

Check the tag on your towel carefully before you microwave it. Cotton fibres should be perfectly safe, but mixes that contain a high amount of synthetic fibres could be problematic. As a test to see how well the fabric withstands heat, you could microwave in 15 second intervals.

In addition, carefully examine the towel to ensure that it contains no metal tags, or aluminium weights which are popular in many decorative towels.  Metallic parts can cause sparks which could start a fire, and you definitely don’t want that.

As for what’s the best method for heating a towel in the microwave, the smaller the towel, the better the results tend to be. So, try to choose a small towel or washcloth that is not weighted. A large heavy towel that weighs down the plate inside the microwave could lead to malfunctions and shorten the lifespan of the microwave.

How to Microwave a Towel:

One popular technique suggests that a minute and 30 seconds is the ideal microwave time to get your towel toasty and warm for use as a heating pad.

Another technique recommends that the towel is dampened with water before being placed into a large Pyrex or glass container.

Dampening the towel is thought to reduce the possibility of the towel catching fire. The water in the towel is also thought to retain heat. It also produces moisture, which is ideal if the towel will be used for exfoliation or spa-like purposes.

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