Can You Put a Wet Washcloth in the Microwave?

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In a hurried moment, I found myself in need of a quick fix for my daughter’s messy face. Spotting a damp washcloth on the counter, I instinctively reached for the microwave. But before I could press the start button, a nagging voice in my head raised a question: is it safe to put a wet washcloth in the microwave? After a moment’s hesitation, I decided to delve into the world of microwaving wet fabrics to find the answer.

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Can You Put A Wet Washcloth In The Microwave

The answer, it turns out, is not as straightforward as I had hoped. Let’s explore the topic in more detail.

The Dangers of Microwaving Wet Fabrics

Microwaving wet fabrics poses several potential hazards that could put your safety at risk:

  • Steam Explosion: When wet cloth is exposed to microwave radiation, the water molecules rapidly heat up, creating steam. If the steam cannot escape, it can build up pressure and cause the cloth to explode. This can result in nasty burns or other injuries.
  • Fire Hazard: If the wet cloth contains certain materials, such as cotton or rayon, it can catch fire when microwaved. This is because the microwave energy can cause the fibers in the cloth to overheat and ignite.
  • Electric Shock: If the wet cloth comes into contact with the metal parts of the microwave, it can create an electrical hazard. This is because water is a conductor of electricity, and the microwave’s electrical components can become energized.

When is it Safe to Microwave a Wet Washcloth?

While it’s generally not advisable to microwave a wet washcloth, there may be certain circumstances where it’s okay. For instance:

  • If the washcloth is wrung out thoroughly: Removing excess water significantly reduces the risk of steam explosion or fire. However, it’s still important to exercise caution.
  • If you use the lowest power setting: Microwaving the washcloth on a low power setting for a short duration can help minimize the risks.
  • If you keep the door open: Leaving the microwave door slightly ajar allows steam to escape, reducing the chances of an explosion.

Tips and Expert Advice

If you must microwave a wet washcloth, follow these tips to minimize the risks:

  • Wring out the washcloth thoroughly first.
  • Place the washcloth on a microwave-safe plate or bowl.
  • Microwave on the lowest power setting for a short duration (e.g., 10-15 seconds).
  • Keep the microwave door slightly ajar while heating.
  • Never leave a wet washcloth in the microwave unattended.


While it’s generally not advisable to microwave a wet washcloth, it may be done with extreme caution and the necessary precautions. Always prioritize safety by following the guidelines outlined above. Are you interested in learning more about the potential dangers of microwaving household items?


Q: Can I microwave a damp washcloth?

A: It’s not recommended to microwave a damp washcloth, as it can pose fire, steam explosion, and electrical hazards.

Q: What are the risks of microwaving a wet washcloth?

A: Risks include steam explosions, fire, and electric shock due to the presence of water, which is a conductor of electricity and steam, which can create pressure if not released.

Q: Are there any exceptions to the rule of not microwaving wet washcloths?

A: If the washcloth is wrung out thoroughly, microwaved on the lowest power setting for a short duration, and the door is kept open, it may be possible to microwave a wet washcloth with reduced risk, but extreme caution is still advised.

Can You Put A Wet Washcloth In The Microwave

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