Why can you dry clothes in a microwave?

Try it all you get is hot damp clothes.

Real quick WAG:
Microwaves don’t evaporate water particles – they excite them to the point of cooking heat.

Therefore, your dryer (which evaporates to water vapour) works on clothes, while your microwave is terrific for lasagna.

You probably could dry your clothes in a Microwave, but you’d probably end up with roasted undies.

Clothes dryers work by heating up the clothes with fire (or electricity) causing the water to evaporate. Microwaves cause proteins, sugars and such to wiggle around, adding energy to them and causing them to heat up. They also cause the same thing to happen to water. Most of your clothes are probably made of cotton and synthetic materials, so all that’s happening is that you’re heating the water, not the clothes.

…And one more thing; the microwave oven does not have a vent for the steam to come out of. Since the air inside the microwave is not hot at all, the water that does evaporate probably condenses immediately.

I don’t know about your microwave, but mine Has a vent for the steam (and fan-forced air) to come out. Although, the timer doesn’t work anymore, and you have to unplug it to turn it off.

A dryer blows air so as the water evaporates, the moist air exits and more dry air enters. This continues until all of the water has evaporated.

A microwave is sealed. Water does evaporate from the wet clothes, but the air in the microwave becomes saturated with moisture and evaporation stops.

If you could blow air though the microwave, it could be used to dry clothes. It still won’t work as good as a clothes dryer since the clothes are not tumbled. The surface of the pile of clothes would dry fast, the inside of the pile would stay wet for a while.

What, the Fan in my microwave is a rare feature?

I was recently one of the recipients of an e-mail exchange between two family members regarding microwaves. (I know – they talk about the strangest things). My father seems to know a lot about them. While he doesn’t specifically mention clothes, he does warn not to try to “dry” ignitable substances in the microwave. This is an except from his e-mail.

The fan is probably for the turntable motor and/or the magnatron tube (which makes microwave radiation).

Why can you dry clothes in a microwave?

I’m confused, Mark. You ask why you can, but then say you can’t.

I have dried clothing items and wet money in a microwave, but it’s a multi-step process. Usually, it’s just a small item like socks. I wring it of most of the moisture, then nuke it for 1 minute. After that, I pull it out (with tongs) and swing it around the room. It cools down as those water molecules that had just enough energy leave my socks. I feel the socks, and if they’re still wet I do it again. But I’d never try this with a large garment.

Microwave ovens are frequently used to warm towels for the hands. Also, if your feet are cold, putting dry socks into it for just a little bit can make the socks warm & feel nice when you put them on.

The fan is a combo fan and stirrer. The main purpose is to ‘mix’ the microwave energy evenly. the air is also circulated by it but since their is only 1 vent, you don’t get that much air exchange.

I dropped a book I was reading into a puddle, and attempted to dry it using a microwave oven. Things seemed to be going very well until the book caught fire.
I don’t think the books subject matter “The Gnostic Gospels” had anything to do with the catastrophe.

-Dryers force a LOT of dry air past the clothes. A microwave oven, even with a fan doesn’t get rid of the heated water/steam quickly enough to dry things efficiently.

I donno, I read the manual a while ago (old Emerson btw) and it said something about having a fan for air circulation. It has 2 vents on either side of the microwave chamber. When I stick my hand near the back of the microwave, I can feel a lot of air coming out. I can also smell the food from a mile away.

Then again, I remember my Grandpa’s Microwave, and I don’t remember seeing any vents.

Both of my microwaves (8 years and 3 years old) vent steam to the outside - you can watch it come out the back as they work.

Your father is correct; not many people know this.

The mental image of this has had me laughing for the past 24 hours, I am at a loss for a smart ass comment.

My feet are always cold, so I also started heating my shoes in the microwave. In my usual manner I figured if 50 seconds was good a couple of minutes would be even better - melted my damn shoes!

Remind me never to eat anything prepared in your microwave! :wink: